Wobbling About and Rocking Out strives to inspire and motivate the disabled and mental health community to feel more confident in their everyday lives via inspiring stories and accessibility training for businesses and venues.
We already know so many people with disabilities that are doing amazing things and totally rocking it!
So, we thought:
Why not spread the word and equip even more incredible individuals with the confidence and helpful industry knowledge to fulfil their dreams, and then some?
Through articles, digital content and specially-crafted clothing, WARO actively promotes creative talent, whether you are a musician, artist, designer, developer or entrepreneur.
In the coming months, we’ll be speaking with some truly extraordinary people and sharing their remarkable stories with you.
But, to continue building this awesome family, we want to hear from you too.
Everyone is welcome to get in touch with us on Twitter and #RockDisability.
Here, we speak to artists and innovators from around the globe about their success despite dealing with mental health issues and/or disabilities.
Linh Do’s story is such an inspiring story of how constant effort makes her creative dream come true. In this interview, let’s look back on her journey and explore the production process of her highlighted projects.
Source: Linh Do
Q: What motivated you to choose your current career path?
It’s a long story. I’ve shared this story a few times about how I loved K-pop. Childish as it may sound, I just found that market to be genuinely inspiring. They have done tons of creative things that went viral globally. Nowadays, K-pop is such a big phenomenon in the creative scene, not only because of the music but also because of things like promotional campaigns coming along with it. Even the technology they use there, such as AI and CGI, is quite spectacular.
Growing up listening to K-pop and knowing how many things they can do within just one music video or promotional campaign, from social media and websites to other interactive forms like reality shows and such, I feel so inspired. Thus, I was motivated to immerse myself in the creative industry, which has endless possibilities with those mediums and how people convey messages. That brought me further to learn about what they have done, like their overall communication and marketing strategies, focusing on visual communication because that might be the fastest way to reach the audience. That’s how everything started.
Source: Linh Do
Q: How did you overcome all the difficulties to land a job in the Creative industry in the US?
On the way to finding out the strategy of how I could overcome difficulties, I believe it’s essential to focus on self-reflection and prioritization. To me, 70% is about mentality, and 30% is about determination and execution.
Actually, it was not until recently that I kind of settled on that “mind battle” of like: “Do I want a glamorous life or an easy life per se?” “Should I return to Vietnam, enter the industry or have a stable job?” I feel like, ultimately, for a person like me who has experienced a lot, written many reflections on all that stuff, learned to understand myself and come up with my own prioritization, it’s okay to have a good or easy life if I end up with a STEM-based job, which is quite trendy in the US, or even doing something I like in Vietnam or other Asian markets, but that won’t keep me moving or excited to wake up every day.
There were three things that motivated me to move forward. Firstly, I found the creative world instilled a sense of curiosity. It has been a constant journeyof mereaching out to that world, talking about it, internalizing it, and reflecting on it. So, I feel like it’s a place for me.
Source: Linh Do
Secondly, I had a good understanding of myself and a determination to move forward. I know that I have several skills that can contribute to the creative world. I’m good at writing, which can be used to make strategies or concept directions in that world. I know that many people in this field come from an artistic background, who were born with such talents and grew up with art as a hobby, which I might not have, but I can contribute to the creative world with my project management, organizational and stakeholder-coordinating skills.
So, by understanding myself and going back to why I started this journey – not only because of my passion but also because the world might need my talent, I know that I’m on the right track. It might indeed be easier for me to return to Vietnam or any Asian country to work because I’m more familiar with the culture. Still, given that I have some work experience here in the US, two years of studying in India for high school and many other opportunities to travel around the world, I feel like staying in the US is the best option for me. Emerging in a diverse environment would help me learn about organizational structure and work methodology, adding to my creative expertise.
Finally, it’s all about the execution, which usually leads back to what successful people have done, like creating a habit or discipline to manage their lives. I’ve always been a determined person who puts 100% to whatever I do because I don’t want to regret not trying my best. On the one hand, I may feel shameless if I have to reach out to people to ask for help or learn something from them. On the other hand, when I’m desperate enough, I will find all possible ways to do what I want.
