The Alan Martin Award is made annually to a person who uses AAC and has made a significant contribution to the Creative Arts.
The Background to the Award
This award, first presented in 2013, is in memory of a remarkable man who was amongst other things a dancer, a musician and comedian who worked for the inclusion for all people within the arts whatever their disability. For 16 years Alan Martin attended and presented at CM conference. If you do a search of his name on the CM website he can be seen to have worked with a wide range of leading figures in the world of AAC. Sadly he passed away in December 2012. The notes below are taken from a tribute to him given by Joan Ruddel, who had known him for many years, at the first presentation of the award in September 2013.
"Alan Martin was passionate about equality and inclusion for all people with disabilities, in all aspects of life, especially participation in the arts. He had himself struggled to be included and taken seriously in the creative dance world. His message to all people with disabilities was to "go for it" and include yourself in any activities that you feel interested in, or wish to try. Not to seek out 'special' events, just for disabled people, but to turn up at any event you fancy and insist on being included. He recognised the opportunities offered by access to technological solutions, including AAC, which allowed people with significant impairments, to be enabled to access many creative forms of self expression. His own included Light Graffitti, writing music with the computer, and TV comedy scripts. He also let loose his creativity and sense of humour, in his keen participation in the many fancy dress 'showing off' opportunities afforded to him by CM."
Alan often told the young people who he worked with, "Never let anybody tell you that you can't do something because of a disability."
The award is presented at our Annual AAC Conference in September and we request nominations a few months before.
So far the award has been presented to:
Barry Smith received the award in 2013 for his poetry. The breadth of his work is amazing and gives a real insight into the life and experiences of AAC users and have physical as well as communication challenges in their life. There is an interview with Barry in the CM Journal Vol 29 (2) 2015.
Kate Caryer received the award in 2014. Kate is a writer, actor, and ex-Channel 4 continuity person. She is one of the Community Interest Company directors of The Unspoken Project CIC. The Unspoken Project CIC brings Unspoken voices to the stage. She has had funding from the Big Lottery Fund in the recent past for her 'Unspoken Project'. We plan that a full performance of her work will be staged at conference in 2016.
Samuel Knapp received the award in 2015. Samuel is a photographer and does photo booths, landscapes and street photography. He hopes to do wedding photography and model work in the future. Take a look at some of his fantastic work here, http://samknapp.photography/
Sarah Ezekiel, an eye gaze artist, won the award in 2017. Examples of her work can be seen at her online shop.
Barry Smith has written a poem about receiving the award
What winning the Allan Martin award was to me
When I got the Allan Martin award I felt so happy but so sad to because he passed on but if you met him he give all communication a skill what is hope and he will tell us don’t stopped trying I know we might be upset he isn’t here.
Help we might need but try new things for hour self.
Alan loved to dance but it wasn’t wheelchair dancing but he stops at that.
Talking many of us fund hard but we all find a way which make us keeping on.
Wheelchair we might be in but it doesn’t stop us to.
I am a happy person and I try to past this onto everyone who I meet.
Nobody should stop you for trying what keep me going in life and Allan Marin was liked this too.
Nice to overcome things in my life.
Great feel to.
Talking us all does but sometime not with our own voice but this don’t maters to us.
Hear I might ask for and a good friend to someone liked you too what is so nice to.
Eating is fun to do and we can have a good chat too.
Alan Martin where a great guy to know and he where a great.
Lot of fun we can have together and it feel so good too.
Love I can show you and how much I care too.
A person we are but we night need more too speak to you what feel so good too.
No one should say I can’t do this without trying.
My skills I can use it is just liked taking a pill and it make me so happy to.
A good person I try to be and past on my good skill what we have to.
Run might be hard to do for many of us.
Teacher people how to understand we speak and it feels so good too.
I am a person who might need a hand and I need a good friend liked you.
Alan Martin past on all his skills to everyone and he where a great role model to all of us.
Win this award might a lot to me and you can try to get it to.
Award to try to do some kind of art and over your speaking.
Rain is wet but we can over it to and feel so good to.
Don’t think I can’t do this
To get this might a lot to me but I was a bit sad to.
Over time when I feel so down I remember I can art what is so good.
My feeling about this I am so him.
Everyone should be so happy and try they best.