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Arts and disability in the south east

  • Date: 31 March 2011
  • Artform: None
  • Area: South East
Man in glasses stood infrom of painting of coloured squares Fred Mazzio with his abstract Magic Squares painting, 2008, courtesy of Project Art Works

Three south east arts organisations that are recognised for their exceptional work with people with learning disabilities or complex needs are joining the Arts Council's new national portfolio.

Project Art Works in East Sussex, StopGAP Dance Company in Surrey and Carousel in Brighton & Hove have all been awarded funds to continue their excellent programmes of work. All three will have core funding for the next three years, from 2012.

Beacons of excellence

The three disability arts organisations are all small organisations that started initially as community or grass roots projects, and have grown their models to become national 'beacons of excellence'.

StopGAP Dance Company

Surrey-based StopGAP Dance Company is an integrated dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers which tours productions that celebrate difference and diversity nationally and internationally.

The company has a strong track record of reaching wide ranging audiences. We are funding StopGAP to produce and tour three new productions nationally and internationally with work also linked to the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.

Project Art Works

Project Art Works is an artist-led organisation based in Hastings that uses responsive and collaborative practice in its visual art-based projects with people who have complex and high support needs.

The organisation has developed a programme of work that embraces and addresses the social, cultural and political context for disabled children, young people, adults, families and carers affected by complex impairments.

Carousel

Brighton-based Carousel facilitates people with learning disabilities to achieve their potential through the arts. It is known for its award-winning Oska Bright Film Festival, which is run by and for people with a learning disability, and the south east's first monthly club night for disabled people, The Blue Camel Club, which is still going strong after a decade.

Carousel's work with people with learning disabilities includes providing participatory multi-artform activities, self advocating workshops, training and performance opportunities for artists and participants. The organisation has been identified by the Arts Council as a model of good practice in diversity nationally.

Part of its programme will include organising a national conference to increase understanding and critical debate on reviewing artistic output by learning disabled people, which will help raise the profile of learning disabled produced work.

Its funding also supports developing accessible tools for music and film production and will enable the organisation to work with venues on how to engage learning disabled audiences.

We are excited about working with all three organisations in the coming years, continuing to nurture their talent and investing in the difference their work makes to people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Find out more about dance, music and visual arts in Arts Council's new national portfolio.