Who can I speak for? Springwatch poetry. — Scope | Disability forum
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Who can I speak for? Springwatch poetry.

Kathy_Bramley Member Posts: 132 Pioneering
Hi. The poet, nature lover, disability activist sides of me was frustrated, the self hating/checking humility/social+ethical anxiety side of me was having a great time.  Or rather not. 

I'm a parent without diagnosis somewhere between developmental disabilities like dyspraxia or autism and mental health trouble and possibly a v. slight hearing impairment that only gets a tiny mention in historical footnote of doctors appointments, my children both have different brain based/developmental disabilities, both relatively invisible. Most people assume my daughter is autistic but her brother is, she has acquired brain injuries from neonatal sepsis. But it's a small percentage of what you notice about us. 

I'm into poetry and nature, spirituality, and politics. I was the odd bean who was going to save the world with kickass eco feminism, faith and/or social justice at school and this was an element of stonewalling and gaslighting away the social/bullying and practical and educational problems I was having at school. I had opportunity for wider disability awareness I took hold of long before I was definite I might fit in that bracket. I care about inspiration porn and inclusion issues and have been aware a long time.

But I haven't got CP and I'm not that springwatch poet. Or close to him. I don't know if I am getting it all wrong being uncomfortable with the snippet I saw on Twitter.  The words in the toasty actor voice, I'm not making hurtful assumptions here I hope, were beautiful words. But I think it seemed far too schmaltzy exploitation and inspirational ambience talking about poetry and not enough of the poetry used in the installation. I know there's an issue about presentation, an actors voice is often used for poetry and it's like typing up work but possibly appropriate for the purpose of the piece, but still something felt quite wrong and I don't know if I am allowed to say that or explore it, though I just have? Is it about being disabled enough, that person, my missing a trick? 
Lucky unlucky
Guess my diagnosis,
It may help, but
Don't guess my kids's


  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,793 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2017
    Hi @Kathy_Bramley, thank you for sharing this with us. I think you've expressed your point rather considerately and of course, everybody is allowed to have their own interpretations. Maybe it just goes to show that there's room for multiple perspectives/experiences of disability in poetry?

    I wonder how other people feel about this?
  • nikkiwaldron
    nikkiwaldron Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi @Kathy_Bramley. I am a Producer on BBC Autumnwatch, and directed the film with Marchant Barron that you mention in your post above.
    Hopefully, if I can give you a little more context to the clip that you saw on Twitter, it may help to address some of your concerns. The full film (approx 5 mins long) can be seen on BBC iPlayer here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09cbhmx/autumnwatch-2017-episode-2 (jump to 34 minutes).
    The clip that was on Twitter was a cut-down version (to suit the platform), so didn't feature any of Marchant's poems. He wrote eight in total for his installation at Westonbirt Arboretum, and we featured two in the film ('Tanglefoot' and 'Hallowed').
    The voice used was of Chris, one of Marchant's Team, which is a decision that Marchant was happy with, as he himself struggles to speak. The words in the voiceover were all written by Marchant (and just edited slightly by me to fit the film).
    On the series (Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch) we have featured films with people who have autism, are blind, are bed-bound and also elderly contributors, to try to give show that nature touches us all.
    I hope this gives you some more background to the piece.
    Best wishes,


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