National Disability Arts Collection & Archive

13 April 2013

The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive: NDACA - home to the heritage and rich history of the Disability Arts Movement

25 June 2015

We are pleased to announce the success of our Round 2 bid to HLF.  With this total funding of nearly £1M, including support from Arts Council England and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, we are now commencing the Project: this is our three year Delivery Phase in which we collect 1000+ deposits, create the NDACA Wing at Buckinghamshire New University, create the NDACA repository at Zinc Arts, and create a whole host of digital and online tools, including films, pop up exhibitions and downloadable learning tools.

Below is an interview by Disability Arts Online editor Colin Hambrook with NDACA Project Director David Hevey, which goes into more details about the hopes and ambitions for the NDACA Project, in its exciting next phase of building the dream in 2015-2018

painting of the actor / activist Nabil Shaban

Portrait of Nabil Shaban by Tanya Raabe

The archive plans to tell the stories – principally but not exclusively from the 1980s to the early 2000s – when disabled people and their allies broke barriers, forced changes in the law, and changed culture at a time when the reality of life for many disabled people were the restrictions imposed by day centres, special schools and repressive institutions. And through that process of change disabled people made great song, dance, art and culture about their experience.

Disabled people are facing the new grim Britain, which has led to bullying and suicide. In the last decade we’ve seen all those who face barriers being devalued more and more. But there was a golden period when disabled people forced the cultural agenda, challenged the medical model of disability and told the world that ‘disability’ wasn’t disabled peoples' problem; it was societies problem for having disenfranchised and disabled people by creating barriers for full participation and engagement.

In talking about the history of the positive contribution disabled creatives have made to British Culture, NDACA hopes to challenge the negative zeitgeist. “In real terms”, says Hevey “we want NDACA to put power and heritage back in the hands of the Disabled Rights Movement, it’s allies and friends. And, for our collection, we are looking for deposits that speaks about the Disability Arts Movement in its widest, including its radical form.” 

The audience will be led by the human story of those artists and partners who helped created and sustain the unique Disability Arts Movement. They will see the deposited image, the painting or whatever and will then find the story of why it has relevance to the Disability Arts Movement, which had a notion of rights at its core: “What’s important to us is that we tell the story of the art and its relationship to the struggle for social justice. We want to tell the story of the time when disabled people made radical and innovative work and broke the mould.” 

It was through the Disability Arts Movement  that the struggles of disabled people were publicised. Protests like Block Telethon achieved a cultural shift by getting across the message that the ’crips’, the ‘handicapped’, are not passive. “A lot of people will get it as a story and my hope is that the Disability Rights Movement will feel re-empowered by it.”
Further to that, Hevey says: “We are also looking for stories about Black and Minority Ethnic artists, because historically those stories have been less prominent within the Movement. The timing is right because ‘diversity’ is currently seen as an important cultural driver. Our plan is to tell exciting and radical stories about how a bunch of disabled people had the courage to break down the prejudice with which their lives were perceived. And we want to have a wide brief on what is Disability Arts Movement art and heritage? This could include very much contemporary work, being made now, which may not appear to be ‘heritage’ at first sight but tells an important story.”
“So, we start the HLF Delivery Phase in July 2015, and throughout a 3 year window we will be collecting stories, reminiscences, preserving artworks, trying to find home movie, artwork and more, that tells the story of what the Disability Arts Movement represented and how impactful it was. We’re looking to build a textured, layered offer; providing the human story and heritage on the realities of life for disabled people, as shown in the works many created.”
To date 10 artists have pledged materials. So for example Johnny Crescendo (aka Alan Holdsworth) came to see NDACA. “Johnny was at the heart of the Disability Arts and the Disability Rights Movements in the 90s and what makes him intriguing and attractive is what makes him edgy. He took risks politically and creatively, and pulled off both, it could be argued, with a remarkable legacy of songs, and a remarkable political legacy, not to mention an amazing life story, too.”

sculpture of the map of Great Britain made out of parts of a manual wheelchair

Great Britain From A Wheelchair by Tony Heaton

For NDACA what is important is access to materials that tell the story of the bridge between the Arts and the fight for Disability Rights. “So for example Johnny brought along a box of his memorabilia including Piss on Pity t-shirts to deposit, which we were really pleased to receive. You could smell the Johnny Crescendo lifestyle on the cloth: the sweat, smoke and the fights behind his and others’ confrontations at Direct Action Network protests, stopping buses and demonstrating outside 10 Downing Street, with Johnny performing his great radical music in tandem at disability arts events. When HLF came to see us for a review I pulled a t-shirt out and said: ‘Smell that! That’s heritage!’ “
NDACA also plan to make up to 50 short films with a selection of contributors so they can tell the back story of whatever object or artefact has been given to the archive. “So, for example, we could have have Johnny pick a t-shirt up and describe what was happening at the time he wore it and give us the story behind the lived-in t-shirt smells!”

There are several ways to deposit works. Throughout 2015-2018 NDACA are opening two main ways for work to be taken into the collection: either as deposits, or later on as Social Media accessions. Until 2016 they will collect pledged works from partners and artists and seek out further deposits. And beyond that they plan to look for social media accessioning or tagging about the collection. But this is flexible. There is an acquisitions committee who will help NDACA decide how to select the material that gets shown.  

The programme of deposits, films, exhibitions, learning tools and more will tell the story across platforms. “Once the digital icon is made - such as a colour hi-resolution copy of a painting, for example - it can be turned into a poster or a frame you can grab from a website, or a film still etc. We want different elements of the collection to be on different sites and we are developing a host of partners who can help us distribute aspects of the collection.”
The plans for public usage are extensive, and make big play of online and offline digital (which is part of David Hevey’s expertise as a media professional): online films, website, social media and a host of other digital tools, such as touring digital cinema, and pop-up galleries showing artists work. “We’ll have film we can show through the BBC’s website and large AO size posters we can exhibit in galleries. We’re going to make pop-up cards that you can open in 3-D, which gives you a desk-based reminder of the work the collection is doing.”
A large part of what NDACA are planning to do will be digital offline; collecting the work in digital formats and presenting it to people at live-screenings. So there will be a touring cinema taking work to Disability History Month events, festivals and other locations for screening events, to bring people together in real locations. And NDACA plan to have works in a host of accessible formats: for example, working with Disability Arts Online to explore new models of Audio Description, and more.

Buckinghamshire New University, one of the 7 major NDACA partners, will have an NDACA wing where there will be a suite for editting film and for study. The university will create learning modules for undergraduates based on the collection and from 2018 onwards will be the place for other universities to go to to acquire materials relevant to courses they are running. Hevey says: “We’ll be promoting the collection to US Universities who have often taken aspects of British culture on board in their learning programmes. And the other partners are DAO, Graeae Theatre, University of Leicester's Research Centre for Museums and Galleries and Zinc Arts, with Shape Arts as lead partner.”

“So, once we have gone live in 2017, we plan to reach an audience of 2.5million with different aspects of the collection and archive. What’s important to us is that Heritage Lottery are keen on us telling the true story as it happened; what it meant for disabled people then and what it means today to wide audiences."

If you have a story, home movie, family photographs, artwork or material that you feel is relevant to the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive heritage-story, then please email or

NDACA Update 3 February 2015

NDACA has completed its Round Two Plans submissions to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and we await the HLF decision in June.    With our £100k match funding secured, our 8 partners and 10+ depositing artists confirmed (with more pledged to join in the Delivery Phase), and with several amazing locations to hold and show our assets also confirmed for our Delivery Phase, we feel our Round2 submission to HLF is exciting, powerful and will deliver a great NDACA Collection and Archive, reaching some 2.5million users and audiences between 2015 - 2027.  So, with a positive feeling for our robust application, we will post again in June 2015.

NDACA Update 18 December

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year from NDACA to all our artists, partners, supporters, friends and funders.    NDACA will be closed between 19th December and the 2nd of January, but please do get in touch thereafter.

NDACA Update 7 October 2014

NDACA is building up to the Round2 Submission in January 2015, in which we present all our ideas to HLF (and our other funders, Arts Council England and JRF) about how we will conserve, manage and show the great heritage of the UK Disability Arts Movement to our audiences around the UK and globally.   And Round 2 is when we show our aims for involving many people.    The Development Phase has been enormously productive and we intend our Delivery Phase to include a whole host of exciting new initiatives, including the new website, the learning centre NDACA Wing at Buckinghamshire New University, the conservation storage centre at Zinc Arts, and much more.   And, of course, we will commence the roll out in 2015 of our substantial volunteer programme, delivered with the NDACA partners, who include Shape Arts, Graeae, Zinc Arts, the RCMG at the University of Leicester, Dadafest, Holton Lee, Buckinghamshire New University and Disability Arts Online.

NDACA update 20 August 2014

NDACA can announce that our targets for partnership-funding, to support the HLF-funded 3-Year Delivery Phase of 2015-2018, have now been met and even exceeded, with two major funders onboard (details to be announced).   Though subject to conditions, such as a successful outcome of our Round Two submissions to the HLF: we will provisionally deliver all our Round 2 application plans, budgets and more, to HLF in January 2015, and the success of this Round 2 HLF bid we learn by May 2015.   So, fingers crossed, it is looking very positive for NDACA funding going forward.    Meanwhile, great deposits are coming in, with Allan Holdsworth, known to many as Johnny Crescendo, has pledged a great store of 'Piss On Pity' t-shirts, recordings, films of DAN demonstrations, a raft of his songs, his great unpublished memoir and much, much more.   As usual, watch this space for more exciting news.


