Seen but Seldom Heard: Using performance poetry to raise awareness about disability



Research Stream

    • Carrie Hodges (Bournemouth University)
    • Wendy Cutts (Bournemouth University)

Funding / Sponsorship:

Work funded by Bournemouth University Fusion Fund and the Talbot Village Trust.


In our presentation we combine discussion with film to showcase a recent project led by Bournemouth University in collaboration with Victoria Education Centre, Poole entitled ‘Seen but Seldom Heard’ which seeks to challenge dominant perceptions of disability through poetry and performance.


‘Seen but Seldom Heard’ is a participatory research project which uses creative methods – performance poetry (sometimes also referred to as ‘Spoken Word’) and film – to explore and communicate young people’s lived experiences of disability.


Using examples of poetry written by the young people, together with our own observations and reflections as members of the project team, we will discuss what ‘performance’, ‘voice’ and ‘spoken word’ might mean within the context of this project and the influence performative work can have upon public opinion and raising awareness about disability issues.


We identify ways in which performance poetry can reach audiences on both an emotional and a critical level thus providing a useful means to educate the public about disability. We also consider the impact such work can have upon the young people involved in terms of communication and empowerment, future aspirations and learning new skills, and art therapy.

Level of Session


Age Group



Secondary school
Special school

Download Session Handout