We are Nott Normal

reframed by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Normal is;  average · typical · ordinary · conventional · fixed  · ornery · mainstream · unremarkable · unexceptional · predictable · bog-standard · boring …

The opposite of normal can be; creative · original · spectacular · redefining · game-changing · inspiring · alternative · exciting · diverse · remarkable · inclusive …

We are ‘Nott Normal‘; Nottingham’s independent adaptive and accessible arts project. Below we explain a little about how and why the group came into being. You can get a very brief overview by reading our unconventional manifesto.

The group was born in January 2019 and is created by people with visible and invisible disabilities, designed to be driven by people facing challenges seen and unseen, including lasting injuries,  special needs, or chronic conditions as well as those who may simply be different from the dominant norms. We believe neurodiversity is necessary. Though the group is geographically based in Nottingham we welcome creative contributions and participants from anywhere in the world, with many of our projects using the online virtual world as a meeting space. Dive in, because we believe there is no such thing as normal and together we can be extraordinary!

The Big Juicy Challenge:

Nottingham has a rich, living history of arts, experimentalism, and activism (with blurred boundaries between the three). The city also has a major problem; much of this exciting art and activism excludes and so discriminates against a huge amount of people; alienating artists and audiences with a multitude of special access needs. The barriers are a mix of physical, psychological and practical but with some collaborative original thinking we can move mountains. In doing so, we place ourselves, not in an art therapy/community arts bubble, but at the cutting edge of contemporary practice where new, renewed, adaptive forms of artistic expression can find a voice on new platforms.

Nott Normal uses creativity, humour and, when necessary, a dose of bile to explore how much ‘disability’ and/or alienation are made worse, at times defined, by practices and spaces governed by and geared towards the more fully abled. This project involves a proactive, peaceful, provocative occupation and re-exploration of creative space. Sharing and challenging our realities through ways of experiencing the world is arguably central to arts practice, as is testing accepted conventions and ways of doing things.

Is this for you?

Participants include people who’ve regularly experienced mobility, sensory, neurological, emotional, communicative and/or other challenges. They also include those who just feel left out. Close relatives, ‘access allies’ and friends involved in care can also play active, mutually supportive roles. So, really, they include everyone by putting those with special or extra access needs first. Using different mediums to examine diverse perspectives we inventively interpret our inclusion, expression, and relationship to others and to space in life and art. How can we communicate, alter or reframe these realities? If any of this interests you and you believe in diversity, this is for you.

Examining the nature of venue, art selection, content, curation, publicity, public opening and engagement we will investigate the good, the bad and the ugly of existing practices. We will break down barriers as we shift, expand and pioneer more inclusive methods. Our aim is to prove that, despite and because of limited available resources, it is essential to increase who art speaks for and to. Inclusion and access become an innovative, exciting, involving and evolving art in itself.

Is there a need?

Nott Normal is responding to tangible and growing needs for collective empowerment, contact and recognition of rights that we hope ignites awareness and future adaptivity. As we collaboratively engage more people in the art world and showcase the original work of those fighting barriers to inclusivity, we build awareness and fresh perspectives. It is our objective to seed new possibilities, both within Nottingham’s Creative Circles and within other spheres, sectors and interconnected communities near and far by showing what is achievable while inspiring imaginations to go even further.

Found out more:

Learn more about us as artists by looking at our About Us or clicking on Dan & Antonia’s Profiles

Learn about our Sense Nottingham Project

Or Contact us