Renowned artist helps Sense design an Arts Manifesto

Tanya Raabe-Webber in her studio surrounded by her art and materials. Tanya is wearing a burgundy dress and has short brown hair and glasses.
Tanya Raabe-Webber in her studio surrounded by her art and materials

‘The notion of my own diversity drives my interest in people and the exploration of the human condition’

Tanya Raabe-Webber

As part of the Sense Connect programme which combats isolation and loneliness for people with complex disabilities, Sense Arts commissioned renowned artist Tanya Raabe – Webber to create a manifesto for the work. The manifesto is intended to outline a broad set of statements to support disabled people and artists during the pandemic and beyond. Each statement has been created in collaboration with the people we support and Tanya has created visual pieces to represent her thoughts and ideas.
Artist, Tanya Raabe-Webber shares her story.

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Keeping Sense Connected

People looking through a magnifying glass.

As a leading disability and social care charity, Sense is committed to making sure no one, no matter how complex their disability, is left out, isolated or unable to fulfil their potential.

Never has a mission been so important yet so complex to deliver. As the leader of the Arts, Sport and Wellbeing team at Sense, I want to let you know what approach we are taking to support people during this incredibly challenging period.

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Suspend Motion – An immersive performance experience

Young lady in a dance performance

New Collaboration:
Sense Arts is pleased to announce a new ground breaking dance performance partnership with screen dance director Sima Gonsai and professional dancers from interACTION to create a trilogy of screen dance films performed by dancers with complex disabilities.

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Q&A with our National Sport Manager

How did the Sport England funding come about?

Our sport & physical activity programme started in 2014 and has been growing ever since. We have worked with Sport England over the last five years supporting more people with complex needs to be active. This recent funding has come about following our work to date and our ambition to reach more people with complex disabilities who currently aren’t able to access opportunities due to a number of limitations with provision, society, and perception to name a few.

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Football for everyone

A woman giving a ball to a young man who is holding his hands out.

Time for a game of footie!

For some time now, as part of our Sporting Sense project, we have been developing all sorts of sport and physical activities for people with complex disabilities – everything from swimming and cycling to yoga and dance. These are great because individuals can do these at their own pace, in their own way, and experience how their body feels in a sensory way.

We’ve also built up good partnerships with local sports clubs and providers to deliver these activities and had a lot of positive interest.

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‘Sense, Active Together’ – New funding to expand our Sense Sports Programme.

According to research carried out by Sport England, almost half (42%) of disabled people are classed as inactive, which means they do less than thirty minutes of exercise a week. This rises to over half (51%) among people with complex disabilities.

At Sense, we are familiar with the disparities that exist and are working towards ensuring that no one is left out of life. There are so many physical, mental and social benefits to being active but unfortunately there aren’t the same opportunities available to people with more complex disabilities. 

That’s why we’re excited to be launching a new three-year project, ‘Sense, Active Together’ building on our foundations of supporting people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities to be active, and aiming to reach another 2,500 people.

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Re-fuse, re-made into art with RE-STORE.

A selection of toys that are laid out on a table. From books to noisy play toys, they are all brightly coloured.

Do you have any unwanted bric-a-brac taking up space? At Sense, we are taking those items that have been gathering dust and giving them a new lease of life by turning them into unique works of art. 

We are very excited to once again, collaborate with RBSA on a mentoring programme connecting professional artists with the people we support. This brilliant new programme of activities is called Making Together, which is supported using funding by Arts Council England.

Making Together involves several different mentoring and art workshops between artists and Sense art-makers with complex disabilities. The aim of the mentoring and making workshops is to help Sense art-makers develop their own artwork for display.

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Space to be different: How we plan to make arts accessible to everyone, no matter how complex their disabilities

Man and woman reaching up performing art

We are delighted to be launching our new inclusive arts plan Space to be Different 2019- 2022. The plan sets out how we want to bring art and social care closer together and support disabled artists and art-makers to be leaders in their field. Space to be Different sets out our vision for creating a national arts programme with Sense TouchBase Pears in Birmingham as the centre of excellence in inclusive arts.

See below for the first steps towards making the plan a reality.

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Piloting inclusive arts consultation at Sense Arts.

Young boy sat in a wheelchair being supported by a woman who is supporting him working on a Sense Arts project.

What’s it all about?

In late 2018, Sense Arts were delighted to get funding from Arts Council of England to develop a strategic arts plan for the next phase of inclusive arts at TouchBase Pears.

They want the strategy to reference the ethos and practice that they’re passionate about and showcase to the fullest, the talents of those they’re nurturing through this programme.

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Band of brothers and sisters

Little girl climbing up frame

Children who have a disabled sibling may have to learn to put their own needs on hold to some extent – but the Sense Siblings Weekend was just for them.When the children and young people arrive for the siblings’ weekend some look a little wary and there are even a few tears; others give barely a backward glance and get stuck right in away, rushing over to the painting activity and making instant new friends in the way that only children can.

They have all come away for a weekend of fun, friendship and adventure at a PGL centre near Swindon – and what they have in common is that they all have a brother or sister who has a disability. Having a sibling with special needs can be a mixed role, and whilst Sense’s experience is that many will grow up to be particularly kind, thoughtful and mature people – and love their disabled sibling to bits – they can face challenges too.

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