Festival Director’s Blog 2014

A woman sits in her wheelchair, wearing black trousers and a bright orange vest. She has short hair and is scowling, tied to the security gate in front of her front door.

Housebound. ju90. Digitally printed on perspex. 67cm x 1m. 2010/14.

JU GOSLING AKA ju90 WRITES: Here is where I get to reflect on the festival, as well as record some of my experiences and highlight the talents and hard work of our artists and team members. You can read each entry via the pull-down menu from the ‘Festival Director’s Blog’ link at the top of each page, or follow the links at the bottom of this one.

The illustration on this page is my entry into this year’s Together! 2014 Open Exhibition at the Old Town Hall in central Stratford, ‘Housebound’. The work was commissioned by the late David Morris as part of a collaborative series with his great friend, the artist Silvia Jahnsons. This series took in more than 20 of David’s friends and contacts, both disabled and non-disabled and of all ages. Silvia’s portrait of me, responding to my own self-portrait, is still waiting to be finished; this is the first time I have shown the photograph. Silvia’s portraits of David from the same series can be viewed here.

‘Housebound’ is dedicated to all of those who would enjoy our festival as much as we do, but who are unable to come due to lack of adequate social care support. As a social care user myself, I am only able to get to our festival because I am working, which means that JobCentre Plus funds the support I need to leave my home. We miss seeing all of those who remain at home, sometimes drugged to keep them ‘calm’, often lonely and bored, and isolated for most of the time from most of the rest of the community.

For those of you who are able to, we welcome you all to watch and participate in a wide range of art forms, enjoy both new artists and new work by favourite artists, and find out why we have become known as “the friendly festival”. All for free, in the most culturally diverse borough in the UK. I look forward to seeing you.