Source: Linh Do
Q: Can you share more about the production of some highlighted projects you have participated in? What do you find the most meaningful about those projects, and how do you feel about being a part of those projects?
The best part of all my projects is that I can contribute my creative vision and convey my original messages to the audience through those productions. I have played many roles in those projects, such as Creative Project Manager, Creative Director, etc. Looking back, I’m still very proud of myself when I was still doing “underpaid” or “free” projects. My first project was a music video production in 2020 for a young Vietnamese artist – Hannah Hoang, who used to study in the UK and has known me since high school. She started her career as a YouTuber and content creator with many song covers, including one with more than 12 million views – a cover of a Korean hit titled “Way Back Home.”
One day, when she wanted to debut as a singer and knew that I had been working in the creative field with some experience, she asked me to help her make a music video. I had dreamed about doing something similar in 5 or 10 years when I would have more experience, but at that time, upon realizing that my dream job literally came from someone just around me, I knew that Hannah’s request was like a “once in a lifetime” chance for me, so I grabbed the opportunity. I did some research and came along to tell Hannah that we would work together and figure out how to do the branding, strategies, sponsorship, etc. She didn’t have money to pay me then, and I didn’t let her do so because I was just as new as her in making music videos. So, as no monetary value was involved, I had the creative freedom to do and say what I wanted in that production. That’s how everything started, but the highlight was really about the demo song I got from Hannah back then.
Hannah Hoang – ĂN (TAKE YOUR TIME) ft. KrisD (Official Music Video)
The song is a story of a person who is recovering from a break-up. With not too much of love experience, I found another meaning of the song: encouraging people to care for themselves during tough times through small things like eating, going home, and chilling. That’s why the English name of the song is “Take Your Time,” but the Vietnamese name is “Ăn,” meaning “Eat,” which is so symbolic. It’s like a reminder for people to keep up with that habit and move on. Listening to the song during COVID-19 time, when I also had a lot of things going on in my life, I immediately knew that it could heal many people. So, I came up with a creative vision of talking about mentality and symbolizing it by a “splitted personality” of one being really sad, seemingly unable to overcome difficulties, and the other being responsible and consistently trying to protect oneself. That’s how we made the storyline with two opposite characters you can see in the music video.
I also participated in the project as an art director and created a lot of symbolic scenes in the music video, such as flowers on the dishes, which symbolize overcoming sadness. Hannah’s name is a flower’s name as well. We did a lot of research to develop those ideas to convey positive and meaningful messages in every scene, so I was very happy.
Source: Facebook Hannah Hoang Official
Recently, there was another production that made me incredibly proud. It’s my Winning Award of ASIANetwork’s Student Video Challenge 2022, hosted for the first time by ASIANetwork, a prestigious organization in the US that focuses on promoting Asian studies and other cultural knowledge. I’m the Director-Producer of this project, in which I own everything from the creative concept and scripting to the production and post-production. This project is such a big step for me, starting from only helping to deliver creative assets at the beginning of my journey to having more experience and being able to own my assets. With this award, I feel more confident that I actually have a talent in this creative world.
In this challenge, we were trying to respond to a prompt: “Drawing on the challenges and successes of your countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare a video presentation to the World Health Organization (WHO) with a recommendation for future pandemic preparedness.” I remember it was such a busy time for me because I had to prepare for my internship and grad school applications. Still, my advisor reached out and encouraged me to participate, and eventually, he also became the advisor for my team in this challenge. At that time, I took it “lightly” because I thought the challenge was just an extra thing to do with no pressure, like a hobby, so indeed, when writing a proposal for the challenge, I felt like my creative vision expanded, and things came easy.
The Flashback of Covid-19: A Story from a Vietnamese Mother to Her COVID Baby
I planned to spend about an hour a week gathering my teammates, making a proposal, etc. I worked internationally with my team because people were in different time zones – one in the US and two others from Vietnam whom I used to work with. We did some research independently, and it took us only 30 minutes to brainstorm ideas for the challenge together. From a producer standpoint, if you can create a comfortable environment for people to thrive, the working process will be 100% efficient. That’s what I’ve done for the team so they can raise their voice and contribute effectively to the challenge.
