Turner Prize: Black painting pioneers break award age barrier

A 62-year-old veteran of Britain’s black art scene, Lubaina Himid, is in the running for the Turner Prize after organisers scrapped its age limit.

British art’s most high-profile award has abolished its ban on over-50s this year – meaning Himid is eligible.

At 52, Hurvin Anderson, another key black British artist, is among the other nominees for the £25,000 prize.

The multicultural shortlist is completed by German-born Andrea Buttner and Londoner Rosalind Nashashibi.  More

Mat Fraser on playing Richard III and TV’s ‘pathetic’ disabled casting

Mat Fraser is the first disabled actor to play Shakespeare’s twisted anti-hero Richard III – and he’s relishing the political incorrectness of the Bard’s script. But British TV channels are “pathetic” at giving such juicy roles to disabled actors, he says.

At the end of our interview, Fraser gives me a bit of advice about how to make his quotes suitable for publication.

“Whenever I swear, just put ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ instead,” he suggests.

That tip comes just after he has been talking about progress with casting disabled actors on TV.  More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – May 2017

Deaf Awareness Week takes place from 15 to 21 May and with this in mind we have chosen Paul Whittaker as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Paul was born with a hearing loss and has been profoundly deaf since the age of 8. He is an organist and pianist, having gained his ARCO and ALCM diplomas whilst still at school. In 1983 he was accepted at Wadham College, Oxford, to read for a music degree, followed by a post-graduate performance course at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, in 1986.

In 1988 Paul founded the charity, Music and the Deaf, to help deaf people access music and performing arts, covering resources, talks and lectures, training events, workshops, signed concerts, dance and theatre performances.

Paul was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 1992 to research music among deaf communities in the USA and in the same year he began giving signed theatre performances in London and across the UK.  In 2010 he provided the first ever signed Prom, “Sondheim at 80”, which was also broadcast on BBC2, and followed that with a performance of “Porgy and Bess” with Opera Lyon at the Edinburgh International Festival. He has also signed for Rambert Dance Company and with “The Sixteen” choir.

In 2005 Paul was invited to attend a reception to celebrate British Music at Buckingham Palace, and the same year received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Huddersfield, in recognition of his music education work with deaf people.

Paul was awarded an OBE for services to Music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2007.

To find out more about Paul and his work see his website http://www.paulwhittaker.org.uk/

To find out more about the charity Music and the Deaf see here http://www.matd.org.uk/


Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2017

Kadeena Cox

MS Awareness Week runs from 24 -30 April and with this in mind we have chosen paralympian Kadeena Cox as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

A sprinter from an early age, Kadeena entered para-athletics in 2015 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In her first international competition, she won T37 100m gold at the IPC Athletics World Championships.

Kadeena began her cycling journey in June 2015 with her first major success being at the British Cycling National Track Championships where she won the first British title of her career in the C1-5 500 metre time-trial. She was selected for the 2016 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, and won the 500 metre time-trial in a new world record time of 37.456.

This victory allowed Kadeena to complete the unique achievement of becoming a world champion in two different sports and in 2016 in Rio, she became the first British Paralympian since 1984 to win gold medals in multiple sports at the same Games.

Kadeena is an Ambassador for the MS Society and uses her profile to raise awareness of the condition.

She is currently combining life as an international athlete with her university studies to become a physiotherapist, which she started prior to her diagnosis and hopes to graduate in 2018.

To find out more about Kadeena visit her website http://kadeenacox.co.uk/about-me/

To find out more about MS Awareness Week see here