The Department of Ability

The Department of Ability Poster (Comic)

My name is Dan proud father to the incredible, strong, funny action seeking Emily who uses a wheelchair and has Spina Bifida.
When Emily was small she said “i don’t see wheelchairs on the telly..are they allowed?” GULP…WOW…what a statement!
It was then I decided if TV wasn’t going to do it..I would! that’s when the light bulb moment happened and i created…
The Department of Ability! superheroes using their disabilities as their superpowers! I used a mixed bag of characters,

Emily , the only human!, and her flying wheelchair and superior upper body strength Azzazatz the Alien, crash landed on Earth and retrofitted with a prosthetic bio-mechanical arm Pawsy the cheetah, rescued after an accident at London zoo and now reaches super speeds with his fusion powered Running blade Claypole, Ghost, brilliant scientist recalled blind from the afterlife and uses white canes….for justice…!

Comic Heroes of The Department of Ability
Comic Heroes of The Department of Ability

Billy, the dog, rescued from a hit and run, and gets around now with carbon wheels and a tail that acts as a radar and jet!
Each “born to be different..born to save the world”
If you go to my website, FB site or twitter, you can see and read ALL about them! and see the growing army of followers..more every day!

The D.O.A (for short) were designed to be as accessible as possible without losing sight of the aim behind their creation , as I noticed that the majority of Disabled characters across the medium of media were purely static or there to educate, and if this project was to encourage positive, diverse, inclusion then it HAD to be accessible…the kids I meet at Stoke Manderville sports, wheelchair basketball or charity events all tell me they have had enough of discussing their disability, they hate their stereotyped images, they want proper inclusion in the medium that they, like all kids consume! TV and comics! I am hoping the D.O.A can, if a 21st century tv exec can open his aged old eyes, get these kids the the inclusion that they deserve and get all kids of ALL abilities to join in, chat, meet and have a common interest they can share! not much too it?

The Department of Ability Comic front page
The Department of Ability Comic front page

I am writing and drawing the first D.O.A Comic at home, (It is being printed and published by the forward thinking STRONGBONES charity) I have given up paid employment to fulfil this dream, I am convinced, and so are all my wonderful followers online, that it can work! I am writing and drawing outlandish action packed global superhero adventures, whilst annoying anyone I can in the media to listen to me and 12MILLION other incredible people in this stunning community! its tiring and hard work, but it will take a lesser man to light a flame! I believe the time for change is coming, be it my characters or someone elses’ but things need to happen! the dark ages are over.

So far I have had fantastic online support from Disability Horizons/SCOPE/MENCAP/Hannah Cockcroft/Tanni Grey Thompson/Sky tv hosts/paralympians/celebs like Warwick Davies and The Last Leg. I have been shouting the project on : BBC Couch, Sky Sunrise, The Wright Stuff, ABC news, soooo many papers and magazines and radio stations! The want for the comic is coming in worldwide now, so i better sign off and get scribbling! If the word on the D.O.A can be spread to anyone, anywhere as far as possible, any likes, tweets..shares..shouts even! that would be awesome! TV is the next logical step whilst the in demand comic is in production! 12 million is not a minority there is nothing to loose, but EVERYTHING to gain!

The finished comic will be out next March/April, worldwide distribution, anyone can contact me! always need help! working on your own can be tiring! haha!

Please lets work together and open the bigger world to this amazing community of strong, independent people – thank you! you can find teasers/info/pics/even the theme tune by Calling Utopia at:


Lets make this happen…positive, strong, inclusion is a must.
Tv has…nothing to loose BUT everything to GAIN.

Thanks! with a plan

Press Release – Breaking Down Barriers with a New Museum Network

DCN - Signing of Memorandum © Iain Duncan/RAF Museum

DATE: 26th October 2015
Heritage and Culture Warwickshire is a lead partner in a new initiative,  working together with Leicester University School of Museum Studies and the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London and RAF Museum, Hendon.

