Neglected Voices: Published by Disability Arts Online


Wendy Bryant



This is the press release I received today about an unique and important project:

‘Neglected Voices’ published by Disability Arts Online

‘”Neglected Voices” is one of the best creative responses to our social exclusion I have seen for a long time.’

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton

Disability Arts Online has just published ‘Neglected Voices’, a set of four cycles of transcription poems about disabled people’s experience created by writer Allan Sutherland.

The project was produced during his one-year tenure as poet-in-residence at the Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University, West London.

Sutherland, an award-winning disabled writer, created ‘Neglected Voices’ by carrying out life history interviews with four disabled people, then editing and shaping them to create poems, using the skills he learned during his 15 years as a radio and television scriptwriter.

“These cycles of poems tell the life stories of four disabled people, drawn from the range of people involved in the Centre for Citizen Participation,” explains Allan.

“They have important and interesting stories to tell. But then, in my experience, so do all disabled people.”

“Neglected Voices” gives these four people the opportunity to tell their own stories.

“We get looked at a lot,” Allan says, “and talked about a great deal. We get poked and prodded and have crass jokes made about us, but we don’t get listened to very much.  This does not mean that we have nothing to say.”

‘Allan Sutherland’s residency as a disabled poet under the auspices of the Leverhulme Trust has given real power to our work’ says Peter Beresford, director of the Centre for Citizen Participation.  ‘It has highlighted the creative role that the Arts can play in a university context.  It has also generated a new inclusive art form.’

The work has evoked a strong response from disabled artists and activists. ‘“Neglected Voices” represents the lives of a small group of disabled people in a way that their voices, personalities and experiences ring from the page,’ says disabled film-maker Liz Crow.  ‘Sutherland is developing a very interesting new narrative approach.  This is an immensely valuable contribution to recording the lives of marginalised communities.’

“Neglected Voices” is published on Disability Arts Online


Allan Sutherland has for thirty years been exploring ways of making heard the voices of disabled people, including stand-up comedy, performance poetry, radio and television scriptwriting and journalism.  His book ‘Disabled We Stand’ (1981) helped many people to identify as disabled.  He has worked for The Guardian, Guardian Online, ‘EastEnders’, The Observer, Time Out, Sight and Sound, Disability Now, Disability Arts in London and Disability Arts Online.

His residency at the The Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University, West London was funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University, West London, is a research centre which has a particular commitment to user-led research and to the involvement of service users and the subjects of social and public policy in research and policy development.

One response to “Neglected Voices: Published by Disability Arts Online

  1. Pingback: Neglected Voices: Published by Disability Arts Online | kaiteoreilly « Better Disability

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