As a self-proclaimed ‘art lack-of-movement’, the primary aim of Still Ill OK is to spread awareness of accessible activism amongst the chronically ill/disabled/neurodiverse community. Spreading awareness to the wider public of issues that we face in these groups is certainly part of the whole, but truly enabling one another to really understand how we can be and are active, political and important from our small corner of the world, in our small corner of the flat, in our small corner of the bed-, that is what we really hope to achieve.
What do we do?
Still ill OK was set up by disabled activist & professional Ellie Page, after worsening health issues & some new conditions caused her to step down her practice as a full-time youth worker. Before the pandemic, Still ill OK coordinated monthly groups such as ‘Spoonie Artists Unite’ – a regular meet up for chronically ill/disabled creatives – and co-facilitated Pen Fight’s wonderful Queer Craft Club & Zine Club monthly groups.
As well as a monthly mailing list and craftivist facebook group, we ran a number of one-off arts workshops and at various libraries, community cafes art galleries around Manchester, both as part of Nice Time Arts LLP – a joint practice with Pen Fight which we sadly had to close at the start of the pandemic – and independently, contracted by & working alongside organisations such as the LGBT Foundation, Proud Trust, University of Manchester, Breakthrough UK, Hearing Voices Network and more.
Principles of accessibility and affordability have always guided our work, and we therefore only operate in wheelchair-accessible venues, prioritise intersectionality at every stage of our process, and always work under a ‘Donate if & what you can’ model.
Since the pandemic, Ellie has had to focus on paid work opportunities and therefore Still ill OK has mostly continued as an online arts hub; mostly via this website. It is helpful to regard this website as an online collage: it is a carefully curated mess, in a state of never quite being finished – always waiting for those “finishing” touches that never quite come.
We have been commissioned to run various creative projects throughout the pandemic, working with Contact, Drawn Poorly, Hidden Track Theatre, and Mad In America. More information will be shared about these projects at various stages 😉
We are currently waiting to hear from a couple of funding streams regarding post-pandemic practice, and have a number of other projects up our sleeves. We can’t wait to run groups again at our space in Hulme, Manchester, and are also looking at online courses & regular exhibitions of chronically ill artists’ work. If you’d like to help us work towards a future programme, we’d be greatful if you could buy us a coffee or donate a few pennies via PayPal.