The Little Things Add Up

‘The Little Things Add Up’ is a project about how everyday small comments, made to disabled people by non-disabled people, can add up to a large and (de)pressing weight. Using Morse code as a drawing method, each comment is turned into a small spiral. Spirals are then collated at intervals to show how many little things build up into larger feelings of unwelcomness in a world centred on non-disabled people’s needs and rights.

Much of the discourse around chronic illness and disability in clinical, community, and social spaces is produced by, and seemingly for, non-disabled people. I’m a spoonie living with chronic pain, and chronic mental and physical illnesses. So I want to pay attention to disabled, neurodivergent/atypical, and chronically ill voices. That includes my own, and I am making this work primarily for myself and my disability/spoonie communities (particularly those in online spaces.) None of us are alone, and many of these small pieces of everyday ableism are recognisable to all of us. Non-disabled people might also learn from the little things that add up here, and I consider that a secondary goal of this project. However, I am not going to account for the feelings of non-disabled people in my making of this work. If you are non-disabled and this offends you; I ask you to think about why, and to consider whose voice is more important when making work about disability and chronic illness.

Morse code can be translated into sound, and I will sometimes translate the drawings into audio. I hope to also investigate making tactile images using puff-paint or laser cutting. Any such developments will be posted on this page, along with a record of each spiral.

Below are all the spirals so far in this project, interspersed with collages. Click on a spiral to see a full translation and image description.