How painting 'saved' a man with paralysis
- 8 July 2015
Artist Chuck Close has produced widely recognisable contemporary art, but after becoming paralysed in 1988, he had to devise a new way to carry on creating.
When one of Chuck Close's arteries burst and caused permanent paralysis, his first thought was how to begin painting again. Such was his determination to continue making art that he told friends: "I'll spit on the canvas if I have to."
Continuing seemed like a tall order - Close had lost all feeling from the neck down - and as he began occupational therapy, in a room decorated with unfinished baskets woven by terminal cancer patients, he remembers it was one of the only times he cried in those early days after becoming disabled.
"I remember saying 'you see, I told you I can't do it' with tears running down my cheeks," he explains. But as he began to get back some strength through daily rehabilitation, Close was able to put his hands together, clamp them around a paintbrush and literally fall on to a canvas, hoping the brush landed in the right place. "It was good enough, even with the first attempt to know that I could do it eventually," he says.
By the time Close left hospital he was creating paintings of a similar quality to those from before he was paralysed. This is no mean feat - his paintings are notoriously detailed and require fine brush strokes and methodical control. Psychologically it was important for Close to produce work of exactly the same quality as before so that if he moved forward artistically he knew it was because he wanted to, and not that he had to.
Dame Anne Begg: 'What do I do now?'
- 7 July 2015
Disabled former MP Dame Anne Begg lost her seat in May's general election. But what has it been like being an MP and what is she going to do next?
She had been a Labour member of Parliament for the Aberdeen South constituency for 18 years. When she entered the House of Commons, it was as one of "Blair's Babes" - the record-breaking 101-strong intake of female Labour MPs in 1997.
Politics, prose and protest music
- 3 July 2015
A politician, an author and a musician walked in to a studio. Hear what happens next on the July 2015 instalment of the Ouch talk show.
Former Labour Member of Parliament Dame Anne Begg lost the marginal seat of Aberdeen South in the recent general election - a seat she had held for 18 years. She talks frankly with presenters Kate Monaghan and Simon Minty about political life as a wheelchair user, and they offer sometimes helpful suggestions about jobs she might like to do next.
Wheelchair user on why he hates 'that' festival picture
- 1 July 2015
A picture of a man in a wheelchair at a festival being raised up by the crowd is being shared widely as "brilliant". But when the same thing happened to 25-year-old Ollie Knocker from York, it didn't end well.
In December 2013 I travelled to Australia from my hometown of York to find work and explore the other side of the world. This was a huge challenge for me as I suffer from a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Bethlem Myopathy and use a wheelchair permanently. My brother came out with me for three weeks to help me overcome any initial hurdles like finding a suitable place to live and work.
Independent Living Fund: What is going to happen now?
- 30 June 2015
Tuesday is the last day of the Independent Living Fund. But what is it and who will be affected?
Started in 1988, the Independent Living Fund (ILF) has provided financial support to people with disabilities across the UK.
How easy is it for the limbless to get a bionic arm or leg?
- 25 June 2015
Last week a woman who was born without a hand, showcased her new bionic arm - said to be the most lifelike one yet. But bionics can cost up to £100,000 and aren't an option for everyone - so what do other people do?
Nicky Ashwell's bionic hand has been created using F1 and military technology and is said to perfectly mimic the function of a real hand, with 14 possible positions. She says it has taken away "her awkward moments", and the movements are natural and easy to master.
'Disabled should band together to bring living costs down'
- 23 June 2015
Disabled consumers should be "bold and loud" about their spending power, says disability costs commission.
A year-long enquiry into the expensive lives that disabled people have has concluded that working together as a collective consumer force is necessary to bring down the cost of living.
The priest who had both hands blown off by a letter bomb
- 22 June 2015
When a letter bomb was delivered to Father Michael Lapsley's house, it triggered a lifetime of healing.
Twenty-five years ago, Father Michael Lapsley's life changed irreparably while living in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Losing your sight as a deaf person
- 14 June 2015
Sight is very important for deaf people, especially when attempting to talk with others, so what happens if you also start to go blind?
Deaf people are very visual, we use sign language and lip-reading as a way to communicate and socialise, so the prospect of losing our sight can be very daunting. A medical study found deaf people may even have enhanced peripheral vision, compensating for a lack of hearing.
The 'dragons' who want to help disabled people start their own business
- 11 June 2015
Meet the city financiers who want to help disabled people start their own businesses.
At a breakfast meeting in the City of London, a group of venture capitalists are making a presentation about a fund with a difference. It's called Kaleidoscope and it's aimed at giving financial backing to disabled entrepreneurs.