Welcome Inn is an installation based within Blackpool’s Art B&B. It is a full-size hotel room that audience members can move around and interact with, and even sleep within. Unlike a standard hotel room, items have been manipulated and abstracted to give a taste of what it is like to face access barriers – there is an oversized bed, tight navigation and much more.
This piece is inspired by the artist’s experience of being made ‘technically’ homeless, when two councils argued over the costs of his care and access needs, and failed to provide him with accessible housing as he transitioned from student accommodation. This forced him to take up emergency accommodation in an inaccessible hotel room with feelings of isolation and helplessness.
“As a person who normally avoids hotels because of my high access needs, I was forced to experience what it is like to face access barriers in a place many people go to relax and enjoy. This in turn got me interested in what other disabled people’s experiences of hotels might be, something I want to recount in this piece through this installation.”
The overall aim of the piece is to address some of the universal issues faced by disabled people in terms of everyday discrimination (like inaccessible hotel rooms) and structural discrimination (resulting from the lack of accessible housing and poorly-funded councils) in order to tell a wider story of what it is to be a disabled person with high support needs. By giving audiences a physical taste of facing access barriers, the work uses conceptual art to get them to think differently about access and wider problems facing disabled people.
Co-commissioned with Blackpool’s Art B&B, a boutique hotel for art lovers in the heart of Blackpool. The former Ocean Hotel at 180 The Promenade, Blackpool, has been redeveloped as part of a new Community Interest Company designed as a legacy project from Left Coast, an Arts Council England Creative People and Places project, which developed a programme of arts, culture and creative activity happening across Blackpool and Wyre on the Fylde Coast.
To visit the hotel or to book a stay, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art B&B was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on 15 November 2019. Christopher Samuel’s room is discussed from about 16 minutes.