A black-and-white photograph of Simon, a white man with glasses, sticking his tongue out at the camera.

Brighton Fringe exhibition sees people behind brain injuries

If a picture is worth a thousand words, there will be an entire book on display on May 19 as part of the Brighton Fringe.

I Am Not My Disability documents the journeys of people with brain injuries living at Swanborough House, Whitehawk, through works of art such as painted masks, poetry, sand trays and photographic portraits.

“Sometimes, you cannot explain with words,” said Adel, one of the contributors to the project.

“So you use your imagination, you use your painting.”

Speech and language therapist Lisa Sherman, who facilitates the art sessions, believes the visual nature of the project makes it easier for the patients – who due to their injuries have cognitive and communication difficulties – to explore their pasts, presents and futures.

The exhibition will also include a music video, written and performed by the Swanborough House Film Group.

It informs audiences how they should interact with a person who has a brain injury – which the participants feel isn’t widely discussed.

“Before you have one in your family, no-one knows anything about [brain injury],” said Anthony, a member of the group.

“If you say something to me, ten minutes later I would’ve probably forgotten all about it.”

To continue improving the public’s knowledge of brain injury and hidden disabilities, the group wants to go into schools with the video.

Alan, who took part in it, said: “To me, music stands out more than talking.”

I Am Not My Disability can be seen for free at St Mary’s Church, St James’ Street, Brighton, on Sunday, May 19 from 12pm-4pm. Schools which are interested in a visit from the Swanborough House Film Group can contact Lisa Sherman on 01273 696391.


This article was originally published in The Brighton Wire.