NDACA Update 8 July 2014

NDACA will imminently have some exciting news to announce, with our targets of match-funding almost completed.  Watch this space for this exciting, funding news.   In other parts of the NDACA Development Phase, the archivist Alex Cowan is delivering his robust Content & Condition survey, which will confirm the excellent pledges from the great NDACA partners, as well as confirming some wonderful pledges from the leading disabled artists of our age, such as Tanya Raabe and others.   And, more good news, the presence of NDACA at Buckinghamshire is to be enhanced with The NDACA Wing in the main library.  Again, watch this space for more exciting details. 

NDACA Update 30 May 2014

The NDACA development phase is progressing at pace, with an excellent learning-plan research document delivered by Michele Taylor and a Content & Condition survey in the pipeline from archivist, Alex Cowan.   Led by Project Director David Hevey, NDACA is in the Round 2 plans-writing phase and the robustness of NDACA, as we approach the Delivery Phase of 2015-2018, is particularly strong, with new pledges emerging, great stories unfolding and major funding bids being confirmed, of which more to be revealed in due course.

NDACA update 25 February 2014

NDACA Development is gathering pace, with archivists, educationalists and legal teams now joining the project.   

And with the enormously exciting growth of what we are offering - more individual artists' archives, more moving image works, great new stories from contributors and more - the story of the unique UK Disability Arts Movement will be even more powerfully told by NDACA in the coming years.

There will be exciting opportunities for you to volunteer either through one of the partner organisations or directly through NDACA: please feel free to email David Hevey, the NDACA Project Director, for further details on

To get more in-depth understanding of what NDACA is and how it has developed to date, take a look at the about page as well as our aims and objectives.

NDACA Update 3 January 2014

NDACA is pleased to announce the Archivist position is now open for applicants.  The details of the job can be found on this site, or please go to for a full application pack.  And the very good news is that this position is negotiable in many ways: it can be PAYE or freelance, the hours, days and months of delivery are flexible, and it is a great job to undertake - creating the foundations for the archive systems of NDACA, the unique UK Disability Arts Collections and Archives, funded by the HLF.  

NDACA Update 29 October 2013

NDACA is gathering apace with new works, new collections and new contributors developing & emerging.   Project Director, David Hevey, is fully immersed in gathering research, templates and meeting NDACA partners and sector-leaders, such as the Tate, to produce a powerful Second Round Bid for the HLF.   

We are also in the preliminary stages of engaging an educational consultant, who will be tasked with developing the engagement strategy.   More information to follow in forthcoming updates.  

We are pushing on with contract negotiations, archive legalities and other associated tough but necessary legal procedures, which will underpin our unique and original conservation, acquisition and digital plans.

Following the forthcoming educationalist and archivist engagements, there will be updates about opportunities for you to get involved and volunteer for NDACA: we will be seeking volunteers to assist on oral history gathering, archiving and other parts of the NDACA project.

To get a more in-depth understanding of what NDACA is and how it has developed to date, take a look at the about page as well as our aims and objectives.

NDACA Update 9th September 2013

Photograph of Stephen Bunce, Paralympian performer

The development of NDACA is gathering apace. With the Project Director, David Hevey, in post, we are pushing on with conservation, acquisition and digital plans. We are also pushing on with research, with some great and surprising artworks, heritage, collections and photographs emerging. Once we have our archivist onboard, we will also progress the archiving aspects of the project.   

Following this announcement there will be updates about opportunities for you to get involved and volunteer for NDACA: we will be seeking volunteers to assist on oral history gathering, archiving and other parts of the NDACA project. To get a more in-depth understanding of what NDACA is and how it has developed to date, take a look at the about page as well as our aims and objectives.

Image Right: Photograph of Stephen Bunce, Paralympian performer and one of the creators of contemporary Disability Art in performance; filmed for NDACA-partner Shape's Creative Steps films project: a series of filmed-profiles of 9 disabled and diverse creatives, who are creating great work and challenging barriers at the same time.

NDACA: Press Release 22nd July 2013

NDACA logos with HLF logo

The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA) is pleased to announce two appointments - those of our Patron, the influential crossbencher, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, and our Project Director, David Hevey.

The new NDACA Patron, Baroness Jane Campbell says, “I am privileged to accept the role of Patron of the National Disability Arts Collection & Archive. The disability arts movement has always been – and always will be - a key driver in the fight for disabled people’s rights in the UK. The NDACA demonstrates how vital the disability arts culture is to our liberation and informs our continued struggle to be equal citizens. Long overdue and very welcome!”

