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Medal 3. Accentuate has brought together disabled artists and athletes in ways that have not been seen before.

Alongside the projects there has been a bigger exploration into different perspectives prevalent within disability art and sport. For example, athletes are classified through medical assessments, which appears to be following the ‘medical model’ of disability, in contrast to the ‘social model’ adopted by many deaf and disabled people which challenges the idea that people have disabilities and focuses on the barriers in society facing people who have impairments. Although on closer inspection this is much more complex than it may first appear.  As well as a greater understanding of the two perspectives, common themes have emerged including that we are all striving for excellence and personal best and that there is a need for united strength to achieve a cultural shift.

‘The political fissures between disabled sportspeople and artists are well ingrained, and each has operated in silos in the past. London 2012 is seen as an opportunity to bring these two communities together.’ Jamie Beddard, Our View

There have been two key moments in this exploration.  The first was the production of the groundbreaking Sport and Art publication which was developed by Our View and can be downloaded here:  The second was a recent event at the Southbank Centre in June 2012 at which Esther Fox was invited to speak. Esther was keen to present two perspectives, that of a disabled artist and sports person within the context of the lead up to the 2012 Games and invited Jamie Beddard and Kristina Veasey to take part in a discussion with her about what motivates people to be artists and sports people. The event sparked off discussions that revealed many of the splits between disability arts and sport, polarised by the presentation of elite Paralympic athletes in the media. Following the discussion there is evidence of a real ‘shift’, culminating in regular blogist to Disability Online, Crippen, posting a new cartoon inspired by Kristina Veasey and an article detailing how he has shifted his thoughts.

Follow this link to read the blog:

The discussion is still ongoing and certainly not everyone is in agreement, however, the achievement is the possibility for dialogue and between a range of deaf and disabled people with a variety of perspectives: we have much to learn from each other.

Accentuate is the London 2012 Legacy Programme for the South East.  Accentuate has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK, SEEDA and the Regional Cultural Agencies. Screen South is the home of Accentuate.

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