In 2020, Studio 3 Arts commissioned me to create a new piece of public art for Barking and Dagenham. Over the course of six months, I worked with a project group of five residents who have experienced long term ill health or disabilities, to produce an artwork through social practice, which has since developed into a political campaign...
The Bath House, 5 Arboretum Place, Barking, is home to a Personal Independence Payments (PIP) Consultation Centre. This is where people with health conditions and disabilities in the surrounding area have their eligibility for social security payments assessed by a private firm called the Independent Assessment Service (formally Atos Healthcare). Complaints about these assessments have received frequent press coverage; a Disability News Service investigation reported that assessors ‘lied, ignored written evidence and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations’. 73% of claimants who are refused PIP following their assessment, win their case when taken to tribunal.
Evidence of what took place at the assessment, is crucial for disabled people who are forced to take their case to tribunal. Yet the Department for Work and Pensions have ruled that assessments may only be recorded on CD or cassette tape. The claimant must provide two devices for this purpose, and simultaneously record the assessment on both, giving one of the CDs or tapes to the assessor immediately after the appointment. This gear costs £120, which poses an insurmountable barrier to most claimants.
We have formed an action group to raise awareness of this issue and campaign against it. To this end, we have produced an audio work, which contains our personal testimonies and documents our efforts to effect a rule change at a national level.
Press and reaction:
This programme was made by: Carina Murray, Katy Rowland, Kev Walton and Pritpal Attalia
Project led by artist Hannah Kemp-Welch, with support from artist Kirsty Reynolds
Rap performed by Dauda Ladejobi with lyrics by Katy Rowland, additional lyrics by the Artivists
Poem by Kev Walton
Radio production by Hannah Kemp-Welch
This project is produced by Studio 3 Arts
Thanks to the Funders of this project:
Arts Council England and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham