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Disabled-led arts project challenges stigma surrounding mobility shops

Artist Bella Milroy’s new project aims to expose and interrogate the cultural status of mobility shops and aids, offering an alternative to the grey-beige – Purgatory that they currently exist within.

Mob-Shop is a disabled-led project exploring mobility shops, mobility aids and the devices and practices used by and designed for disabled and critically ill people.

The project aims to expose the concept of mobility shops in where they sit in the cultural consciousness of disabled experiences and sent to them in ways that could potentially offer new and better alternatives to the redirect, medicalised, grey-beige-Purgatory of how they exist today.

Devoid of fashion, youth and culture and any form of autonomy and self-expression, mobility shops are a fascinating example of the excruciatingly rigid and ableist narrative that cuts right to the heart of how society sees disabled people.

Bella Milroy, director and curator, said: ‘Mobility shops do not reflect the reality of disabled experiences, and the aids and devices that are supposedly designed exclusively for us, so often failures in offering variety of choice, identity, or imagination.

‘As physical spaces they are both geographically and socially located on the peripheries. Mob-shop seeks to centre disability culture and the wealth of shared knowledge and wisdom of our disabled community, facing some of these peripheral experiences at the core of the programme.’

black and gray wheelchair on blue floor

This new programme commissions disabled artists to respond speculatively to the concept of the mobility shop. In a series of newly created artworks, writing, workshops, and podcasts, we invite you to creatively accompany us in critically reflecting upon what the design and aspiration of accessible products, spaces and practices might embody.

Artworks will be exhibited at Chesterfield, Dronfield and Long Eaton libraries between October 4 and November 6 2021.

Printed artworks will be exhibited and distributed across all Derbyshire Libraries in the form of a double-sided poster.

A downloadable version of this publication will also be made available as a PDF across all libraries in England. They will also be available to take away upon request.

The podcast will be made available on Soundcloud and promoted online through Derbyshire Libraries social media.

Mob-Shop is a project supported by 12o Collective, Derbyshire Libraries, CILIP, Shape Arts and Arts Council England.

Further information regarding accessibility of venues, podcasts, workshops and where to find audio descriptions, plain text versions and exhibition walkthroughs of all commissioned artwork can be found on the website www.mob-shop.co.uk.

If you have any specific access requirements or questions regarding how you might wish to engage with the project and need to get in touch, you can email mob.shop.art@gmail.com.

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