Writing Myself

  • Series
Photograph of an abstract expressionist painting on a large circular canvas, titled 'Binaries'. It is predominantly monochrome. The background layer is completely covered with grey and green-grey hues. Textural qualities have been captured in the acrylic paint including impressions made by deep brush strokes and gathered, layered paint. Black expressionist marks, created with a palette knife, scatter across the surface and begin to accumulate towards one side of the canvas. Some marks include waves of banded black and grey. The black marks are reminiscent of a murder of crows, with their onyx wings stretching and taking flight. The artwork rests on a light grey background with a small shadow on the lower half which reveals its three dimensional physicality.
Binaries. Acrylic on canvas, 40cm. February 2022. © Kimberley Burrows for Wellcome Collection.

I’m Caroline. My identity as a disabled person is shifting all the time and understanding myself is an ongoing process. Sometimes I’ll meet your expectations; sometimes I’ll defy them.

Could writing a column help? Could it let others into my embodied experience and reveal something of what it’s like to be disabled?

This series – publishing throughout 2022 – will document my life as I investigate how writing helps me and others make sense of being disabled. It’ll be an exploration of who I am and an invitation to experience my life, maybe even challenging you to think differently about disability and mental ill health.

About the contributors

Black and white, head and shoulders portrait of Caroline Butterwick.

Caroline Butterwick


Caroline Butterwick is a writer, researcher and freelance journalist based in North Staffordshire. She is currently working on a young adult novel. Her freelance journalism has featured in a range of publications, including the Guardian, Mslexia, In the Moment, Happiful, Planet Mindful and Adventure Travel. She is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing that explores the power of memoir as a counternarrative to dominant models of disability, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council/Midlands4Cities.

Black and white headshot of Kimberley Burrows.

Kimberley Burrows


Kimberley is a blind abstract expressionist artist from Salford, Greater Manchester. An intuitive approach to her practice explores the complex themes of blindness, mental health, and art as therapy through performative mark-making. Kimberley is keen to understand the relationship between artist and medium, beyond the scope of vision, and the various health benefits that art can cultivate. Kimberley is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion, which are both at the forefront of her social media presence. Kimberley, who will undertake a Master's degree in painting at the Royal College of Art, London later this year, has been featured in BBC Look North, Manchester Evening News, ITV News, the Daily Mail, and Marie Claire, among others.