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Jenny Sealey wins Liberty Human Rights Arts Award

Last night Jenny Sealey was awarded the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award at Liberty’s annual awards ceremony.

Jenny and Judith attended the awards ceremony held at the Southbank Centre which was compèred by Sandi Toksvig. Benedict Cumberbatch, Rowan Atkinson with Frances Butler presented awards and there was a surprise appearance by Emeli Sande who performed at the end of the evening. Liberty’s Director Shami Chakrabarti welcomed guests and presided over the ceremony.

Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre) presented Jenny with this prestigious award which recognises Jenny’s fantastic work with Deaf and disabled artists throughout her career.

Jenny’s acceptance speech focused on persevering with the fight for disabled people’s rights, especially when governmental cuts could have a significant negative effect on disabled people’s participation in life and the arts. When talking about the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony (which referenced the Declaration of Human Rights) Jenny said the award was also for Bradley Hemmings who co-directed the ceremony with her.

Jenny Sealey said,
‘This is such an important award to win. It is in recognition that the work of Graeae and indeed the Paralympic Opening Ceremony is rooted in Human Rights. It recognises that art empowers, transforms perceptions and challenges prejudice. It is vital that our work carries on with even more drive and determination as there is every danger with the cuts to benefits and the arts that Deaf and disabled people once again will be relegated to the sidelines and forgotten.’

Rena Sodhi, Judith Kilvington, Jenny Sealey, Danny Braverman

From left to right: Rena Sodhi, Judith Kilvington, Jenny Sealey, Danny Braverman at the Liberty Awards

Other winners included: Martha Payne for Young Person of the Year; Hillsborough Family Support Group, Hillsborough Justice Campaign and Hope for Hillsborough for the ‘Long Walk’ Award; Ben Cooper for the Lawyer of the Year;  Aaron Sonson, Satwant Singh Kenth, Gregory PaczKowski for the ‘Close to Home’ Award; Lord Pannick for Independent Voice of the Year and Campaigners of the Year going to 38 Degrees and Open Rights Group. Two lifetime achievement awards were presented on the evening. Sir Nicholas Bratza was recognised for his dedicated service as the UK judge of the European Court of Human Rights and Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton was celebrated for her long-standing commitment and dedication to defending and upholding the rights of disabled people in the UK.

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