We're pleased to announce that this year we launched the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive (NDACA), a £1-million digital archive chronicling the history of disability arts in the UK. www.the-ndaca.org

NDACA, a Heritage Lottery Fund project delivered by Shape, chronicles the unique history of the UK Disability Arts Movement in which a group of disabled people and their allies broke down barriers, helped change the law and made great art and culture while doing so. NDACA is the first archive in the world to offer a major retrospective of disabled people’s art and activism; www.the-ndaca.org is the home of a digital catalogue of 3,500 images, oral history film interviews, educational resources and animations, articles and much more, and as such the Disability Arts Movement can now stake its place within the diverse landscape of UK cultural heritage.

The Archive and Collection preserves the legacy of disability arts, allowing future generations of disabled people to celebrate the creative and political artefacts of disability. Researchers, heritage professionals and those interested in the UK’s cultural identity will be able to share and study a variety of ephemera about disability arts and analyse how the Disability Arts Movement impacted the campaign for disabled people’s civil rights.

Colour photograph of a group of disabled protesters outside in what looks to be a car park, with blue skies. They are holding placards with slogans on and in the foreground is a sign saying Is this a cripple-free zone?

As an open, free-to-use archive, www.the-ndaca.org is the central location to discover disability arts history. NDACA has digitised over 3,000 deposits to tell the heritage story of disability arts; this massive collection of disabled artists’ work from 1968 to the present day covers every aspect of their creative and political journeys: extensive photographs, ephemera, theatre stills and t-shirt collections relating to the seminal moments in the struggle for disabled people’s rights.

The digitisation of thousands of unique deposits will allow new audiences to share and comment on disability arts heritage. David Hevey, Shape Arts CEO and Project Director of NDACA, explains: “This Archive tells a powerful heritage story about the Disability Arts Movement. I am proud to have led on a project that has innovatively reinterpreted the great art, culture and story of struggle produced by disabled people and their allies for so many decades.”

"NDACA is a major milestone for disability heritage; stories of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives," Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, comments, "Challenging and triumphant, we can now all learn about the contribution of the disabled community to the UK's arts and political landscape."

NDACA’s physical collection will be stored in the Archive’s Repository at Buckinghamshire New University, along with the newly built research facilities opening in 2019. The NDACA Learning Wing will be the first ever study space dedicated to disability arts heritage in the UK. 

Explore the digital National Disability Arts Collection and Archive now at www.the-ndaca.org.

For further information please contact Alex Cowan, NDACA Archivist, on tel: 0207 424 7330 or via email: [email protected].

Banner image: Graeae Theatre Company rehearsing for Sideshow, 1980. Part of NDACA
Body image: 'Block Telethon' protest outside London Weekend Television (LTV) studios, 1990. Photograph attributed to Liz Crow. Part of NDACA.