Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Kris

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   Depression and other mental health difficulties are common amongst people on the autistic spectrum and their carers.   People who are affected by general mental health difficulties are encouraged to receive and share information, support and advice with other forum members, though it is important to point out that this exchange of information is generally based on personal experience and opinions, and is not a substitute for professional medical help.   There is a list of sources of mental health support here: <a href="http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=18801" target="_blank">Mental Health Resources link</a>   People may experience a more serious crisis with their mental health and need urgent medical assistance and advice. However well intentioned, this is not an area of support that the forum can or should be attempting to offer and we would urge members who are feeling at risk of self-harm or suicide to contact either their own GP/health centre, or if out of hours contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or to call emergency services 999.   We want to reassure members that they have our full support in offering and seeking advice and information on general mental health issues. Members asking for information in order to help a person in their care are seeking to empower both themselves and those they represent, and we would naturally welcome any such dialogue on the forum.   However, any posts which are deemed to contain inference of personal intent to self-harm and/or suicide will be removed from the forum and that person will be contacted via the pm system with advice on where to seek appropriate help.   In addition to the post being removed, if a forum member is deemed to indicate an immediate risk to themselves, and are unable to be contacted via the pm system, the moderating team will take steps to ensure that person's safety. This may involve breaking previous confidentiality agreements and/or contacting the emergency services on that person's behalf.   Sometimes posts referring to self-harm do not indicate an immediate risk, but they may contain material which others find inappropriate or distressing. This type of post will also be removed from the public forum at the moderator's/administrator's discretion, considering the forum user base as a whole.   If any member receives a PM indicating an immediate risk and is not in a position (or does not want) to intervene, they should forward the PM to the moderating team, who will deal with the disclosure in accordance with the above guidelines.   We trust all members will appreciate the reasoning behind these guidelines, and our intention to urge any member struggling with suicidal feelings to seek and receive approproiate support from trained and experienced professional resources.   The forum guidelines have been updated to reflect the above.   Regards,   The mod/admin team

"This is not a disability gig": the musician putting on inclusive nights to break down barriers

Recommended Posts

(Not written by me)

"This is not a disability gig": the musician putting on inclusive nights to break down barriers

Musician Robyn Steward, who has 10 disabilities, including autism and cerebral palsy, explains how venues can be more inclusive

By Sam Davies

Thursday, 21st November 2019

Robyn Steward is a trumpet player, teacher and author. She has 10 disabilities, including autism and cerebral palsy. She loves music, particularly jazz and experimental, but has rarely found gig venues where she feels comfortable, as both listener and performer. It is with this in mind that she started Robyn's Rocket, an inclusivity-conscious live music project, in 2017.

Robyn’s Rocket is not a “disability gig”, Steward says, but somewhere people can have fun regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality, religion, gender, ability or what language they speak. “Experimental music gigs often attract a bunch of white men,” she adds. “If you’re a white woman or a woman of a different colour skin... you might feel a bit overwhelmed.”

She’s been to gigs aimed at specifically at disabled fans before, but felt disillusioned. “I would go to a lot of gigs that are geared towards people with learning difficulties and autism,” she says. “And they put on loads of great bands with disabilities, and they’re just mainly playing to a disabled audience. I thought, that’s silly – those bands are just as good as bands without disabilities.

“Often the word ‘inclusion’ is just used about disabled people,” she continues. “But actually if you don’t fit into a binary gender, somewhere that has gendered toilets is not inclusive of your needs. And it shouldn’t be, ‘oh, you can only really go out if you can speak English and read English.’ Everyone should be able to follow what’s going on.”

Making it easier for audiences and performers

Robyn’s Rocket takes its name from the spaceship design of Steward’s specially made stage. On stage the equipment is all colour- and shape-coded to make it easier for performers to recognise their stuff. These shapes and colours also match with the names on the timetables around the venue, meaning fans can see who is playing when, without needing to read the words on a page.

At the bar, menus are printed in large, Arial font, complete with pictures, meaning anyone ordering can point to what they want if they would prefer not to shout over the noise of the club. Fans will also be given a rocket-shaped “communication badge” on entry: position your rocket pointing upwards if you want to talk to new people, downwards if you’d rather be left to enjoy the music, or sideways if you want to speak to people you know already.

Steward plays trumpet, though not as you know it, wiring it through a series of pedals. She plays twice on the night, first with cellist Kathy Hulme as avant-garde duo The Hairdressers, then with the funk and salsa influenced band Bassheads. Also on the bill are free improvisation band Jamaica and trumpeter Steve Pretty.

Next stop Glastonbury?

Robyn’s Rocket is a work in progress, but Steward hopes one day she might take the event to the Scala in London, or to Glastonbury. Next year she plans to invite other musicians and promoters to host their own inclusivity-conscious gigs, while Robyn’s Rocket will be going to the Wellcome Collection as part of the Beautiful Octopus Club, a disability club run by creative arts company Heart n Soul.

“I’m hoping I can influence how the industry thinks about inclusion,” says Steward. “There’s a lot of division between people at the moment. We should all be more together. And celebrate difference.”

How venues can improve their inclusivity

Venues can apply to the Arts Council for capital grants if they want to install a lift or a hearing loop. But there are lots of little things they can do, such as painting the edge of stairs white or yellow for people with a visual impairment, or having large-print bar menus.

If it’s a standing venue, have some fold-up chairs. Managers should set up an email so people can contact the venue with their requirements. And it’s important for venues not to see inclusivity as an add-on, but as something they can be creative with, and a work in progress.

The next Robyn’s Rocket is on Thursday 21 November at 7:30 pm at Cafe OTO, London E8. For more information go to robynsteward.com

Source: iNews

Edited by Aeolienne
Add source

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now