The project received positive comments and reflections from collaborating artists, partner organisations and carers
Throughout the project and at the end we collected feedback and comments from collaborating artists, associate organisations and carers. These highlight how the project achieved its intended outcomes as well as the positive changes that it brought to participants, collaborating artists and organisations, and wider communities.
The production at The Bush Theatre, “won over hearts and minds of carers especially”. A key moment was seeing “a parent weeping and crying at the sight of their adult child being themselves and so confident.” - Arti Prashar, Spare Tyre
“The final performance felt free and authentic to our process together. This was achieved by creating a simple framework that the participants were free to play within and there being no right or wrong way of doing things.” - Nathalie Carrington , This New Ground
“She came out of her shell and was trying new things, which doesn’t come easy to her.” - Nathalie Carrington , This New Ground
“She was expressing herself and voicing her opinions, it was brilliant to see!” - Nathalie Carrington , This New Ground
“As soon as Victor gave him the role of being his assistant cameraman he completely changed his attitude towards the project and started to join in and partcipate.” - Nathalie Carrington , This New Ground
“The project helped build the participants confidence and gave them the opportunity to see themselves as valued artists. It enabled them to have a strong sense of ownership over something they were creating and felt pride at what they had achieved individually and collectively.” - Nathalie Carrington , This New Ground
“Working at the Bush gave the participants a sense of belonging in a local art space which they otherwise would not have accessed in their everyday lives. For some participants it enabled them to be more independent, travelling to a new venue on their own, being dropped off by family members/support workers rather than them staying nearby or watching the session.” - Nathalie Carrington , This New Ground
“This New Ground's work has meant that more often the community centre is busy and has a livelier energy within it.” - Bishop Creighton House, Partner Organisation
Participants “have added energy and life to the community centre the days they are here, which has been positive for all those who access the community centre or work there. Booking the space, and the fee for this, also adds to the income of the community centre, helping it towards its ongoing running costs.” - Bishop Creighton House, Partner Organisation
Participants “have shown an increase in confidence and ability which has in turn led to an more productive level of engagement with the activities and workshops we run here such as the literacy program and employment support.”- Bishop Creighton House, Partner Organisation
“The activities have positively benefited the people who access BCH's Learning Disability Services. They have offered them a rich and varied programme of artistic and meaningful events to take part in. Through collaborating with This New Ground, our Learning Disability Service can offer and connect people to more opportunities and a wider ranging cultural programme than we would be able to do so working independently.” - Bishop Creighton House, Partner Organisation
“It offers them a rich and varied programme of activities. A way of spending their time in a meaningful way. A chance to collaborate with colleagues, professionals and people from other organisations. A chance to make friends and build social networks. They have accessed more social opportunities, which is of great benefit to people who are generally socially isolated. They have been able to express themselves creatively, to feel empowered and listened to, and in general it has been great for their quality of life.” - Bishop Creighton House, Partner Organisation
“A few of our service users have shown an unexpectedly marked increase in confidence which has led to ongoing and continuous voluntary employment opportunities. It's been a very edifying experience all round.” - Bishop Creighton House, Partner Organisation
“My perceptions are constantly changing working with the participants. I found it interesting hearing the participant’s opinions on how they wanted to be viewed, with some saying they didn’t want to be labelled as people with learning disabilities, but as artists in their own right.” - Collaborating artist
“I gained new skills as an artists working inclusively on the project and feel creatively inspired working with the participants. I will particularly take away the importance of inclusive working from conception to end of project.” - Collaborating artist
“I’ve become even more aware of people’s differences and how to we all have something to contribute.” - Collaborating artist.
This activity has been hugely important for This New Ground. Not only as a clear expression of the company’s artistic quality, but also as a clear indication of future work. The activity enabled us to evolve our programme beyond our roots as a community choir, we were able to explore working across different art forms and collaborating with different artists. The project has laid out the company’s intentions for its next projects and helped solidify the genre of work we wish to make. TNG has now been in existence for nearly two years, it is now clearer than ever that what we are trying to do is to remove barriers and increase access for learning disabled people to lead, make and participate in the arts. Learning disabled people and artists are hugely under-represented within the arts. Our relationship with local mainstream arts venues is therefore very important. This activity represented the first opportunity for us to work with these venues in a deep and meaningful way. Alongside our longstanding partnerships with Bishop Creighton House, LAMDA, H&F Arts Festival and Joy Festival, additional partnerships were forged during this activity with Bush Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Imperial College, Sobus, Action On Disability, Spare Tyre and Touretteshero to name a few. This activity has provided us with an opportunity to engage with disability led organisations (Carousel, Action on Disabilty, Corali, Mind the Gap, Acess all Areas) to learn about the infrastructure needed to support learning disabled people in employment. These insights will enable our organisation to become a disability confident employer.
This project was an opportunity to explore what learning disabled led means in practice, consequently we have been able to identify future models of work and leadership. We have concluded that future project plans should include promotional budget and a marketing strategy for the content we produce. This project highlighted that we can have a deep and positive impact on our core participant group, but in order to widen our reach in future we plan to conduct outreach programmes in parallel. This will allow us to increase our impact and deepening roots in the local community. Through the process of the project we gathered learnings on how to create an inclusive, participatory end to end project and the frameworks and budgets to support it.