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Colin Hambrook established Disability Arts Online in 2004. Since then he has been editing and maintaining the journal and its social media outlets. In his blog he comments on aspects of stuff going in within Disability Arts and the specific arts programmes Dao is engaged with.. as well being known to vent the occasional rant.

Together! Pop-up Poetry Cafe in Newham host a Dao poets event

23 August 2014


drawing of a bald head with lots of rooms pictured inside the skull

I’ve been working hard behind the scenes developing Dao’s performance poetry presence, applying to produce our own gigs and recommending Dao poets to other producers. We did a gig last May at DAiSy Fest with Allan Sutherland and Penny Pepper. I'd like to extend a big thank you to the Together! Pop-up Poetry cafe at the amazing House Mill, on Three Mills Island, for hosting myself, Wendy Young and Bonk for an evening of poetry performance. We performed in the cafe to 30-40...

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Colin Hambrook adds a vote of thanks to the intoxicating and cerebral survivor poet Dave Russell

25 October 2013


woodcut of a man strapped to a table whilst being given electro convulsive therapy by a doctor in a white coat

This week Trish Wheatley and I have been busy making plans for new projects on DAO, getting ready to for DAOs tenth anniversary in April 2014. As one of the projects we hope to develop is a poetry prize, I thought I'd add a quick post on the first Outside In poetry event hosted by Pallant House Gallery on the 12th October. Simon Jenner penned a review of the event last week, but for those who were in attendance [and those who weren't] who wondered at the words of the wild and...

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Colin Hambrook is on his way down the mental health road

2 August 2010


Another day, another poem, dragging through the ether. There are lots of twists and turns down the mental health road; no easy solutions, just lots of conundrums and silence scattered with unhealthy, stigmatising epithets of goodwill and brave wishes. Love and Possession Me and my shadow kick an old leather football back and forth across a blackbird infested patch of grass inside the compound. A wire mesh looms above us; the taunts of twittering suburbia are held by the rhythm of each thud; the...

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Colin Hambrook puts on a man suit

28 July 2010


black and white drawing of a young man frowning

I am pleased the way that the blog section of DAO has taken off in the past few months. Having the opportunity to publish work continues to be a pleasure that I am very grateful for. When you've grown up with the idea that you need fixing in some way it makes parenthood even more of a challenge... Man Suit This baby place remembers you, newly made a smile, perhaps imagined, and a way of holding the little finger outwards, as if grasping an invisible cup of tea at a garden party. All-consuming,...

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'Dreams of the Absurd...'

19 July 2010


black and white surreal drawing with a clock

In the 1990s I put together a visual arts exhibition called 'Dreams of the Absurd' which got shown in various galleries in the UK and abroad. It was an extension of a series of large-scale paintings, prints and writing about experience of mental health issues. During research I did whilst still at college I connected the work with the representation of 'madness' within the history of art. I've been trying to get back into making and showing my own work since the those...

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A poem on experience of ECT from Colin Hambrook

14 July 2010


drawing of a figure held in thought by representations of demonic forces

I try hard when writing poetry… sometimes too hard. Scanning this drawing into the computer somehow gave it an even more oppressive feel. Playing with the contrast made it that much starker. The drawing wasn't made for the poem, but the mood of the drawing sums up some of the suppressed rage in this poem. There is a central figure in battle with demons and strange fizzing machines rising above him. So many of my drawings express different aspects of psychosis... In many ways my life has...

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Colin Hambrook continues to be mad...

10 May 2010


painting of a man injecting large needles into another man

Living with disability can get extreme sometimes. For me, living in the wake of so-called 'schizophrenia' has meant a lifetime of juggling the darkest emotions like tennis balls. My relationship with the illness has been a lifelong struggle... one of those things you are not meant to own up to. It's a guaranteed conversation-stopper. Even within the disability community you are not guaranteed an empowering response. Reference to the illness can be a great way of losing acquaintances you are not...

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Colin Hambrook reflects on the Rethink Parliament programme

8 November 2009


photo shows a woman with glasses talking to a man wearing a suit

Dao has been working with Parliamentary Outreach, Rethink and artist Rachel Gadsden on a project which looks at the relevance of the parliamentary process to people who have been through the mental health system. We reported on the pilot project Breaking Barriers and are due to film a story about the Rethink Parliament workshop programme, which is being rolled out across the UK until July 2010. John Bercow MP launched the Rethink Parliament programme in the Jubilee Room on 5 November 2009. He...

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Colin Hambrook reflects on the second Artists Debating Identity event at Shape

16 October 2009


On Thursday 15 October Shape held their second informal conversation, led by Michèle Taylor - this time targeted at performing artists. Recognising the current lack of a platform for disabled and Deaf performers to come together to share ideas and talk about prevalent issues, Shape has created an ongoing event where 20 or so disabled and Deaf people can come together to talk openly and honestly. Michèle set the tone by opening the debate with a showing of Liz Crows’ film...

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Colin Hambrook drops in on the Edinburgh Fringe

16 August 2009


I’ve been away for the past week, staying in Dunbar with friends. I thought I’d pop in on the Edinburgh Festival to see what disability-related arts I could find in the theatre section. From looking through the brochure it seems there is some mental health-related work amongst the enormous panoply of shows, exhibitions etc, happening this year. So I made it into town to see Steve Walter’s An Acute Psychotic Episode (II) – billed as “a good-humoured, confessional, raw, honest,...

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