At first, we wanted to interview people because that was the easiest way to make the video. But when we did some research, something came up from all the statistics and materials. We found a documentary from the Vietnamese National Television channel (VTV), which told a story of mothers giving birth to their children during Covid time. I thought maybe we could choose a more particular perspective to tell our story just like that. Then we ended up with a storyline of a mother giving birth during COVID-19 and giving suggestions on how we could brace ourselves for the future by sending wishes to her child. That’s perfect! We have a concept, a storyline, and a great team in which everyone works well together. I couldn’t be more grateful, and we totally deserve the prize. Although the video was created for a competition, which is quite academic, my hope for the future is to create productions that resonate with the mass audience.
Interview with Winners of the 2022 Student Video Challenge: Luther College & Vietnamese Team Members
Q: Do you have any advice for young creatives struggling to follow their dreams? What should they do to be courageous, determined, and resilient enough to “survive” and “thrive” in the Creative industry?
Everyone has their own priority in life. I agree that a person must do manual jobs to make ends meet at some point, but they can still take a small step to follow their dream every day. For example, they can develop the habit of watching music videos (just like me) and sharing their appreciation or criticism on Facebook. That could be a way to nurture creativity.
I used to be in a place where I didn’t know which would be the right direction for me. It seemed like it took me forever to get to my dream destination. However, I started the journey as a digital marketing intern, then switched to a media production intern, and later worked on music videos and eventually earned an award. Currently, I work on web production and brand management. So, you can see that it took all those small steps to get me to where I am now. My mentor told me that if I didn’t come from an artistic background or wasn’t surrounded by a creative environment that could push me to go fast, I could go the “detour” way – going round and round but still making progress. Today, you may learn one thing, but one day, you will realize you have learned so many things along the way.
I usually don’t advise anything because I’m not in someone else’s shoes, but what I would like to share from my experience is to return to the “mind battle” of prioritization. Use your resources to move forward on this track. Ask people around. And at the same time, protect yourself, love yourself, and motivate yourself by celebrating even just a small achievement. And reflect more often.
Hull has an explosive, diverse, and fantastic creative community from the New Adelphi Club to the wondrous exhibits of Humber Street Gallery. That same community can sometimes feel elusive to outsiders.
We asked some of our favourite artists in the area what it’s like in Hull’s ether of neurodivergent creativity. Neurodivergence is the term for conditions that completely change the way we think and our perspectives, like autism or ADHD.
With its location, Hull has always been a town with as many cultures as it has buildings, and its art communities are no different. Whether your experiences are within immigration, queerness, disability, race, or gender, there is something that represents you on this side of the bridge. The Humber Bridge itself is a testament to the mindset of Hull – a towering colossus built to bridge two cultures across a vast and dangerous river, the first bridge of its kind in a city all its own.
Trouser Dress (They/It) Credit: Kytt Baxter
We asked Hull musician Trouser Dress (Carden, 18, they/it), what it’s like being neurodivergent in the Hull creative scene. By the way, if you haven’t listened to Trouser Dress yet, this is your sign to go find its amazing music on your listening platform. ‘Devil Town’ is a powerful conversation between the mind and the body bound into the chamber of a ukulele.
Carden told us that it first got into the music scene through its college, but “found the music work and staff at Warren Records so much easier to work with”. The balance between a producer and artist is intrinsic, and finding someone you can work with is vital, Carden told us that it ‘felt listened to’ and that it was allowed to work at its “own pace”. The Warren’s record label; Warren Records, is a free label for young people to develop and even produce their own music and perform at events, free of charge.
Carden also told us that its neurodivergence is integral to its art and that it struggles with the ‘social aspects of being a musician’. Support is vital for neurodivergent artists and from listening to its work, Carden’s found it. Carden explained that it hopes “to see more people being loudly disabled and neurodivergent and unapologetic about it”.
Carden expressed that it felt services like Warren Records ‘are not well known enough’ and that many young Hull artists could benefit from working with them. Carden wants you to know that “art is a message to everyone who feels stuck in life because of who they are”. It wants to “show people that it is ‘more than capable and that anyone can be involved in Hull’s music scene if they know where to go”.
