What's happening in the Arts & Wellbeing team?

Photo of Material Memories makers at exhibition of quilt
Celebrating the end of a Sense quilting project

Exciting times are afoot in the Arts and Wellbeing camp!

I’ve been in the post as the new Head of Arts and Wellbeing for two months now and it’s high time I updated our wonderful Arts Blog with news about what we’re up to . With three big events launching this week in time for Deafblind Awareness Week 2015, here is a word about some of the work we do and why it’s important.

I’m privileged to work with a team of committed staff, arts enthusiasts, artists, performers and creative people from all disciplines and walks of life to bring arts, culture and wellbeing activities to those we support at Sense. We try out new things, have fun, make a serious noise about the benefits and value of arts opportunities and go out and about in search of new ideas. There are brilliant Sense staff who lead and support new ideas; juggling committed support work with supporting creative activities — landscaping gardens, building exhibition spaces, going on boat journeys, taking people to the theatre and really, the list does go on and on. Here, on this oldblog, you’ll find regular uploads about all of our projects with photos and feedback from those taking part.

Most importantly, these projects have started to make a real difference to those we support. Whether someone is joining from our accommodation services, day services, resource centres, colleges or joining us for the first time through our community engagement projects, people are embracing the chance to be creative and they’re telling us more about what they love to do and why. The projects are having a positive impact on people’s wellbeing, introducing them to new hobbies and friendships and getting them out and about and active.

french knitting material memory
Supporting someone who is blind to finger knit

Through this work we want to create an inclusive environment for anyone with a sensory impairment to enjoy a creative activity without barriers. We want to offer more opportunities for people to try something new,  stimulating, fun and creative. Accessibility is key though and there are many, many ways you can support an activity to be accessible. Having a sensory impairment should not limit creativity, in fact it can promote different ways of envisaging a subject, a movement, a sound, a technique and so on.  We want to provide invigorating high-quality creative experiences through working with exceptional artists who can draw out some of these differences and provide everyone with a platform for thinking differently about the world. What is valuable is the chance to find out what happens when you try something: what happens when someone without sight tries photography for the first time? Well, something very exciting indeed it turns out (come visit the exhibition to find out more!)

For everyone who takes part in an one of our arts and wellbeing projects, it is an opportunity to try something new, develop a hobby, a work of art, a friendship, a passion, a pastime. However big or small, creative activities are good for us.


Get involved in DBAW2015 and visit one of our upcoming events:

Recording sounds in the park
Recording sounds in the park

No Such Thing as Empty Space Sound artist Matt Lewis worked for six months with people with sensory impairments to create an immersive sound installation. The resulting sensory soundscape is going on tour through Peterborough, Southend, Thurrock and Milton Keynes throughout summer! Dates and venues in the link.


Using a camera blindfolded
Photography without sight

PhotoVoice TouchBase Photography Exhibtion – this sensory photography project offers an intriguing understanding into how the world can be perceived with different senses. The exhibition provides a unique insight into the day to day experiences of ten photographers from Touchbase South East service with sight impairments and additional disabilities, as well as painting a picture of the the renovated day centre from their perspective. The exhibition of the photos will open to the public on 24th June in Barnet, North London.


Poems of the River – Sense is taking overpoems_of_the-river_304r Ayscoughfee Hall Museum in Lincolnshire from 24 – 28thJune with a river themed exhibition including poetry, storytelling, photos, art and performance from participants at Glenside Resource Centre. Participants also worked collaboratively with sound artist Daz Disley, to compose sound pieces of creatures found by the river banks, from eels and ducks to herons and rabbits.


Get in touch with us if you have a suggestion, idea,  or if you just want to say ‘hi’!

Author: Kara Jarrold

Kara is Head of Arts & Wellbeing at Sense. She leads on arts projects that find ways to empower people to find their cultural voice, working collaboratively and experimentally with artists and participants to improve access to art through the senses.

2 thoughts on “What's happening in the Arts & Wellbeing team?”

  1. Great to see a round out of everything that is going on. A fantastic range of creative outlets. Keep up the good work.

    1. Inspiring…I tell people in Oz about the projects and all the great work that is done. Wish I was closer to visit an exhibition and see all the fantastic finished pieces.

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