John Pring's Disability News Round Up - 15/02/2013

2/19/2013 09:43:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 1 Comments


New Film From @RGPLizCrow - Bedding In Bedding Out: Reflections from the bed

2/12/2013 01:28:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 1 Comments

Bedding In Bedding Out: Reflections from the Bed from Roaring Girl Productions on Vimeo.



Bedding In Bedding Out: Reflections from the Bed

Drawing on audio recordings and timelapse photography from artist-activist Liz Crow’s recent Bedding In performance at SPILL Festival of Performance, Roaring Girl Productions is pleased to announce the release of a new film, Bedding In Bedding Out: Reflections from the Bed.

In her performance, Liz took to her bed in a gallery for three days to highlight the contradictions in the new system of benefits currently being introduced by the UK government.

Says Liz, “I wear a public self that is energetic, dynamic and happening. I am also ill and spend much of life in bed. The private self is neither beautiful nor grownup, and I conceal it carefully. But the benefits system demands a reversal, my private self paraded to justify support.”

“Bedding Out was a performance in which I took my private self and made it public.” Performing what she describes as the other side of her fractured self, her bed-life, Liz says, “Since the public me is so carefully constructed, this was a kind of un-performing of my self.”

“I want to make a twilight existence visible. But more, I want to show that what many people see as contradiction, what they call fraud, is only the complexity of real life.”

During the performance, members of the public were invited to Bedside Conversations, gathering round the bed to talk about the work, its backdrop, its politics. This new film combines audio recordings from the Bedside Conversations with timelapse photography from the performance. Also released are a dozen additional audio clips from the Conversations.


Notes to Editors

To view the film:

To listen to the audio clips:

Background on the performance at:

To arrange an interview or request further information and images:

please contact Liz on 07702 757407 or email

Artist Biography

Liz Crow is an artist-activist working with performance, film, audio and text. She is drawn to drama, life stories and experimental work, and the potential of storytelling to trigger change. A former NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) fellow and founder of Roaring Girl Productions, Liz’s work has shown at London’s Tate Modern and the British Film Institute, as well as on television and at festivals internationally.

Prior works include an appearance on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square as part of sculptor Antony Gormley’s One and Other project. Liz’s provocative and controversial performance was part of a larger film-based installation, Resistance: which way the future?, that tours the UK and internationally.

Roaring Girl Productions is a creative media projects company based in Bristol, founded by writer-director and activist Liz Crow. It undertakes media productions, training and associated projects, combining high quality creativity with practical activism.

Future performances: Liz will be performing a new version of the work, BeddingOut, which will be live streamed and will incorporate virtual participation via twitter, as part of the People Like You exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre, 8 March – 12 April 2013.



John Pring's Disability News Round Up - Week Ending 8/02/2013

2/12/2013 01:22:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 0 Comments

·        A disabled man with high support needs has been told he will not have to continue a prison term he feared could kill him, and can return home instead.
·        An influential committee of MPs has delivered a scathing account of the failure of the Department for Work and Pensions to challenge the poor performance of its “fitness for work” contractor Atos Healthcare.
·        The disabled people’s organisation leading work on a vital report to the United Nations (UN) on disability rights in the UK has been forced to reassure concerned activists that the work will be finished on time.
·        Disabled activists are planning legal action over the government’s decision to tighten eligibility for support for people with the highest mobility needs.
·        The government’s new children and families bill could see many more disabled children being forced into segregated education, campaigners have warned.
·        The government’s adviser on the natural environment has pledged to drive forward work to remove the barriers preventing disabled people from enjoying England’s parks, nature reserves and other green spaces.
·        A disabled medical student who was refused entry to a bar and then taunted by the manager, has secured compensation for discrimination.
·        Activists say a new report by MPs is only a “starting point” for a campaign to raise awareness of the deaths and abuse of people with mental health conditions in police custody.
·        MPs, transport executives and local government chiefs have been told by people with learning difficulties how accessible transport can transform their lives.


Building Better Access - 007 Style

2/08/2013 01:26:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 4 Comments

All too often getting anywhere is such a struggle for disabled people that the effort can feel too much and so we stop bothering. So, when you come across good access it can be extremely exciting (and yes, I do need to get out more!)

I was back in London this week for the Brandon Trust 100 Voices on Transport event at the House of Commons, hosted by MP Charlotte Leslie and attended by the Mayor of Bristol, Peers, a DWP Minister and representatives from transport companies. It was an exciting day for us all, but my favourite part was seeing people with learning disabilities supported by Brandon Trust giving eloquent, powerful, first person testimonies to politicians on their experiences of travel. All in all it was a successful event and happily I didn't spill tea or have to take my knickers off and we'll simply gloss over the glass of water I may have poured on myself.

Because travel is so difficult and exhausting I'd arrived in London the night before the event, so had time to meet the fabulous Fiona Laird for lunch. Fiona had organised where we went for lunch and said she got so fed up with places saying that either they didn't have access or that they did but it involved going into a different building, around the back etc to get to the venue that when Brasserie One said they had full access it was a simple decision - we were going there.

I'd had the usual experience of a cab company refusing a wheelchair fare, so it was great to travel with a black cab driver who was keen to make sure I knew all about the taxicard scheme and that it was being cut back and altered. When we arrived at Great George St, which is a Grade II listed building we were all a bit confused - there was a double flight of stone steps outside the building, so as is typical we all assumed the access must be around the side. While we were still scratching our heads the doorman sprang into action and started up the access which turned out to be the most incredible retracting accessible stone steps with a wheelchair lift embedded underneath them.

It's fair to say that complete overexcitement about the James Bond of the access world was the dominating theme at the lunch table, but we had a lovely lunch, and there were even scrummy gluten free bread rolls available. The waiting on staff were all fantastic - warm, considerate and funny, and the food as good as they'd promised us. There was also a properly accessible loo (although not a changing places one I'm afraid) which smelled nice and was decorated in the same style as the rest of the building.

Going to Brasserie One for lunch was an amazing treat - it is Westminster prices but not ridiculous for a special occasion or to be able to have the experience of amazing access and service, and there are starter size portions available for those of us with smaller appetites.

Unusually for a 'ladies lunch' we were quite keen to leave, not just because we had to get over to the Commons, but because the excitement of the stone steps was compelling and we wanted to film them for everyone to see. It wasn't until we were outside marvelling at the whole experience that Fiona and Charlie pointed out something really important, and something that disabled people like myself can get so used to not happening that we take it for-granted.

I got to go into a venue through the front entrance, the same entrance as everyone else, just in more style than most visitors. Once I was inside I was able to be independent as the access was so good, and it was really lovely to see the immense pride the staff clearly had in their fantastic access and willingness to use it.

Going through the front entrance, the main entrance of a beautiful old listed building felt like such a privilege, something I can't remember doing since becoming disabled. It made me feel wanted, that I belonged there, that I could, even if only for a lunch, access somewhere on the same terms as everyone else.

Fortunately before I got too carried away with this marvellous new accessible venue, how I might be able to move in there, and what the world might be like if everywhere made such a creative, resourceful, inclusive attempt at access, we were back to the House of Commons and the more typically experienced version of access. There wasn't a ramp to the podium when I went two weeks ago so I'd had to sit on a table to give my speech - but this time there was a special ramped podium being built. Access, but access the more typical way....and as its me, no-one was overly surprised at the dramatic moment the back wheel of my scooter slipped off the podium causing a bit of a heart in mouth moment for us all!