disability + creative activity + cultural spaces = wellbeing
Arts connect is our flagship programme for disabled participants and their carers. First delivered in East Sussex in 2013, the programme has developed across Sussex and has 3 main activity strands:
Arts connect Ambassadors are the reference group for the programme. Whilst developing their own confidence and skills, they provide greater visibility and profile for disabled project leaders and have been active participants in research led by Brighton University, making presentations and leading workshops at conferences in the UK and in in Europe.
Get connected events are lively, interactive, networking events for disabled people, carers, parents, staff and management from disability support organisations as well as artists and cultural organisations. Get Connected events take place in arts and cultural venues and offer a chance to find out about opportunities and resources in the local area, while sharing skills and information, and showcasing the talents of disabled people.
get creative sessions are one-off opportunities or short courses for disabled people to try out different creative activities, explore new places and form new friendships. Supported by trained volunteers and professional artists, sessions are often co-led by a specialist from a partner venue or organisation. Diverse themes for Get Creative activity have included Get Into Libraries, Music, Film, Drama, Dance, Heritage and Nature.
Most recently we ran a pilot called Get Into Trains in partnership with Sussex Community Rail Partnership. Three sessions took place at Lewes, Seaford and Eastbourne train stations, involving a total of 20 disabled adults, their carers and station staff. The sessions were co-led by an artist and a railway specialist, exploring the rich heritage of trains and stations as well as the personal experience of travel, developing both creative skills and confidence in travel.
We are currently seeking funding for further Get Into Trains sessions. A full project report is available upon request.
This short film created by Catherine at Sussex Community Rail Partnership captures a glimpse of Get Into Trains:
"Arts Connect is so important. I wish everyone could see what goes on here. Seeing people’s faces – the joy and pleasure they get, the feeling of being part of a community, the chance to feel part of things and understood. It’s great to be in a group where C feels safe - there aren’t that many places to go where he can feel really secure and part of things. He really looks forward to coming. "
To find out more about how you could get involved with Get Connected or any of the Arts Connect programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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