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.

Continue reading “Piloting inclusive arts consultation at Sense Arts.”

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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Let’s Dance! Supporting people with complex disabilities to be active, develop communication skills and explore their creative sides

A woman holding on to a colourful parachute

I work as a Dance Practitioner at Step Change Studios, which is an inclusive dance company that provides opportunities for people with multiple disabilities to dance. Sense and Step Change Studios have been working together to support people of different ages and abilities to be active and explore their creative, communication and social skills through dance.

The benefits of dance are widely evidenced – not just in terms of physical health but also mental health and wellbeing. For the past few months I have been working with adults with complex disabilities in a Sense residential care home in Walthamstow, London, using music and movement to engage their senses, and promoting social interaction and physical activity through fun, play-based sessions.
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The voluntary sector can’t tackle loneliness in isolation from one another


Two men in conversation outside
CEO Richard Kramer discusses how Sense services can tackle loneliness

Loneliness is a serious public issue deserving of public funds and national attention. It’s well publicised that the issue disproportionately affects older people, with half a million older people in this country going 5 or 6 days a week without speaking to anyone at all.

What is less well known, is its affect on disabled people who may never have the opportunity to establish friendships in the first place. Continue reading “The voluntary sector can’t tackle loneliness in isolation from one another”

I make art that stimulates the senses

A woman holding a cup to the lips of another woman who is sitting in a wheelchair

I’m an artist who focuses on creating concerts that stimulate the senses, particularly sound, taste, touch and movement. I manage Bittersuite, a company that’s pioneering new ways to experience music through all the senses, and the Open Senses Festival.

I’ve always enjoyed making works for all the senses, so I was keen to start working with the charity Sense and their Arts team, when I learned that my work could be used to stimulate and inspire people with complex disabilities and sensory impairments. Continue reading “I make art that stimulates the senses”

Young people with sensory impairments exhibit sonic works of art

A young girl and woman hold hands as they touch and interact with a wooden interactive art piece

Over the past several months, Sense Arts has been working closely with six young people with sensory impairments and complex communication needs through a series of music making workshops.

These workshops were part of a project called ‘Music is a Vibration’,  which is an inclusive arts project that enabled the young people to co-produce their own musical compositions. The project put young people at the heart of several immersive environments in which they were able to create music and experience soundscapes. The workshops were led by artists Tom Peel and Justin Wiggan, assisted by Sense support worker and musician, Bamba Dia.

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Video of deafblind football fan inspires people to think about sport and inclusivity

Two men touching hands over a green painted board.

World cup fever is upon us! It’s all over the TV, radio, social media, and is the topic of many of our conversations at the moment.

In amongst all the hype, one video in particular went viral over the weekend, just as Deafblind Awareness Week kicked off. The video shows football fan Carlos and his friends celebrating a goal in Brazil’s game against Costa Rica on Friday. What’s different about this video is that Carlos is deafblind and is experiencing the football through touch.

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Success for Sensibility Festival

A woman touching a textured see-through piece of fabric

Sensibility was a three-day disability arts festival in Birmingham that showcased the contributions and connections to arts and creativity of sixty deafblind and disabled people. It brought together a diverse audience from all over the country, to celebrate and share a unique experience.

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How Sense has been making sport more inclusive for disabled people

A group of men and women in a sports centre. Cyclists cycle around them.

Yesterday, we hosted a Sports Summit at the iconic Lee Valley Velodrome. This event provided an opportunity for people from the sport and health, and social care sector, to come together to hear about the what we’ve learned from our two year Sport England funded project, Sporting Sense. It was fantastic to see such a mix of organisations who all share a passion for making sport more inclusive and accessible to disabled people.

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Dance inspires, uplifts and connects us

Two women dancing together

A brand new disability arts festival called Sensibility is coming to Birmingham this weekend. As a dance teacher who has worked with Sense Arts for five years, I’m really excited to be leading a choreographed dance, movement and story session this Friday 18 May and Sunday 20 May, at Sense’s TouchBase Pears multipurpose venue.

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