DaDaFest Artistic Director Awarded MBE

RUTH Gould, Artistic Director of DaDaFest, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2016 official birthday honours list for a prominent career working within disability & deaf arts. Her work has taken her across the world to promote a vision of improving global recognition and challenging inequality through the arts by providing a platform for performers, artists, writers and many more through the Liverpool based biennial festival, DaDaFest International. Ruth will be adding the title of MBE to her collection as a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travel Fellow, and Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside. Ruth also serves on the boards of Michigan based arts company, Dis-Art, is an advisory member for the Granada Foundation, and is part of Liverpool City Council’s Tourism and Culture select committee. Ruth is a born Scouser, and as a deaf person found that career choices were limited, but after her first child was born she was drawn to a world of dance and performing arts, training at the Liverpool Theatre School. She continued her training after the birth of her second child, moving to Australia where she trained at the School of Creative Arts, Sydney before becoming the Arts and Movement teacher for two years, teaching at the school before travelling across New Zealand and America for various work opportunities. In her 30’s she started to become involved with Deaf and Disability Arts, somewhere she felt welcome and flourished as a teacher and mentor to others. She started out as a volunteer before being invited to work at Full Circle Arts in Manchester. In 2001, she undertook the role of Chief Executive Officer at North West Disability Arts Forum, where she put the steps in motion to create a local month long festival showcasing a wide range of artists and performers called DaDaFest. The festivals were annual events and began to devote more time to showcasing and commissioning new arts making the festival an award winning celebration to  bring diverse and exciting new art forms to Liverpool, and growing it  into one that has received international acclaim. Commenting on the announcement, Ruth Gould said: “I am so honoured to be acknowledged with an MBE, for doing the work I value and feel immensely proud and passionate about. It has been a pleasure to develop links from our base in Liverpool and I thank all of those people who have been part of the disability & deaf arts story. I especially want to honour the many artists and activists who are no longer with us, to remember their work and the impact they had to change lives through the lived experience of disability. Without them I would not be receiving this award, and I thank them for enriching, encouraging and presenting their work and beauty.” Jane Cordell, Chair of the Board at DaDaFest, said: “Ruth Gould is a global phenomenon based in vibrant Liverpool and one of the UK arts scene’s most significant creatives. She is the indomitable force behind DaDaFest. Her work has helped gain national and international recognition of how quality deaf and disability arts can change perceptions and lives, and challenge social injustice. I know Ruth will view the honour bestowed on her as belonging to her and also to every disabled person as we celebrate our continuing and often isolating struggle for voice, recognition and equality. We are incredibly proud of Ruth and DaDaFest’s achievements which is honoured in the MBE.”