Ground Noise - Project in development

Ground Noise project aims to create accessible platforms for people with learning disabilities to make music and write songs no matter their age, ability or understanding.

As part of this project This New Ground will design and deliver 20 music making workshops for our Collective members resulting in the creation of our House Band of learning disabled musicians and music facilitators. During these workshops, we will use a mixture of music technology as well as Figurenotes, a musical notation system that uses colours and shapes to aid the learning of musical parts and the playing of instruments to encourage people with learning disabilities to create music and sound experiences. Our aim is to inspire our participants to try new tools, techniques and experiences to promote and develop their talents.

This project will take place between September - December 2019.


Outcomes for Ground Noise project

  • Designing and delivering 20 music making workshops for our Collective members resulting in the creation of our House Band.

  • Recording original compositions by the House Band at the Lyric Hammersmith’s recording studio.

  • A commission and creation of an original musical theme by the House Band for This New Ground’s Podcast.

  • 3 live performances by the House Band at Bush Theatre, Bishop Creighton House and the Lyric Hammersmith.

  • Leadership and facilitation training for learning disabled members of the House Band

  • 2 music making workshops co facilitated by learning disabled members of the House Band in local SEN schools. These workshops will give the school pupils the opportunity to explore accessible music making methods and technology.

  • A short film documentation of this project to be used as a legacy, qualitative evaluation tool and a resource for other companies producing similar work.

The 20 music making workshops will take place at Bishops Creighton House. This project will be managed by This New Ground’s Artistic Director, Nathalie Carrington. Nathalie will facilitate the workshops alongside our associate music facilitators and team of volunteers.


Beneficiaries of this activity

The anticipated number of beneficiaries local to Hammersmith and Fulham for the project are 45 Participants with learning disabilities, 150 live audience, 400 online audience, 2 volunteers


The benefits of this project

This New Ground are at pivotal point in our development as an organisation, we have laid strong foundations, established and fostered partnerships and developed a clear identity for the work we to make. It is essential that we build on this momentum and continue to make a difference to our participants. We believe in access to arts helps improve the quality of lives, offering creative opportunities, social interaction, confidence and self esteem.

This project will help the participants:

  • Develop a clearer sense of identity and autonomy

  • Develop their artistic talents and skills

  • Tackle isolation within the learning disabled community

  • Increase self esteem and confidence

  • Encourage greater integration with other people and the community

  • Increase skills and ability to communicate

  • Facilitate personal and emotional development

  • Increase the ability to reflect and process feelings

  • Gain professional skills and leadership training

Quotes from members of the TNG collective during past TNG projects:

“This is how I envisioned my life to be. Coming here and performing here.”

"I feel like I get a choice and it gives me confidence to speak out. I like meeting new people and feeling connected.”

“I was amazed at what I can do.”

“That was proper empowering!”

“I don’t want to be defined for my disability because I’m a lot of things apart from a disabled person. I’m a son, a grandson, a brother, a cousin, a friend, a shoulder to cry on, I’m an actor, I’m a performer, I’m a singer.”

“I was dreading performing the play but now I don’t have to worry about it cause I got all my friends.”

“This is what I was born to do.”

Quote from Holly Smith, Community Producer at Bush Theatre:

"This New Ground understands the individual needs of each of the participants and encourages them to express themselves creatively. We are extremely impressed with their work."


Why this project is needed

Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability and they are one of the most excluded groups in our society. The impact of cuts to day services for adults with learning disabilities has been profound. The 3,500 people living with learning disabilities in Hammersmith and Fulham face the same the challenges day to day.

Mencap’s recent study seen below is a clear indication why there is a need for a project like ours.

  • 64% say they don’t see their friends

  • 51% say they feel lonely

  • 47% spend most of their time at home

  • 6.6% are in work

  • 12% Accessed local authority funded community services

  • 37% admit to feeling ‘scared about the future’.

Our project has been designed to respond to the profound challenges that the learning disabled community faces in a number of ways. Through inclusive creative collaboration we build out networks of social connections, bringing participants opportunities to access mainstream theatre  spaces in the borough and to be exposed to new and enriching experiences. Through skill development workshops participants develop their artistic talents and, build individual self confidence and open up future opportunities.

Our long-standing relationship with existing participants that make up our TNG Collective and other service users at Bishops Creighton House will form the foundation of our our community engagement. In most circumstances, we will reach this group through our workshop program, or by visiting a group beforehand, speaking to potential participants, who will then spread the word, and by leaving posters with the organisation. Our ongoing presence in the community will continue to provide us with opportunities to a widen our base. In addition, we will visit other local disability-led groups, such as Mencap Hammersmith & Fulham, Yarrow Housing, The Gate & the Macbeth Centre, to spread awareness in person and distribute marketing materials for our activities. For broader reach, we will engage directly with local community publications to publish notices, invitations and editorial of our work.

There is currently The Gate arts centre which provides a weekly music making session for adults with learning disabilities in the Hammersmith and Fulham. However, the majority of the This New Ground’s existing participants and service users at Bishop Creighton House do not access The Gate’s activities.

Listed below are the key differences between what the Gate offers and This New Ground’s project demonstrating what makes the Hit The Ground Project a truly unique opportunity for the participants:

  • This activity is free of charge for all participants

  • The focus on using groundbreaking music technology as well as Figurenotes, a musical notation system to ensure the music making is accessible to all

  • The focus on collaborating with highly skilled music facilitators and makers

  • The focus on sharing the work as widely as possible and bringing this work into mainstream arts spaces

  • The outreach and participation strand in SEN schools

  • The leadership training providing professional skills for participants opening up potential work opportunities and experience


How we will measure project outcomes

Throughout the process we will measure progress and impact using quantitative and qualitative methods. In addition to specific delivery targets, we will design a range of outcome measures in co- production with the participants which complement the broader aims of the project. These will be measured at the end of the project when views of key participants are collected using a survey and complemented with focus groups.

Key aims that outcome measures will be aligned with:

  • Encouraging ethical and equal creative dialogue between artists with and without learning

  • disabilities

  • Providing professional skills development and artistic opportunity for the TNG collective

  • Making the work visible in a mainstream theatre space as credible artistic practice

  • Creating a body of work that has emphasis on high quality process and product

  • Creating a strong identity & a sustainable future for TNG

Outcome measures will include delivery of outreach workshops, live performances, a short film and leadership and training training as well as survey and focus group feedback measuring the impact of the work on participants' confidence, engagement, wellbeing and a sense of identity & selfhood.

The final evaluation will be undertaken by Artistic Director and researcher, Nathalie Carrington, who is familiar with project evaluation and both qualitative and quantitative methods. Nathalie will analyse the data collected and triangulatie results to produce a short write up on the impact of the project.