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Rights Not Charity: Protest Textiles and Disability Activism by Gill Crawshaw

Rights Not Charity: Protest Textiles and Disability Activism by Gill Crawshaw


Textiles have long been part of the fabric of disabled people’s lives and history. In common with banners of the women’s suffrage movement and trade unions, disabled activists have embraced banners as a form of protest and resistance, communicating messages about identity, pride, unity and justice. Rights Not Charitytells the stories of these banners.

Curator Gill Crawshaw explores this history through the protest banners and political artwork of disabled people’s rights movements, taking in political responses to charity, accessibility, and government cuts, among other causes.

About the Author
Gill Crawshaw is a curator who draws on her experience of disability activism to organise art exhibitions and events which highlight issues affecting disabled people. Gill has curated exhibitions which have addressed representation of disabled artists (Possible All Along), charity (Piss on Pity), cuts to welfare and public spending (Shoddy) and access (The Reality of Small Differences).
Gill is interested in the intersection of disabled people’s lives with textile heritage in the north of England, as well as with contemporary textile arts. At the time of publication, Gill is organising an exhibition that is part of Leeds 2023 Year of Culture. In Any work that wanted doing, disabled artists are invited to respond to Gill’s research into disabled people who worked in textile mills.

Illustrations by Alice Bigsby-Bye

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