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  • Date: 7 September 2009
  • Artform: None
  • Area: Midlands

First Movement, which opened in November 2008 with a £0.8 million Arts Council grant, is an arts organisation dedicated to developing high-quality arts projects with people with learning disabilities.

Designed by Clash Associates, it operates long-term projects in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland with occasional work across the region. It creates opportunities for adults with severe and profound learning disabilities to work together to develop and promote their creativity through the arts.

Level is a radical, live arts collaboration between learning disabled people living miles apart. Using video conferencing, large-scale projection and new technologies it creates a single, virtual arts space in which participants create and perform with people they would otherwise never meet.

Sue Kershaw, mother of one of the participants, says: ‘My daughter is severely disabled but she shines in there because the building has given her the opportunity to express herself. The Level Centre has helped her to come alive. As soon as she goes in she sings. Her eyes sparkle when she integrates with others, and she thinks it's wonderful.’

The project provides a custom-built home for First Movement in Rowsley with fully accessible studios for practical arts work. It houses new digital arts technology with studio space for local creative industries. Additionally the project includes a mobile studio, which will travel around the East Midlands extending opportunities for people with access needs.

Visit First Movement online at