Dr Paul DARKE: Digital Disability Founder, Artist and Campaigner
Councillor Claire DARKE: Politician, Artist project lead

Wolverhampton Mayor and Consort 2019/21

Thanks to the University of Wolverhampton and their Disability History Month events. We present a talk with Dr Paul Darke, British academic, artist, filmmaker, podcaster and disability rights activist  and culture critic: 

Why Bother? The Art of Disability: Practice Does Not Make the Perfect

Councillor Claire Darke will become the 161st Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton at tomorrow night's (15 May) full council meeting.

Councillor Darke, who has represented the city's Park ward for 11 years, will make recognising the contribution of women and prevention of suicide and self harm the themes of her year in office.

On Wednesday, her fellow councillors will be asked to vote on a motion which will make her Mayor and she will then take the oath of office.

Councillor Darke has been deputy mayor for the past 12 months. She will replace Councillor Phil Page at the city’s first citizen.

Councillor Darke’s consort for 2019/2020 will be her husband, Dr Paul Darke.

During her time on the council, Councillor Darke has been chair of the petitions committee and cabinet member for education amongst other roles.

She said "It’s a great honour to be Mayor and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the city, promote the city and represent the city.

“The construction cranes are back in Wolverhampton and there is lots going on. Wolverhampton is a vibrant community and place to live and it is our citizens who make Wolverhampton the global place it is.”

“Wolverhampton was founded by a woman, yet I am just the 10th woman to be Mayor. For that reason, I have chosen the contribution of women to the city be one of my themes for the year.”

In line with tradition, Councillor Darke has selected good causes which she will raise money for over the year.

Her chosen good causes are Wolverhampton Suicide Prevention Stakeholders Forum and the University of Wolverhampton Alumni Mayoral Scholarship Fund – a new venture to support local people into higher education. 

Councillor Greg Brackenridge is set to be made deputy mayor at Wednesday's meeting.

People can discover more about the Mayor’s office at The Mayor of Wolverhampton


Paul Darke Batonbearer
Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay Commonwealth Games

torch bearer commonwealth games
Paul Darke Wolverhampton artist and campaigner has worked tirelessly to support disabled people across the region is to be one of the city’s Batonbearers for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay.

Dr Paul Darke was described as ‘an inspiration in the West Midlands’ in his Batonbearer nomination, made by his son Walker.

Paul, a wheelchair user since birth, has developed and delivered a number of projects across Wolverhampton on disability, health, heritage, history, theatre, cinema and sculpture.  

His much loved Wolves in Wolves sculpture trail across the city was the largest public art exhibition in Wolverhampton, attracting many visitors and raising £50,000 for a number of local charities.

Paul has also worked to transform sports and fitness in the disabled community. He created Flourish2BU, a volunteer led project helping disabled people to get more fit and improve their health and well being. 

He is also committed to supporting the important work of suicide prevention in the city and plans to develop supportive creative initiatives during the next year including an exhibition at the Light House Media Centre.

Paul said: ‘It is an honour to be a Batonbearer, especially having been nominated by my son who is himself volunteering at the Games. And I look forward to being pushed along the course by my wife Councillor Claire Darke.  

“The spirit of community is alive and well in Wolverhampton and it is a fantastic opportunity to represent the city on this occasion and spread the word of what a great city Wolverhampton is to live, work and play in: the Commonwealth Games epitomises all that is great about our city.”

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “Many congratulations to Paul who works extremely hard for disabled people across our region and was the brains behind the fantastic Wolves in Wolves sculpture trail. 

“The Commonwealth Games will be a major event for us and a great way to show off our city. I would like to wish Paul all the very best for a truly memorable day.”

The Queen’s Baton will be dramatically parachuted in by helicopter on Sunday 24 July, before inspirational Batonbearers take it on a tour of the city – giving them the chance to highlight stories of how they are striving for change in their community. 

The relay will begin at 8am in East Park with a parachute drop by The Wings Parachute Team. It will then be taken on a road relay tour of the city stopping off at a number of key locations including WV Active Aldersley before finishing with celebrations in Queen Square.

Summer 2022