The Disability Co-operative Network aims to share knowledge from around and beyond the Heritage sector to break down barriers for people with disabilities. DCNs website includes participants such as the BBC, Access Portugal, Liverpool Museums, DASH arts, Dyspraxia Foundation, The Whitworth and Indianapolis Museum of Art. It is thought to be the only offer of its kind.

DCN - Steering Group © Iain Duncan/RAF Museum
DCN – Steering Group © Iain Duncan/RAF Museum

We want to hear from charities, organisations and museums who would like to share their work with our platform, to raise awareness and the profile of disability within Heritage and Culture.

The network concept was recently selected as part of the national Transformers scheme run by the Museums Association.

Michelle Alexander, Manager of Museums and Natural Environment said “I was extremely pleased to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of Warwickshire Museums. This is a very worthwhile initiative which I hope will grow and expand further in the future across more cultural organisations.”

Maggie Appleton, CEO of the RAF Museum said “Our museum is committed to increasing access and engaging audiences with the RAF’s story and we are passionate about sharing what we have learnt, to enable other organisations to benefit – as this makes for a more inclusive society. I am therefore delighted to be representing the Museum in this initiative and look forward to developing our relationship with other organisations.”

Julia Cort, Community Learning Manager at Horniman Museum and Gardens said, “The Horniman is really excited to be involved in this initiative. It is a great opportunity to support other organisations and learn from the fantastic practice that currently exists in the sector. I encourage as many people as possible to get involved.”

Professor Richard Sandell from the School of Museum Studies, Leicester University said “In recent years we’ve seen exciting pockets of innovation in opening up museums to previously underserved audiences. At the same time, however, commitment to advancing the cultural rights of disabled people remains uneven across the sector and many museums continue to miss opportunities to create more inclusive experiences for all. At this time there is a pressing need for the DCN that can support museums to work collaboratively with disabled people to embed access for all at the heart of their practice.”



For media enquiries and photo opportunities please contact:

About Heritage and Culture Warwickshire
Heritage and Culture Warwickshire manages museums, archives, arts, archaeology, learning and community engagement, as part of Warwickshire County Council. We provide a wide range of services that help local communities and visitors to connect and engage with their local heritage. We aim to safeguard Warwickshire’s archives, history and natural sciences, protect its historic and natural environment and provide high quality arts and cultural opportunities and lifelong learning for everyone in the County and beyond.

Disabled Artists Given Opportunity To Cultivate Their Creative Talents!

Cultivate - Sowing the seeds in a pot

DASH LogoArt Council Logo

Cultivate - Sowing the seeds in a pot
Cultivate – Sowing the seeds in a pot

Shropshire based disability arts organisation DASH, have launched a new initiative this Autumn. Cultivate, is a bold and unique mentoring programme for disabled artists in the West Midlands. Disabled visual artists are now encouraged to discover more information!

Cultivate is a three year programme, which will be delivered up until 2018. It’s primary aim is to support and aid the development of disabled artists, whether emerging or already established.

Those who are successful in receiving a mentoring placement as part of the project, can access up to six hours of one to one mentoring support from highly experienced and skilled mentors.

The mentoring time and expertise can be utilised to help artists with important skills and areas such as networking, artistic processes, communicating with galleries, selling work as a business – and more.

Cultivate - Plant Growing in Pot been watered
Cultivate – Plant Growing in Pot been watered

Cultivate launched officially on Monday 14 September and applications are now open for artists.

Cultivate - The rewards - picking the fruits
Cultivate – The rewards – picking the fruits

The application process has been made as easy as possible via an online form – and mentoring placements are to be awarded on a first come first served basis.

Alternative application methods are available if required. Speaking about the new project, Mike Layward of DASH says “Cultivate will help mentor twenty artists each year throughout it’s duration, meaning DASH can assist a further 60 disabled visual artists.” He added “DASH are really pleased to be delivering such a valuable project and I really do invite artists from cross the West Midlands to apply.”


For further information on the Cultivate project, please visit

Cultivate flyer
Cultivate flyer

Notes to editors

About Cultivate

  1. Cultivate is a visual arts programme designed to assist Disabled and Deaf visual across the Midlands.
  2. Cultivate is a development of previous one to one mentoring provided by DASH.
  3. Cultivate is funded by the Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation.

