National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) coming to Bucks


Date: 6th Oct 2017

The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) is putting the finishing touches to a digital repository of its items in a series of open-house sessions at Buckinghamshire New University from 10-18 October.

The events come ahead the opening in April 2018 of a repository of digital and physical items, led by NDACA Archivist Alex Cowan and designed by BA (Hons) Interior and Spatial Design student Klaudia Sawicka and Emmy Bacharach, Architect in Training, as part of a £1 million project.

The ‘digitising sessions’ at Bucks New University will be led by NDACA’s Archivist, Alex Cowan, photographer Rah Petherbridge, and NDACA’s Production Assistant Nina Thomas.

Items being 'digitised' include NDACA’s collection of protest t-shirts worn by disabled activists and artists in the 1980s and 1990s when they took their fight for equal rights and access to the streets of Westminster.

The overall NDACA project, led by Shape Arts, a disability-led arts organisation, will bring together 2,500 objects celebrating the history of the Disability Arts Movement on a website and through a series of films, as well as live events, and the learning wing at Bucks New University.

David Hevey, CEO of Shape Arts, said: “It’s fantastic that Bucks New University is able to host the last archiving session before the website goes live to the public in April.

“Students and staff members alike will be able to see first-hand a selection of deposits from the 'golden age' of the disability arts movement  and, under the safe guidance of the NDACA project team, learn how a physical archive becomes digital.”

The sessions will be held in The Gallery at the University in Queen Alexandra Road, High Wycombe, from 11am-4pm from 10-14 October and from 11am-4pm from 16-18 October.

The Disability Arts Movement began in the UK in the late 1970s and continues to the present day. NDACA is the heritage story of a group of disabled people and their allies who broke barriers, helped change the law and made great art and culture along that journey.

The NDACA project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and is led by Shape Arts and supported by Bucks New University.

Frazer Mackenzie, Head of School for Arts & Creative Industries at Bucks New University, said: “Bucks New University is proud to be working with NDACA and to be hosting the archive.

“As a University with a passion and commitment to believing that art and creativity should be open to all, the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive embodies this ethos and provides a fantastic platform for showcasing the creative talent of disabled people from across the whole spectrum of the arts and creative industries.”