27a Access Artspace

Overall: The participants I met felt very much that they were in control of what kind of work they did. The training videos as a complete package also point towards real disabled led creativity.

Staff: Not Disability Led - Arts and disability in the main. We encourage Disability Arts but it has to come from the individuals, you can foster it but not force the choice.

Participant: Disability Arts - Arts and disability, because we do our own thing, we do what we enjoy.

Linked: Neither/don't Know- Disability Art. 27a are keen that the people they work with come up with the projects and ideas themselves. They work with disabled people to create art which covers lots of different mediums.

Participant: They care more about the people who come here, they don't treat people as disabled, they talk to and treat everybody alike.


Artlink East

Overall: The work on the whole is informed by perceived needs of disabled people. Again it is hard to judge as I was not able to speak to a disabled participant directly. However I think it is relevant that when asked for a disabled participant I was given the name of a non disabled person who is primarily involved through her work as a day centre officer.

Staff: Not Disability Led - Arts and disability. The work is not necessarily issue based, its about access to the arts.

Participant: Disability Arts - Arts and disability because the disability is not important except in looking at ways to access and making it meaningful. It is about involvement and individuals not about disability.

Linked: Arts And Disability- Both really, another area is about providing job opportunities for disabled artists, not just about giving disabled people the opportunity to create but also to offer facilitative roles.

Participant: They are always there in support and can be used in so many different ways. We can call Artlink and say we have got a group who need support, they will come and share ideas. They are the first port of call if we are looking for artists or writers. We did not know anything about this area, they are a source of contacts and we know that any artists or groups they mention will be appropriate. Also Artlink can help with finding and applying for funds which we within Social Services cannot apply for.


Bamboozle Theatre Company

Overall: I would say around 35% is informed by the groups needs

Staff: Not Disability Led - Arts and disability, because Bamboozle run workshops in different art forms in which people with disabilities take part.

Participant: - Both the same aren't they?

Linked: Disability Arts- Arts & disability because it's not disabled arts but the arts activities Bamboozle provide engage disabled people.

Participant: Because with Sue and Christopher they talk about the work, get up and do it!


City Arts

Staff: Not Disability Led - Work with artists to find out their own abilities and development.

Participant: Disability Arts - An artist who is disabled.

Linked: Arts And Disability- Both. Community artists in various groups some focused on disability others are artists who happen to be disabled.

Participant: Listening to us Communication and support for projects.



Overall: I believe from what has been said by Veronica, Vanessa and Richard that the participants do define the workshop themes. Pretty Nevasia seems to take control of what she gets out of the workshop.

Staff: Disability Led - Arts & Disability. We aim to introduce and provide arts related projects to groups of people with variable disabilities the opportunity to experience and develop their creative potential and artistic ability. We work in the community and with the community with the main aim being that this is an opportunity for everyone to share their interest in the arts.

Participant: - Arts workshop: (Pretty didn't really comment too much on this but I gather she didn't consider the work to be 'disability arts', she just views it as participating in arts workshops).

Linked: Disability Arts- Arts & Disability. The projects are about art. The groups are integrated and all share and develop their creativity through various art forms.

Participant: I am able to put my ideas into the work, with the workshop leader helping and encouraging me and showing me how I need to go about doing what I want to do, also I like the venue.


Fased In The Arts

Overall: All the work is led 100% by disabled people. Not only is the organisation run by disabled people ( mostly voluntarily) but the sessions , discussions and training are all run by disabled trainers also.

Staff: Disability Led - Neither, as it is training and professional services for disabled artists in the arts. Some are disabled artists, some are disabled people. We have a wide range of members in terms of their political and artistic viewpoint.

Participant: Arts And Disability - For me the organisation is about arts and disability, but there is scope within for Disability Arts also. My own expression through art would include Disability Art but also goes beyond it too.

Linked: - I wouldn't draw a distinction. The issue is one of effectiveness, and contribution to an overall picture.

Participant: I don't have much experience of other organisations but I think what seems to stand apart is its focus on professional development.


First Movement

Overall: In the individual sessions the work is often disabled led but this is on an experimental basis and I am not clear how much control the participants have over the development of their ideas. In terms of long term strategic planning the organisation is looking into developing a disabled led approach.

Staff: Not Disability Led - It is arts and disability because the work is not culturally led by disabled people and does not form necessarily part of that culture, so by its very nature it cannot be disability arts.

Linked: Arts And Disability- Both. Disability arts means using artistic expression to describe what its like to be disabled or to advocate political action. First Movement work with people with learning disabilities and help them to express their own creativity. A lot of the work is initiated by people with learning disabilities expressing their own visions not necessarily their experience of being disabled.


