‘Making Links’ – tells the life story of disabled artist Tony Heaton

Springback, sculpture ? Tony Heaton

‘Making Links’ is a cycle of transcription poems based on a series of interviews with the sculptor and arts administrator Tony Heaton, a leading figure in the Disabilty Arts movement.

The poems cover Heaton’s early life, the motorcycle accident which caused his spinal injury, his artistic development and his work creating resources for disabled visual artists. He tells how he gradually came to think of himself as a disabled person, and started to make work about his experience of disability. Heaton recounts the early years working for RADAR and NACAB which led to his positions as Director of Holton Lee and CEO of Shape, and describes the creation of the Adam Reynolds Bursary and the Shape Open.

A number of poems describe the genesis and making of individual works, including ‘Springback’, ‘Split’, ‘Great Britain from a Wheelchair’ and ‘Monument to the Unintended Performer’, his installation for the ‘Big 4’ sculpture outside Channel Four’s offices.

You can download a PDF copy of the cycle of transcription poems by clicking on Making Links

More information about my work in transcription poetry can be found in the conference paper ‘Transcription poetry as a vehicle for documenting the lives of disabled people’.You can download a PDF copy by clicking on DSC Paper 2010 D2

Previous examples of my transcription poetry work can be found on Disability Arts Online

Other outcomes of this piece of work include archive materials such as sound recordings and interview transcripts. With its distinctive voice and clear narrative line, transcription poetry lends itself well to live reading and we shall be organising a number of readings as part of ‘Electric Bodies’.

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