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PRESS RELEASE

‘Local Man Excises Unjust Demons!’


EXHIBITION & COMIC LAUNCH

As part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, Artlink launches Scott vs Demons, a comic


which takes a satirical look at the bureaucratic mistreatment of vulnerable people
with chronic ill health and disabilities. The comic takes as its starting point the
experience of Scott Davidson, a young man with autism, and goes on a flight of
fantasy where we get to experience the Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
assessment process for the ridiculous farce it is.  
 
In these difficult times we can become come desensitised, unable to take in
just what austerity measures mean to vulnerable disabled people. Artlink, as
an arts and disability organisation, have witnessed the distress caused by PIP
assessments and decided the best tools we have at our disposal to highlight
this are art and humour. To expose the quite frankly absurd assessment process
Artlink commissioned writer Alan Grant (Batman, 2000AD), artist Robin Smith
(2000AD), under the direction of Scott Davidson to explore the process and
hopefully make people start to talk about its impact. Scott vs Demons is the
second comic made by the team. In it they parody the PIP assessment question-
naire, use a ‘rat-zappa’ to remove the demons of red tape and Scott shifts from
victim of an assessment process that has little understanding of his disabilities
and its impact on his day to say life, to an action hero fighting social and political
injustice.

Artlink believes that in order to ensure a healthy community, vulnerable people


with chronic ill health and disabilities need to live in an understanding society that
respects and supports their human rights.

The comic will be launched on Friday the 25th of August at 10am with Alan Grant
and Scott Davidson present to sign copies.

On show will be the original artwork for the comic and an opportunity to meet with
some of the people behind the comic and talk with them about the ideas behind its
creation. The artwork is on show Friday 25th & Saturday 26th  August from 9.30am
until 5.00pm.
Notes for the Editor

1. For more information on the comic and the exhibition please get in touch with Alison Stirling from Artlink. 0131 229
3555 or alison@artlinkedinburgh.co.uk

2. Comics are available through Artlink, and are priced at £2.99 or can be downloaded from www.artlinkedinburgh.
bigcartel.com for £1.50. Comics will be on sale at various comic and book retailers as well as online.

3. A ‘rat zappa’ is a clever device taken directly from the imagination of writer Alan Grant. It emits high frequency
sounds which rids bureaucrats of unnecessary demons.

4. Alan Grant is a long time writer of Judge Dredd and 2000AD in the UK, and is well known in the USA for his work at
DC Comics, including Batman, Lobo and The Demon. In 1989 Grant worked with artist Robin Smith on the comic The
Bogie Man.

5. Robin Smith is a British artist best known for his work on Judge Dredd, the Bad City Blue mini-series for 2000AD and
The Bogie Man for Fat Man Press.

6. Artlink is an arts and disability organisation established in 1984. Artlink believes participation in the arts has an
important role to play in realising personal and social change. Our aim is to increase opportunities to take part in the
arts for those who experience disadvantage or disability in the East of Scotland. The individual is central to all our work;
they inform what we do and how we do it. For more information visit www.artlinkedinburgh.co.uk

Scott Versus Demons is part of a series of publications commissioned by Artlink. Scottish writers create fictions based
on the reality people with a disability face on a daily basis. For all our publications visit www.artlinkedinburgh.bigcartel.
com

7. Personal Independence Payment (abbreviated to PIP and usually pronounced as one word) is a welfare benefit in the
United Kingdom that is intended to help with the extra costs of living with a long-term health condition or a disability.

PIP was introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2012. In response to the austerity agenda it aimed to cut spending on
benefits by 20%; instead costs have risen. In response, new rules were introduced in 2017 which, many charities say,
has left vulnerable disabled people without support. The whole system needs urgent improvement if it is to accurately
assess the support that people need. Charities that represent mental health and learning disability groups claim
that people with these conditions are being negatively affected as current assessments do not recognise that these
conditions are as severe as other impairments.

8. “The Department for Work and Pensions has told its disability benefits assessors to discriminate against people with
mental health conditions compared to those with physical problems. New guidelines from the department to assessors
for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit appear to explicitly single out those with mental health conditions
who suffer identical impacts as those with physical conditions.”
Jon Stone - Political Correspondent, Independent, March 2017

9. The Social Security (Scotland) Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and
Equalities, Angela Constance MSP on 20 June 2017. The main purpose of the Bill is to pass control of a number of
social security benefits from the UK Government to the Scottish Government. The Social Security Committee is the
lead Committee scrutinising the legislation and will begin taking evidence on the Bill at Stage 1 in September 2017. The
Committee has issued a call for views on the Bill; the deadline for submissions is Wednesday 23rd August 2017.

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