Fourth Wall Theatre Company

Overall: All the work is disabled led as such a high proportion of the management group and facilitators have disabilities. Also the whole idea came from the Mental Health Steering Group and out of World Mental Health Day.
The brief of the group is very specific and caters mainly for mental health user, even though there is an open door policy.
This is very much what I would called disability arts but it seems also to cross over into personal development. I do take the point of Sue though, and see the circular relationship between disability arts and arts and disability. I think as this organisation matures it will become more arts orientated -at the moment they are very much exploring.
I think this is an interesting organisation as a 'fledgling' organisation - but pulling in over 100 disabled participants in a year is not bad at all when compared with more established organisations. There is definitely a need for this organisation, but I also take Dave's point about its vulnerability, which to remain disabled led it must surely try and weather (?) We'll see how things go in the next year.

Staff: Disability Led - Personally I think it's a circular thing, disability and arts/arts and disability, I think it's a circular interaction -and that's just how it is the whole time. Because the management committee is largely made up of disabled people and because we have creative skills as well everything just flows round and interacts full circle. It's the whole thing, rather than one way or the other.
With participants I think the workshops are facilitated to promote a disability and art perspective, rather than arts and disability because we want to encourage people to bring in both sides of the equation and sometimes people are embarrassed about their disabilities.

Participant: Arts And Disability - Both. Disability Arts in that the piece we want to make is about people's mental health experiences. Arts and disability because we are all learning new artistic skills.

Linked: -

Participant: I think because it comes so much from the personal and people are experiencing and writing about the problems they have as part of their way of life.


High Peak Community Arts

Overall: I think the work of High Peak Arts is disabled led in its own way, certainly the needs of disabled participants in the arts are central to provision, the provision of projects being tailored in a way that isn't usually seen as affordable by other providers - thanks perhaps to social services input into High Peak's funding pot. (Although, the geography also influences dramatically how projects are provided). But to have a project especially designed around your own individual needs is of course 100% successful for those involved.
The fact that you have to be referred into Arts Exchange by social workers is a bit of a sticking point for me - although I'm assured nobody has complained about this. I wonder who is excluded because of this - quite a fair proportion of people with disabilities. I think this fact effects the character of the work High Peak do and although it is innovative in some ways, gives in a very institutionalised feel in others...
How Spectrum Arts takes over, after the participants have used up their two project eligibility is another question. I think they will be successful, but with steady input from High Peak Arts.
The concept of disabled workshop leaders or proactive disabled people seemed a bit alien to the organisation - which still seemed very much to be non-disabled providing for disabled, though talking to Gillian (disabled participant) it seemed that Spectrum members were running/had run at least one project in a school.
There was what seemed a genuine desire to have more disabled people involved in provision within the organisation, but some difficulty in reconciling the fact that there might be a need for positive discrimination for people with disabilities to make contacts for future working relationships to really flower. Without proper advertising encouraging disabled applicants and showing awareness of their needs, the fact that no-one who is disabled has applied for a job might not be a reflection of demographics or where people live!!!!

Staff: Not Disability Led - Probably Arts and disability, if disability arts means always looking at the arts through the political standpoint of disability. Sometimes our participants make art about their disability, but sometimes not, more often not - its about their own freedom of choice and personal expression. So, yes, definitely more arts and disability than disability arts.
If people do choose to make work about their disability I guess it could have a positive effect on how disability is perceived, even if all it does is cause the person experiencing the work to go - god, a disabled person did this. Sometimes its interesting for the family members of participants who don't believe that their son/daughter, aunt/uncle or whatever could produce something 'as good as' what they are looking at/reading or whatever. Sometimes giving someone a new positive image of a person they thought knew, can be very radical.

Participant: Disability Arts - Arts and disability - a long way second. Art Exchange and Spectrum are not about disability in the sense of basket weaving - it goes way beyond that. What we do at Spectrum and Art Exchange is quality its really skilled work.

Linked: Arts And Disability- Both. They are a provider of generalised arts projects, but they have a skill in specialist arts provision - they are very disability aware.

Participant: I would say the quality of the tutors and the small groups. Its very flexible really, depending upon what you want or need. Some people have workers go into their own homes and have one-to-one tuition, whereas others prefer the social side of small groups and want to get out of the house. The projects you do are tailored for your needs, so that's really unique I guess.


Indigo Dance Group (Salamanda Tandem)

Staff: Not Disability Led - Arts and disability. The artwork comes first. Indigo is about making art together.

Participant: - Interviewees both stated they did not view group as a disability group. They both felt they were in the group because they enjoyed it and liked dance, and not because they were disabled.

Linked: - Work in an inclusive way, not disability led, But lead by creativity open to all members of society.

Participant: The shows where members perform and the bonds and friendship that have developed between group members.