We also spoke to Scott Langthorp (44, He/Him), Music Services & Label Manager for Warren Records. Scott told us that what he loves the most about Hull’s creative scene is that “it really feels like a family”. While he isn’t neurodivergent himself, Scott works closely with neurodivergent artists like Trouser Dress and Bizarre Fae to record and perform their music.
When we asked what Scott had learned from working with neurodivergent artists that he felt other producers could learn from, he told us that the key was to “be prepared to go completely off the rails and the most creative outcomes will come naturally”. Scott also said that to work with neurodivergent artists, you have to be ready for when things don’t go to plan as what you’ve “planned to do might change as soon as the session starts”.
It sounds like working with neurodivergent artists can be a wild ride, but if the talents of Trouser Dress and Bizarre Fae are anything to go by, I’d definitely say it’s worth it. If you want to see Scott perform as Endoflevelbaddie then look no further than the next Warren Records event and, if you’re lucky, you might get to see Trouser Dress and Bizarrefae perform too.
Much like with Trouser Dress, they attributed their early motivations to working with The Warren Youth Project. Bizarre mentioned that they’d actually been reluctant to make music initially but were really encouraged by Warren staff to go for it, thankfully!
Diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, Bizarre mentioned a feeling of disassociation from their peers even before their diagnosis and that their music was shaped by this perspective and their passion for social justice issues like feminism. Bizarre told us that they’d tried to “write about matters of the heart and all that relatable jazz” but that it had never felt like their message for their art.
Bizarre spoke of a deep desire to see neurodiversity recognised for what it is – a difference, rather than a lack. They told us that they “want to see a world in which neurodiversity isn’t looked down on, but is simply that, diversity”. They were passionate about the value of art as therapy, but felt that often neurodivergent artists are limited to that scope, rather than recognised for their skill. Bizarre told us that “too often the creativity of neurodiverse folk is just a footnote in the success of their neurotypical peers during collaboration”.
If you haven’t devoured Bizarrefae’s ‘Dwarfed’ yet, the song is a burning pyre of feminine rage that taps into the treatment of women throughout history and throughout the reign of Walt Disney Studios’ princess-driven empire,
We talked to Hull DJ, MC, and rapper Noble (He/Him), about his experiences with neurodivergence and the arts community. Noble told us that he felt he was looked at differently as an artist because of his neurodivergence and that he looks out of place.
Noble wants to see “more people coming together to have their say” in Hull’s art community, and mentioned that he gets a sense of that happening at the Community Conversation events held once a month in Hull by Mencap’s Community Connectors.
When we asked Noble what he wants his art to say, he told us that he wants to use his art to spread positivity, and I have to say, having listened to his original works, that he certainly does that and then some.
Tales & Scales
Events like Tales & Scales ‘Rainbow Brick Road’ put a lot of the footwork into. bringing new people into the scene, reviving the community with fresh blood. Rainbow Brick Road was a night of fun, laughter, and honesty that was as refreshing as it was entertaining. If you want to see the next big event, go follow Tales & Scales on Facebook.
Tales & Scales Productions is a production company run and founded by a young, neurodivergent, and disabled writer; Emily Oetegenn (26, She/Her). Emily is a vibrant young woman with an ethereal kind of written art. Hearing her work can feel like strolling through a misted faerie glade. If you ever get the chance to see Emily perform, as she does fairly often in Hull, I’d absolutely suggest not missing the opportunity.
My own experience
As an artist in Hull’s creative scene myself, I’ve often found it to be as elusive as it is diverse, sometimes feeling like a sort of members-only club that I was too under-skilled to be a part of.
Communities are, typically, built on socialisation and communication. Those two skills, admittedly, felt out of reach of a young autistic writer like myself, more content in the pages of books than in the company of others. But I can’t overstate the value of companionship and the ability to seek out criticism and advice from members of your community.
I’ve also, on occasion, felt like my work didn’t fit the picture of disability and neurodivergence that is so often presented in art. Where I’ve always explored the darker sides of life with my work, drawing the shadows and depths of life into focus, the focus of others’ work was often on the joys of that experience.
