Carrie Brock


Name: Carrie Brock

Creative practice/s: Artistic Director of WA Deaf Arts.

Dancer/Teacher/Choreographer – in Classical, Contemporary & Spanish Dance plus in French & Australian Sign Languages (AUSLAN) and Auslan Signed Song

State: Western Australia

Do you identify as disabled and/or Deaf and/or with disability?

I tend not to identify as this, but I AM most certainly with disability. Depression is a terrible disability to “identify with” and is so misunderstood/misinterpreted, which is partly why I feel more comfortable working with others who are with a disability themselves, whether they identify with it or not.

Other identity/ies? Intersectionalities you may like to declare (not compulsory) eg, POC, queer etc

I find being artistic tends to section me! For example, I have always been a dancer, and dancers DO feel like there are 2 main groups of people in the world, as far as we are concerned: that is, “dancers” and “non-dancers/other people/even “normal people”...! However, where even amongst other performing artists, such as dancers, I still find there are some who are far more artistic in nature than others and this again presents me with a subset, that includes so many other people. As I danced less & less, I discovered that I was less a “dancer” and more an “artist” that identifies with other artists. That’s my identity, especially in this case: “am a artist who lives with a disability”. This disability may even have determined the type of person I needed to be to better function!

Why do you do what you do?

Strangely enough, I find there is nothing much else I really want to do a lot of the time. Of course, my background (nature AND nurture: having heard the pounding of a waltz or mazurka on a piano from in the womb as my mother dropped & picked up 2 older sisters to & from ballet class those entire 9 months to joining the ballet school at age 6 myself, then piano lessons, speech & drama, French & German, which led me to Auslan much later in life) moved me in this direction, yet I have always felt compelled (although resistant at 7-11 years of age - and sometimes in my late teens - to choreography, it still was a obsession & compulsion to be immersed in art forms.

What are you looking for?

I’d love more paid work, yes, more funding: of course! Yes: ALL of the ABOVE, especially more access to spaces again (my group having been usurped 3 too many times and left with nowhere secure... “No home ? “), and to be heard (I have a voice, although I prefer to use my body and other bodies and body and sign language to speak)

What’s still with you from the workshops? What do you remember?

For me, what has really stayed with me was the meeting of other like-minded people and discovering other artists that live close by that i can and would love to collaborate with in future. Plus a lot of the laughter and the comfort we all seemed to feel in each other’s presence. It was a special 3 days, including viewing kath’s pièce. Eye-opening for me to learn that there are awesome artists living with disability creating amazing, poignant, touching & ground-breaking work - right on my own doorstep too! That was especially inspiring for me!

What’s the legacy for you - creatively or with contacts?

The workshops were a great way of helping me to “definitively define”(!) My current & future pathways that i feel are leading me to a new era of empowerment, that is accompanied by building confidence in my abilities that have been acquired through many years of education & experiences, whilst never ceasing to learn something new each day that keeps inspiring me - these workshops will remind me of a gentle but definite turning point that i was at at the time: participating in the workshops really helped to solidify certain goals that i knew i had, but could not yet find the ways to describe them, let alone strive to achieve them! I feel that they gave me a very positive “turn”: towards these goals, that i realised throughout my time with all these wonderful people.

What makes a good workshop for you?

A “good workshop“ is fun, holds my attention, entertains me enough to want to give back and has great boundaries for mutual respect without too many other rules that could cut creativity short. It should be quite well planned. It should consider the number of participants, the best space possible to use considering the amount of people and how much movement is needed, plus considers the types of participants, their possible needs as well as how to keep them fed, watered & attentive all day!

The arts industry and you - how do you feel about where you are professionally? Where would you like to be?

I personally feel that the arts industry couldn’t give two hoots about 1. The artists and 2. The audiences.