We are committed to using art as a way to both engage with people and as a tool to bring about social change. Enabling disabled people and people with mental health difficulties to experience and practice a variety of art forms underpins many areas of our work. In the majority of instances this is the first time they have been exposed to art. As people develop, they see themselves as artists in their own right and as artists first whatever their disability or difficulty. Here are some examples of this work:

Poetry

Poetry works on many levels: it is a powerful way to connect with individuals and communities; it is a fun and memorable way of sharing information and challenging myths and prejudice and it takes the individual on a personal journey where they find a new form of self-expression. You can find our series of poetry books here:

       

Visual arts

We use a range of visual art in our work. Here are some examples of past projects:

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap worked with disabled and non-disabled young people aged 8-11 to explore differences and similarities through visual arts. Accessibility was a key feature of this project as we were committed to ensuring every young person had the opportunity to experience art. Those young people who used wheelchairs and struggled to use their hands with the art materials, had balls dipped in paint tied to their wheels and they zoomed across paper creating their own art works. The evaluation of this work showed that young people see more similarities than differences.

Let us Spray

We wanted to find ways to engage with young men aged 9-16 with learning difficulties and disabilities who generally had expressed little interest in the arts. Having used graffiti in other projects and knowing how young men in particular seemed to like working with this media and putting this together with a reclaimed car donated by local police, the Let us Spray project was born. Working with graffiti artists alongside Changing Our Lives team members, we facilitated a series of workshops where young men expressed ideas about their lives and what was important to them both in words and through graffiti. The end product was graffiti car which was displayed in a local art gallery and became a talking point for weeks.

Drama

Working with both young people and adults, we find drama a really accessible and fun way to not only develop individuals but also as a tool to challenge attitudes and educate. In the past few years, we have developed 2 drama projects: 'Young Women and Theatre' working with young disabled women to identify and showcase issues affecting their lives with Janice Connelley, Birmingham based actress and a Hate Crime Road Show with local theatre company.

 If you would like to find out more about our arts work, please call us on 0300 302 0770 or email us at [email protected]