We are an innovative, forward-thinking organisation – and prepared to take risks. We are always trying out new ideas that push the boundaries of existing work in our field. Our aim is to create programmes which are clearly informed by the experience of our service users and develop art projects that address specific living situations or highlight a particular social concern.
We are in a continual process of working out the best way to support individuals through a period of extensive change. Change in both the way that they are cared for and the way that that care is funded. To explore and pre-empt some of these changes, in a way that allows us to test and challenge traditional understanding of the arts within a disability context we have created an experimental zone.
It’s a space in which we have the time to learn. Its not about short term projects or quick fixes. Its an area of exploration, in which we try out many different approaches, collaborating with others from fields as diverse as engineering and social care. Most importantly its about questioning and revisiting the purpose of each approach, ensuring its continued relevance to the people we work with.
Currently, this involves people with severe/profound learning disabilities, parents, carers, care workers, artists, computer engineers, architects, sound engineers, doctors, psychologists…. you name it. We call them Ideas Teams, because they encourage people to work together pooling their particular skills, knowledge and experience to come up with creative and practical ideas or solutions to very specific needs. For example a team of speech therapists, carers, artists, musicians, psychologists and a mother working together to create a sound table which will allow one individual to communicate on his own very particular terms.
This is an ongoing process, we are constantly learning, reworking, challenging, questioning, with each approach informing what we do next. This not only benefits the individual, it also benefits their wider circles, from fellow service users to parents to support structures and the actual day services that they use.