The initial seed
Was to produce a series of stories from people at the intersection of several kinds of marginalization: Those of us who are disabled, queer, kinky, sex workers, survivors. People who the system says are ‘sick’, ‘fucked up’, ‘damaged’, yet many of us are resisting, resilient, much political action (of all kinds) comes from the power of survival.
The project stemmed from my personal experience of several brutal years of austerity. Ill and exhausted, I began to think of how to speak about this, as an act of survival and resistance. To look at the criminalisation of the poor, the disappearance of services and legal protections, the rise in hate. How power functions through stigma. To go against the idea I had failed, if I wasn’t able to function well in a system that was actively working against me.
I made exploratory interviews and wrote collaborative stories with the people I interviewed. Producing a zine from those stories, I started to talk to others about the stories and further ideas for breaking the isolation many of us were experiencing. Making contact with potential collaborators and sounding out community connections, I was also thinking about how to find some money to give this potential some resources.
In a long and very slow process, from writing those first stories, being turned down for things. Reading as part of ‘Raising Our Voices’, which lead to forming a supportive relationship with The Arcola Theatre. The project evolved, renamed ‘Resilient’ and brought under the wing of the Arcola, it was eventually granted Heritage Lottery Funding.
Shape Arts ‘Free Reads’ scheme for writers with disabilities/on low incomes and the accompanying workshops helped to encourage me to keep going!
A call for participation is coming soon and ‘Resilient’ will hopefully grow and develop, guided by community input over the next months. Check out the stories on the website: here