I know that it gave me pause on more than one occasion when putting my work forward. For my dark-sided friends, I have to say – you have a community out there, but don’t shy from those who write or draw or perform more light-hearted pieces; work with them, learn from each other, and grow.
I’ve found beauty in neurodivergent art, a rawness that comes from that no-holds-barred perspective on life that can be as entrancing as it is brutal. I hope you find something that sets you on fire.
Don’t give up. Your community is out there, and if it’s half as powerful as the one in Hull, you’re in for a real treat.
Omer Hagomer is an aspiring (and inspiring) sports journalist and wheelchair basketball player in Cardiff. Tom Speller of Tom Talks Rubbish sits down with Omer to discuss moving from Sudan to the UK, the challenges of growing up with Spina Bifida and so much more, including the future of Wobbling About and Rocking Out’s Podcast.
Joseph Rudd (Erick Rowan / Erick Redbeard) sat down with Dom Smith of Wrestlesphere to discuss the loss he felt at the death of Brodie Lee, and what it means for him to be subverting the cliches and expectations around being a “big man” in wrestling and the acting world by sharing his emotions more.
Flex Health Practice Manager, Mike Webb opens the doors to the incredible work that they are doing for people all over East Yorkshire and beyond.
One physiotherapy clinic in Yorkshire is soon to be going national. Flex Health, based in Hull, specialises in neurophysio and has developed an app to support its patients from home.
They have different types of patients, including those with MS, injuries relating to sports or vehicle accidents that have left them unable to walk.
Some people believe that Flex Health is better than a gym, mostly because of the specialist equipment that is available to the patients in clinic, including hoists and weighted machines. They say this is a big reason why so many patients use the clinic from outside Hull.
Built from the ground up by founders and directors Alex [Chester] and Matt [Booth], the team now consists of 13 staff, with all kinds of different physio and sport therapy qualifications, with a clinic of around 350 patients.
Physiotherapy is seen as an ever-developing exercise for nutrition and physical excellence, with staff that has a young mindset and is always keen to move on and try out the next best thing for the clients and for the company. The training and support available to the staff, some of whom continue to train while working, is a key part of the growth.
One of the main benefits of Flex Health is the emotional connection built between clinicians and patients, and the difference that makes to their overall progress. Mike Webb, Practice Manager and Head of Operations and Development, says that seeing the progression of patients, particularly children, is a major benefit. “Having that extra support, that accountability is a massive help. The staff…these guys they make a massive difference to the younger patients and to those patients who were told they would never walk again, to see videos of them walking or doing their sport after we helped them. The staff really give that time and support to each individual.”
The app has been developed over the last few years, firstly in the wake of lockdown, to allow patients who couldn’t get to the clinic to continue with their development. “We wanted to find a way to expand the brand,” Mike said. “When people think physio, we want them to think Flex…it’s as close as you can get to getting an individual session in the clinic, without having the face-to-face element.” It allows patients to continue with their progress and have weekly check-ins with their physio, view their notes, and ensure they are committed to their mental and physical progress. This also means the physios are able to provide clear goals and checkpoints for each patient.
It has been described as ‘a constant back and forth of communication’ with a high level of professionalism that has gone into its development. “The app is incredible and will go live really soon. We already have a lot of large businesses wanting to get the app in their companies,” said Mike. It seems the biggest selling point of the app is the hybrid format, as you still have that connection with the physios that some automated apps lose. “We’re hoping to go live on our socials with it soon, so keep an eye out. We’ve already had lots of messages from people in other countries wanting to work with us after seeing our social media posts.”
The biggest benefit Flex Health provides is the physical and mental progress from being that specific and committed to your goals. They have a strong sense of community and an ethos that has been born from that.
Flex Health’s ongoing growth and development will only get better with more people getting involved from across the world.
Interview: Dom Smith | Words: Sallie Phillips
Listen to the full interview here:
Flex is the leading provider of adult and pediatric Musculoskeletal (MSK), Neurological, and Paediatric Physiotherapy in Hull and East Yorkshire where they boast a state-of-the-art clinic and a team with over 80 years of combined treatment experience.
Flex treats a range of conditions and injuries to help get you back on your feet, and has dedicated teams assigned to treat your problem.
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