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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I’m a visually impaired artist who’s helping others connect through creativity

Two women and a man in an art studio, smiling and holding hands

I’m a visually impaired mixed and multimedia artist working with Sense to support people with sensory impairments to produce art for a brand new disability arts festival called Sensibility, happening this Friday, 18 May.

Through art, I want to elevate the importance of all of the senses. I myself, exhibit my artworks nationally and internationally, but I also work on making more accessible sensory and tactile works, and smaller sculptures too.

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Innovative technology helps young people with sensory impairments make music

A young person plays a guitar that's connected to a bottle spinning on a turntable

Six young people with sensory impairments and complex communication needs are making music through a series of Sense Arts workshops. The workshops are part of a project called ‘Music Is A Vibration’, and are being led by a musician and an artist who use innovative audiovisual technology to overcome communication barriers.

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Children with sensory impairments celebrate their sounds being archived at the British Library

A young girl, looking thoughtfully up to the roof, with a woman sitting beside herAt the end of an eight month project with Sense Arts and the British Library, we celebrated the archiving of sounds created by young people with sensory impairments.

My name is Emma McGarry and I am a visual artist. Together with another artist, Judith Brocklehurst, we have been working on a Sense and British Library collaboration to deliver an exciting eight-month project with a group of young people with sensory impairments. The project took inspiration from the British Library’s Sound Archive and allowed the national collection of sounds to be brought to a new audience through a series of participatory and exploratory sessions.

The project came to its conclusion and we celebrated with a big final event at the British Library and our own exciting submission.

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Sensory art opens the doors to new experiences for disabled people

A smiling woman supports a young man with complex communication needs to create a work of art

Creative activities are fantastic for opening doors to new experiences, and can be a great way for people with complex communication needs to express themselves, make choices and explore stimulating sensory materials whilst creating. It can help relax behaviours and open up interactions with other people too.

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Through dance, older people are connecting with their friends and community

An older woman and man, holding hands and dancing

As we get older, we might experience feeling isolated and disconnected from society for a number of reasons. Sport and physical activity is one way we can interact with new people, build friendships and connections, and improve health and wellbeing.

After speaking to older people about physical activities that excite them, we learned that there was an appetite for dance classes.

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How people with sensory impairments experienced the magic of painting with light

A woman, moving a wand of blue and purple light above her head, leaving trails of light

I was recently asked to run a ‘light painting’ session for people who are deafblind or have complex communication needs. As an artist and photographer, I found it interesting to think about how I would adapt the session. But what is light painting?

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As a deafblind actor, I was excited to join the National Theatre in telling this unique story

Two women, standing on stage, arms in the air
Zara Arnold, left, performing In Touch at the National Theatre. (Photography by Patrick Baldwin)

As a deafblind actor, I was excited to be involved in the production of In Touch at the National Theatre.

In Touch is a show about how deafblind people go through life, the barriers they have faced as well as learning how to live with their disability. For the production, Graeae Theatre Company collaborated with the Inclusion Theatre Company from Russia.

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How people, who are deafblind, from across Europe came together for a Danish adventure

A group of people outdoors with fires

The DeafBlind International Outdoor Network exists to create unique and exciting opportunities for people with deafblindness to explore and enjoy all aspects of outdoor living. This year’s annual gathering took place near  Aalborg, Northern Denmark.

These holidays bring people with deafblindness, their support staff and families together from across Europe and this year’s event attracted people from Norway, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Scotland and England. Our group from Sense was 15 strong, consisting of six adults with deafblindness and nine people supporting.

Overall, the trip was a wonderful experience for all involved. We overcame delayed flights and a missed fishing trip in the North Sea, but there were many moments of magic and happiness.

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Can sound be made visible? Exploration via sensory marble runs

A boy and girl holding on to a card tube, held up beside a wall and painted in red light

How can sound be made visible and tangible to young people with sensory impairments? As artists, that’s the challenge we set ourselves with a collaboration between Sense and the British Library, taking inspiration from its enormous sound archive.

My name is Emma McGarry and I am a visual artist. I have been working on a Sense and British Library collaboration to deliver an exciting eight-month project with a group of young people with sensory impairments.

Every month, myself and Judith Brocklehurst – another artist working with the British Library – come together to meet with young people who have sensory impairments and complex needs, at one of the Sense Centres in Barnet.

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