Rochdale Disability Arts Group


I started the Rochdale Disability Arts Group (RDAG) with help from local authority adult education funding, which paid me to work one day a week at the Ronald Gorton Centre – music in the morning and art in the afternoon. The five or six years that it ran for were very satisfying. There were times where I looked back on the day thinking “Yes, that is how life should be lived.” Each member of the group supported each other, so whatever specific difficulty someone might have, it could be made up for by someone else, and so on. There might, for example, be a swap of the ability to grip for a need for communication, or the ability to see swapped for a facility with ideas. We could always work something out, and if people needed to talk about anything they could and did – there was no need to pretend to be cheerful about having MS or a brain injury. The staff in the building understood what we were trying to do, and I learned from Matt in particular, with his quiet emotional intelligence, humour and acceptance of everyone as an equal.