In 2013 I was very lucky to receive a bursary from Disability Arts Online to attend the Personal to Universal Symposium in Salisbury and learn interview journalism techniques. This culminated in conducting interviews of two panel members and writing up the articles for publication.

I was fortunate to interview Hassan Mahamdallie, at the time Senior Diversity Strategy Officer at Arts Council England and instigator of the Creative Case for Diversity, and Jo Verrent, who continues her tireless work in promoting disabled creatives through the Unlimited programme.

I listened to their panel talks, researched and drew up a list of questions. I played at being a ‘real’ journalist and I had a blast. Both interviews went well over the 20 minutes allocated time, and both Hassan and Jo said they had never had such an excellent and enjoyable time being interviewed.

I feel quite proud of those articles, even though I haven’t done much ‘journalism’ since. But the best aspect is having hooked up with two amazing activists who imbued me with strength and hope at a time when self-confidence was lacking.

We are still in contact and follow each other’s activities. That’s the best legacy – belonging to a community and learning from others.”


Hassan_Mahamdallie.JPG800x954.734721289

Profile of Hassan Mahamdallie

An article for Creative Case for Diversity website

creativecase.org.uk/Skinheads-Class-Warrior-and-Dickens

Twitter @hmahamdallie


Blurred double exposure portrait of Jo Verrent taken against a reflection in a window. Two side-on shots of the artists' face are shown against the backdrop of a brick building.

Self-portrait (c) Jo Verrent

Profile of Jo Verrent

An article for Disability Arts Online

 disabilityartsonline.org.uk/jo-verrent-food-for-thought

Twitter @joverrent