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David Watson

David Watson

Editor, Art Disability Culture

What makes a good leader?

A good leader is someone who can motivate and inspire but has the courage, foresight and wisdom to make tough decisions. There is a distinct lack of leadership in the world of disability arts and massive under-representation of disabled artists due, in part, to a lack of formal training and an unwillingness to engage with the mainstream. We need fewer unelected talking shops and more decisive action.

Do disabled people experience leadership differently?

It could be argued that, historically, the disabled experience has shaped strong, decisive leaders. Tamerlane conquered half the known world. I believe strong decisive leadership is crucial to any successful organisation. We recently lost our arts funding status due, in part, to naivety, indecisiveness, a lack of leadership and a failure to implement agreed strategies. We need strong, adaptable leaders who can take risks and think outside the box.

Do disabled people experience barriers to leadership that non disabled people don’t experience?

There are no barriers to leadership. A leader is someone whose actions and personal qualities single them out. There are however massive barriers to formal training and mainstream opportunities and that must change. I believe we get the leaders we deserve. We have to take control of our destinies.