Postcards created by people with disabilities go on show in Gateshead

An exhibition of postcards in Gateshead aims to challenge stereotypes and prejudice by exploring the lives of disabled people

Pauline Heath who created one of the artworks in the Postcards from the Edges exhibition
Pauline Heath who created one of the artworks in the Postcards from the Edges exhibition

Hundreds of postcards created by people with disabilities have gone on show at a new exhibition.

Postcards from the Edges was created by national disability charity United Response to build on the Paralympic Games legacy by turning the spotlight from people’s sporting achievements to their creative ones. Dozens of participants from around the North East took the opportunity to express themselves through a postcard. They sent in poems, photographs, digital art, paintings and even knitted items.

The work is on display at the Sage Gateshead, alongside art from celebrities including Paralympians Hannah Cockroft and Dame Sarah Storey, Olympian Sally Gunnell, Suede singer Brett Anderson, model Kelly Knox and Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson.

United Response hopes the project will challenge stereotypes and prejudice by exploring the everyday lives of disabled people, their hopes, fears, the challenges they face and their achievements.


Among those who have designed postcards are older people with mental health needs, the mothers of children with autism, and hearing-impaired artists. Pauline Heath, 49, of Gateshead, who has cerebral palsy, created a piece inspired by her many sleepless nights. She says she often finds herself awake with endless thoughts running through her mind. One night, she got out of bed to write a poem to express how she felt when she had insomnia.

She added: “Some nights I have so many thoughts running through my head which means I cannot sleep and I find myself tossing and turning all night. But most frustrating is the fact that this has a huge effect on me the next day, I will feel tired and unable to do much for the rest of the day.

“So one night I thought I would write a poem to express how I feel about this. I know other people also suffer this problem and hopefully with this poem they can understand what I go through.” Many of the postcards highlight strong messages. One reads “Everybody’s human, remember that”, while another has a picture of a disabled youngster and says “See the child, not the disability.”

Su Sayer, founder and chief executive of United Response, said: “The exhibition is a real explosion of creative energy, offering a kaleidoscope of different experiences.

“Some postcards are very moving, some are funny and others are simply beautiful, but the overall experience is eye opening and inspiring. I’m very proud that we are using our 40th anniversary to launch a unique, life-affirming project like this.

“So what better way to continue our national tour than to showcase these remarkable pieces of artwork at the amazing Sage.”

The exhibition will be at Sage Gateshead until tomorrow and will then go on to tour Liverpool and Bristol.


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