About DASH (Disability Arts in Shropshire)

  1. DASH is the UK’s leading rural Disability Arts organisation. It is the only
  2. Disability Arts organisation from the Midlands super-region to be included in the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio for 2015 – 18.
  3. DASH works in partnerships to raise the profile and credibility of Disability Arts and to widen opportunities for Disabled artists and audiences.
  4. DASH is based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
  5. You can follow DASH on Twitter @DASH_Arts and facebook:

Royal Shakespeare Company Announces Its First British Sign Language Theatre Tour

The Jew of Malta production photos_ 2015_Photo by Ellie Kurttz - Copyright the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company, RSC will host its first British Sign Language theatre tour to coincide with the Swan Theatre’s first British Sign Language interpreted show of Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta on September 8.

The Jew of Malta production photos_ 2015_Photo by Ellie Kurttz (C) the Royal Shakespeare Company
The Jew of Malta production photos_ 2015_Photo by Ellie Kurttz (C) the Royal Shakespeare Company

The RSC’s British Sign Language Theatre Tour will give people the chance to learn more about the history behind the RSC’s Swan Theatre, which celebrates its 30th anniversary next year, as well as the opportunity to explore a range of wigs and costumes from The Jew of Malta. The one hour tour will be led by British Sign Language interpreter Clare Edwards and theatre goers can also take part in a special interpreted post-show talk on the play. The production which is directed by Justin Audibert centres around religious conflict and revenge, and also features Jasper Britton who plays the complex Machiavellian protagonist Barabas.  

Elizabeth Wainwright, the RSC’s Head of Theatre and Operations, said: “We want everybody to feel welcome in our theatres and to be able to experience our work. Earlier this year we had our first Semi-integrated British Sign Language performance, and I am delighted that we are now offering our first British Sign Language Theatre Tour. To round it off we are also inviting people to stay behind and find out more about the play as part of a free special interpreted post show talk.”

The RSC continues its commitment to Semi-integrated British Sign Language performances with Ella Hickson’s acclaimed re-telling of JM Barrie’s classic children’s story – Wendy and Peter Pan.  The performance, which takes place on 20 January, will see the interpreter up close with the actors in the thick of the action dressed as part of the show. The performance will also be followed by an interpreted post-show talk back.

The RSC also offers an online interpreted synopsis of The Jew of Malta, including the character sign names and details of how to book tickets. Visit


Notes to Editors:
Press release issued: 11 August 2015
For further information, please contact RSC Press and Communications Officer Nurinder Mantell, or call 01789 412657/ 07920 541729.

The Jew of Malta
Swan Theatre: Until September 8, 2015
British Sign language Performance: Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 7.30pm
British Sign Language Theatre Tour: Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 4.45pm – 5.45pm
For tickets visit
For press tickets please contact or call 01789 412660

Wendy and Peter Pan
Royal Shakespeare Theatre: 17 November 2015 – 31 January 2016
Semi-integrated British Sign Language performance: 20 January 2016, 7.15pm, tickets from £16
For press tickets please contact or call 01789 412660

Images for media use
Media can download high res images by registering at


The RSC Literary Department is generously supported by THE DRUE HEINZ TRUST

£5 tickets for 16-25s
The £5 ticket scheme for 16 – 25 year olds gives access to £5 tickets for all RSC productions whether we are performing in Stratford-upon-Avon, London or on tour.  Tickets can be booked in advance on the phone, online or in person with some available for sale on the day of the performance.  The scheme is supported by Project Partner, BP.

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.

Everyone at the RSC – from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians – plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.

We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We reach 450,000 children and young people annually through our education work across the UK, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.

Registered charity no. 212481


Spreading the news about museum access

We have had a great response from our launch on 15th September at the Royal College of Physicians and we are now officially here.

We are talking to various theatres, businesses, organisations, museums, art galleries and individuals in how they make their places and organisations more accessible.

If you want to raise the profile of your project, strategy and organisation.  Please let us know via the contact us page.

We are regularly updating news from the cultural sector and non-sector via our twitter @museumdcn.