NDACA Project Director David Hevey says, “I have delivered many of the landmark disability culture projects over the last twenty years, including The Disabled Century (BBC), and I am extremely excited to be appointed Project Director tasked with delivering the great vision of NDACA”.

Tony Heaton, CEO of Shape, who are the lead-partners on the HLF funded NDACA project, says, “We are delighted to have made these two prominent appointments, who we believe will help drive NDACA to fully realise our dream of a permanent home for vibrant disability arts collections, showing the power, influence, history and creative range of the Disabled People’s Arts Movement in the UK, whose story has yet to be fully told, and whose works will now be in a permanent, touring, accessible online and real-world collection”.

NDACA CIC co-chair Simon Fulford says, “Our great partners on NDACA have driven NDACA far, and we are pleased to announce the appointments of the prestigious disability-issues politician, Baroness Campbell and arts & media creative-director, David Hevey”.  

Sian Williams, NDACA CIC co-chair said, “Baroness Jane is probably the most prominent disabled politician active today, and David Hevey is probably the UK’s leading diversity media professional, so both appointments feel quite a coup”. 

NDACA recently announced its successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.   NDACA is a community interest company managed by a co-operative of disability arts partners, led by Shape. All enquiries to David Hevey on 0207 424 7332 (direct line, voice) or

NDACA Update 20th July 2013

We are pleased to announce the appointments of our Patron, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, and our Project Director, David Hevey.  Both bring a wealth of disability arts experience to NDACA and we will shortly be publicly announcing both appointments via a Press Release.  

On this new website, we will soon be announcing details of the NDACA part-time archivist job: the archivist, once appointed, will drive the collating and recording of our partner's artworks, and push forward on other archiving and conserving issues for NDACA. The archivist will work with our Project Director to push forward on conservation, collections and archiving plans.    Following this announcement there will be updates about opportunities for you to get involved and volunteer for NDACA: we will be seeking volunteers to assist on oral history gathering, archiving and other parts of the NDACA project. To get a more in-depth understanding of what NDACA is and how it has developed to date, take a look at the about page as well as our aims and objectives.

NDACA Update 20th May 2013

colour photograph of Temptation showing a section of the locked glass fronted wooden box and the marbles in it.

Close up of 'Temptation' by Adam Reynolds currently at Holton Lee

We are happy to launch this new website designed to give you all the updates and information you need as we develop and progress NDACA. On the site you can find out about ways to get involved including jobs, volunteering and supporting NDACA. You can also get a glimpse at objects and ephemera you are likely to come across in the collection when it is made public. To get a more in depth understanding of what NDACA is and how it has developed to the current stage take a look at the about page as well as our aims and objectives

Do keep checking back here at as we will be posting updates and opportunities as soon as they arise. 


Callum Brazzo

29 July 2016

Hi there.

I am a 24 year old autistic performance poet and social entrepreneur with Spergy - the organic arts based community platform for autistic people - it's a developing social enterprise which you can find

On Twitter:

On Facebook:

Here is some of my poetry:

The name Spergy comes from 'Asperger's Syndrome' and, as I later discovered,the negative connotations associated with the online dictionary definition of 'Spergy.'

My view in relation to the online dictionary definition is that you can redefine your identity.

I have notably performed as part of The National Gallery's touring exhibition Picture The Poet and Autism's Got Talent 2016 among other slots but I am unsure if you want to know more about that?

My phone number to discuss/chat further is 07528 810 172

Thanks and all the best,


dan white

26 July 2015

I am currently badgering mainstream media with these disabled superheroes based around my daughter emily who has spina bifida, they are 5 very diffrerent characters who use their disabiliies as their superpowers. i am not trying to lecture people, just trying to encourage acceptance and change a few perceptions thru the only medium that is relevant for kids at the moment... cartoons and heroes. However i have been show many shut doors even by c4, howvever local BBC have come on board. but i am looking for ideas on where to go! disability is my world and its overall perceptions need to change. thanks guys. proud dad and artist dan white.

Carol (Kavina) Pound

12 October 2014

I have dyspraxia. I am the Student Rep of ABTUK and teach a dance based personal development called Biodanza. Would be interested in offering Biodanza to other people with disabilities as it has many benefits. I am also trained in Inclusive Dance and would like to work with other like minded people to improve and promote disability arts.

Malinda Griffin

30 October 2013

I'm the Dyslexia/Dyspraxia support co-ordinator on the Epsom campus of University for the Creative Arts, and work very closely with my colleague, Nikki Scambler who is Disability Manager here.....we would be very grateful indeed for directions to any accessible collections of 'disabled' students work that we could show our students, display etc. etc. Any advice out there?

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