Shortly after the 2016 amendments to the assessment of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), a cartoon scolding the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) began doing the rounds on social media. In it, a figure sits behind a desk declaring: “If they drown, they need PIP. If they float, they weren’t ill.” whilst a woman is dragged out of the office by her hair. Accompanied by the caption “Conservatives Disability Policy”, the illustration caught a lot of online attention for this comparison of the DWP’s practices to those of the elementally evil Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins. Some found it an absurdly distasteful comparison; others deemed it a justified piece of satirical exaggeration. But as Amie M Marie deftly exposes in her new play Scrounge, the cartoon was barely hyperbolic in its analogy.
In November 2021, as Glasgow swirled with police, delegates and protesters during the COP26 conference, one sound art gallery was hosting a unique performance. There, Norwich band The Neutrinos performed Darkroom, their lockdown-inspired, one-audience member soundscape show which takes place – as the name suggests – entirely in darkness. I caught up with vocalist Karen Reilly about the show, the band’s partner project Klanghaus and their dream Darkroom performance venue.
We sat down remotely with local artist Vince Laws to talk about his recent series of paintings, modelled and grafted on famous works of Western painters, for the now available exhibition Painting Myself Happy – part of the Together! Disability History Month Festival, taking place online from 11th November to 9th December.
The frame is divided into three sections, with the top heading – ‘United States of America In’. All three section has a United States Airforce aircraft, visually moving from one section to another. In the first frame, on the left, the US Airforce aircraft is coming in dropping weapons like assault rifles and stringer missile launchers, each attached to a parachute. They are being dropped to the ground where a sign board pointing ahead appears on which Afghanistan is written. On the top of this first frame, 1979 is written, to indicate the US support to the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, who later formed the Taliban.
In the second section, in the middle, the US aircraft is dropping bombs on Afghanistan (a sign board is visible on ground) and on the top 2001 is written marking the US invasion of Afghanistan. The third and last section, with the text 2021 written at the top shows the US aircraft flying away with two people falling off the plane to the ground with a sign board ‘Afghanistan’ pointing back, representing the actual incident of Afghans, trying to leave the country after US withdrawal and Taliban takeover, falling off a US air force aircraft during take off from Kabul International Airport.
Description: A raised fist in the foreground is chained in a wrist shackle with the image of Israeli flag superimposed over the shackle bracelet. Two raised fist holding Palestinian resistance scarf (with black-and-white keffiyeh pattern and Palestine flag on white fabric) on either side of the chained wrist are breaking the chains of shackles. In the background, two more raised fists are breaking the chains attached to the shackled fist in foreground. The bracelet of the wrist shackle begin to break. Release all Palestinian Political Prisoners text is written on top part of the image. The word, Palestine, has image of the Palestinian flag superimposed over it.
Foreground, left: a woman holding a sickle in one hand and a large red flag in the other, and wearing a green scarf over a yellow khadi; behind her, a man in a light orange khadi, a light blue turban, a beard, and raising his fist; in front of her are three ears of corn growing out of green stalks.
Background, center to right: two red farming tractors drawn as if moving up a slight incline, towards the right; one is partially behind the two human figures, and bears a small red flag; the other is fully visible, and bears a small green flag.
Above the two tractors is the text: Unite against corporate slavery of farmers.
Last week, as I walked past my housemate’s room, I overheard her in an online meeting with her dissertation supervisor. ‘My uncle’s a lecturer in the same topic,’ she said, ‘so he can help me with that.’ At the time, I marvelled at how convenient that must be. But then, I started to think about how frequently I see this: middle class students aided by family or family friends in their studies, often receiving a great deal of support and extra resources. Are there any instances, I wondered, where I as a working class student have benefitted educationally from family connections?
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