Mantle Community Arts

Overall: None of the work is disabled led I don't think, but they are inclusive

Staff: Not Disability Led - 'Disability arts' suggests to me arts designed for disabled people whom we feel are putting people in a category. We provide arts workshops that disabled people can access.

Participant: - I don't know what you mean, so I think no!

Linked: Disability Arts- They set up workshops for people that people with disabilities can come to, so arts and disability.

Participant: Everyone is good and nice, I like what we do.


New Perspectives

Overall: Fairly sure it is led by participants, One of the main issues for Justin was that he was able to do what he 'wanted' to do.

Staff: Not Disability Led - Arts and disability. New perspectives feels that the organisation is not in a position to make cultural or political statements about disability. They feel the work carried out by them is with all areas of the community. For example with disabled people, young children or elderly people. There is a broad range of groups who New Perspectives work with.

Participant: Disability Arts - Arts and disability, I like to be involved as I am disabled.

Linked: Disability Arts- It is Arts and disability as different aspects incorporating introductory theatre experience workshops are included We are able to use Richards expertise, contacts to work and we have done this from feedback from disabled participants.

Participant: New Perspectives is very special, because sometimes I love to do music, dance or drama and I get to do a lot different stuff. I go to college and this fits in with that.


People Express

Overall: All the work which involves disabled individuals linked to disability groups is genuinely disabled led. The organisations focus on supporting groups in achieving their own goals is adhered to with passion.

Staff: Not Disability Led - Inadvertently some projects have become Disability Arts projects. For example mental health writing projects led by a disabled writer and the groups work is very much about their experiences. They work as a group to build individuals confidence. There is a principle of people owning the work and making the decisions.

Participant: - These are not terms we particularly identify with. It is hard because as people with mental health issues it is not obvious we are disabled so we do not necessarily identify with the labels, but do acknowledge an empathy with other disabled people. Some of the work might be classed as disability art as it is very personal to the experiences members here have been through. The book of journeys which is being published this year is dedicated to a member who lost his life last year. The group spent the summers barge holiday writing poetry, prose and short stories and taking photographs for the book.

Linked: Disability Arts- Arts and disability because the organisations primary thrust is arts work rather than disability focussed.

Participant: People express are the only arts organisation I have really been in contact with, but we all seem to work well together. Everyone is really friendly and with their help we are now able to raise money ourselves. People Express have helped to move us on to becoming more independent and building our confidence. Our success feeds their success and visa versa, the relationship is very equal.



Overall: All the work that involves disabled people as singular groups (is disabled-led).

Staff: Not Disability Led - Generally arts and disability. Some specific projects on occasions have been Disability Art, these are where the reason for the art is based around their experience of disability and are led and delivered by disabled people.

Participant: Disability Arts - Arts and disability because the medium comes first and the disability becomes secondary.

Participant: Arts And Disability - Both, depending on the needs and perspectives of the groups being worked with.

Linked: Arts And Disability- QArts as a Participatory Arts organisation its ethos is full accessibility to all communities. The work carried out with disabled people is a mixture of both arts and disability and disability arts.

Participant: The atmosphere is welcoming, the people are friendly and the approach to work is very good. There is lots of support for disabled participants to run their own projects.

Participant: Being in the forefront of innovative participatory arts practice. The equality in management structure, this goes beyond the administrative base and includes their attitude towards disabled members of staff.|There is a constant process of evaluation and updating, always pushing to improve what they do. Here everyone can have their say.|The supportive structure of training that can take you from volunteer to paid work.



Overall: Genuinley I think their projects are designed by the participants and therefore disabled led.

Staff: Disability Led - Arts and disability, The project aims to provide access to workshops that are tailored to the participants development needs. It is also to raise the profile of their work. Aims to be completely non discriminatory but is not specifically 'disability' based.

Participant: Disability Arts - Arts and Disability, I enjoy the arts part of the workshops.

Linked: Disability Arts- Arts and disability, It is about providing arts activity for people with disabilities, rather than having any specific cultural/political statement regarding disability.

Participant: Betty explained that there were not many places she could go at all and that this suits her and her needs are met.


Watering Seeds

Staff: Disability Led - Disability Arts because the work is about finding a form based around the groups approach to life, not in parodying non disabled theatrical events or productions.

Participant: - Interviewees both stated they felt other members of the group were their friends, not disabled. We all work as a team - every one is different we all learn from each other. The group is about friendship and sharing not about disability.

Linked: Arts And Disability- We move between both, do both. We Raise awareness with other members of the community presenting positive role models. This changes Misconceptions about disability the public often have. The members of the group enjoy performing and working as a group.

Participant: We feel like a team there is a bond between the group members and the Staff.