Disability campaigner Dom Smith visits campus

By Spencer Douglas

Creator of Soundsphere, Dom Smith, visited the Exton Park campus in May, to speak out about his rise through the journalism world whilst living with cerebral palsy.

Smith, who created the global magazine back in 2008, has had lots of key moments to look back at over his extensive career, from interviewing his heroes, being part of a band, and much more.

Smith’s first steps into journalism were whilst studying a theatre and film degree, deciding in his final year that the pathway wasn’t the one for him: “I loved the degree, but I wanted to do more in my career,” he comments. During his placement year, although not relevant to his course, Smith did a journalism placement as that was what he wanted to pursue.

Throughout his life, Smith has lived with cerebral palsy, ‘a group of lifelong conditions that affects movement and co-ordination, that is caused by a problem with the brain’ (NHS).

Starting out in the world of journalism was a challenge for Smith, admitting that people didn’t believe it was possible for him. He revealed how he was “in a chair, tired, and in pain”, adding, “people would think I was weird, they would look at me, like, what was I doing there?” 

In the early days, Smith had to learn how to pace himself, commenting, “I was doing a lot myself,” and adding, “I had to delegate, because I was pushing myself too much.” Now a lot better with his self-care, Smith has been able to return to doing a lot for himself.

On top of this, as the years went by, and as more people began to talk about mental health, Smith admitted that the challenges got easier, saying that “people were more open and there was more accessibility.” 

Now a qualified counsellor, and founder of ‘Wobbling About and Rocking Out’ (WARO), a platform promoting disability and mental health awareness, Smith works alongside many other journalists with disabilities. He expressed how “we’re all in it together and need to support each other.” As well as promoting awareness, he also wishes to make more venues accessible for everyone, through WARO.

Speaking about the ever-changing profession of journalism, Smith praised how far it has come, saying “it’s great, everyone can create content now, which is great for accessibility.” 

However, Smith believes this has also created a problem. “The only issue is that because it is so accessible to everyone, there is a quality gap in some places.” He also adds that “it’s very important that when you get out there, to up the quality and don’t get into any copyright issues.”

Working in the industry for 15 years, across Soundsphere and the newly created wrestling platform Wrestlesphere, as well as writing for platforms such as Metro, Rock Sound Magazine, NME, among many more, Smith has a lot of memorable moments to look back on.

When talking about the bands he has been able to interview, Smith said “I never thought that was possible for me, I was actively told it wasn’t possible for me.” 

He also added “I’ve got friends that I grew up listening to and admiring, who I never thought I’d end up having a conversation with,” such as Billy Corgan, evidencing the incredible work he has achieved, and the challenges he has had to overcome.

Picture Credit – Dom Smith

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