Creativity has been key to exposing and resisting the violence of the welfare state – as a political strategy to show the scale of harm, hold the government to account, and to name and remember those who have died. This year, our Deaths by Welfare Project has been working with four artists to respond to our timeline charting 50 years of deaths linked to welfare reform and the sustained resistance by disabled people and families impacted by deaths. We are incredibly grateful to share some of their works below.

content warning: names of people killed by welfare state violence, illustrations of people in distress, mentions of racial profiling by civil servants.

Half Glass by nnull

The way that no recourse to public funds operates is through its ambiguity. The same policy could be perceived completely differently depending on who is perceiving it.

This ambiguity only further aggravates the intersectional struggle of those accessing welfare. Half Glass unpacks three snapshots of ambiguity around the words “no recourse to public funds” across different periods of time. It delves into archival documents and personal reflections, unveiling how the control of the image of welfare and immigration policy was crafted over time.

Half Glass I (DSA) – an audio piece accompanied by a greyscale animation of a glass with a page from a disabled student allowance application form inscribed on it. The glass is half full/empty of liquid. It is starkly lit with a shaky handheld camera filming a close up shot of the glass.
Half Glass II (Recourse to Public Funds) – an audio piece accompanied by a greyscale image of a glass with a letter from the JCWI asking for clarification on the definition of “recourse to public funds” on its surface. The glass is half full/empty of liquid. A camera slowly pans down the surface of the glass.
Half Glass III (Leaflet) – an audio piece accompanied by a greyscale image of a glass with a draft copy of a leaflet outlining the new immigration rules on its surface. The glass is half full/empty of liquid. The camera slowly zooms out.

I am nnull(he/him). I am a multidisciplinary artist and researcher based in London, UK. I work across several disciplines, operating across the cultural, research and human rights sectors… read more

Expand carousel of artworks here for full screen view and image descriptions.

I am Zita Holbourne (she/her). I am a black (dual heritage), disabled woman, a multi-disciplinary artist and a human rights / equality campaigner. I am a visual artist, curator, poet, writer, vocalist and author… read more

I am blkmoodyboi (they/them). I am a Non-binary Afro-Indigenous Caribbean self-taught illustrator living in London. I centre Black and Brown trans people in my art… read more