Creating Communities – Outcomes

Lifelong Learning Programme

Aim

To create opportunities for people with physical disabilities to work together through performing and creative arts, developing greater understanding of cultural diversity and raising awareness of disability equality through community arts events in each partner country.

Partners

  • National Star College, Cheltenham, UK
  • Moment Arts Dansa and Teatre, Valencia, Spain
  • Adana Gönüllü Engelliler Derneği, Adana, Turkey
  • Mestské divadlo – Divadlo z Pasáže, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia

Events

Crossroads: Dance workshops and public performances in Valencia, Spain


This series of dance master classes with a professional choreographer developed themes around integration and movement while exploring disability. It enabled participants to integrate and develop their cultural understanding of each other through non-verbal communication. Rehearsals for a 45 minute dance performance to an audience of 120 people from the local community explored disability equality through integrated dance.

What participants said…

‘The performance of ‘Crossroads’ was breath-taking, engrossing and emotional. Everyone was pleased with the performance and the response from a packed theatre. There was a happy, excitable and good humoured release of tension from all the work. Crying and laughing, compliments and hugs. There was a shared belief and purpose fulfilled.’

‘This is what Creating Communities and ‘Crossroads’ is all about – connecting people. Great atmosphere. I don’t want it to end’ – Cally, UK participant.

‘This is not the end. I’ll be back. I want to keep on dancing’ – Rob, UK participant, who later in the project self-funded his return to Valencia to take part in the final mobility in July 2014.

Character: Dance workshops and public performance in Cheltenham, UK


This series of multi-disciplined workshops with professional practitioners covered art, music, drama and dance. Building on the ‘Crossroads’ performance in Valencia, partners explored disability through integrated dance and performance. In addition, movement was explored through music and art with participants creating the performance identity through from the performance poster, ceramic gifts, the music and the performance itself. The final performance was over one hour, and performed to an audience of 100 from the local community in the Star Theatre.

What the audience said…

‘I was transported. Quite extraordinary and beautiful. Thank you.’

‘So much work in one week – fantastic.’

‘Wow! More than I would ever have expected. I was blown away.’

‘Beautiful performance – impressive quality. So much ‘creative ability’ on show.’

‘A perfect example of how participation in the ‘arts’ brings people together and enables individuals and groups to explore and express creativity. I only witnessed ability tonight. Disability? Just a word.’

Balance:  Drama workshops and performance, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia

Balance entailed working with drama professionals using a range of performance techniques and resources to develop themes about integration, communication and disability. Participants improvised and performed their work on the stage and in community gardens in Banska Bystrica.

‘Working collaboratively with like-minded professionals broadened my understanding of working in a community setting’ -Teacher.

‘It was amazing to see our students grow in confidence and blossom in an unfamiliar environment’ – Partnership Support Staff.

‘The buildings, architecture and people were fantastic. The food was good, too. I tried all the local delicacies – and probably ate too much!’ – UK participant.

‘We met lots of new people and everyone was kind. We performed some of our work outside in the community gardens. Little children from a local nursery watched us. It was fun’ – UK.

Colours: Creative arts workshops and public exhibition in Adana, Turkey

Participants worked with practicing professional artists to produce tradition art designs using marbling techniques. Participants were able to work together to create individualised pieces of work and gain a greater understanding of Turkish art and culture. A public art exhibition was held to highlight disability equality and was attended by over 100 people, including representatives from local government, the army and members of the local community.

What participants said…

‘Our Turkish hosts were amazing. So attentive and supportive and keen to make our stay productive and interesting. As well as working hard during the workshops we were introduced to so many people linked to the arts base – and their families. We were included in to the normality of everyday Turkish life which was a real eye opener. We witnessed a political protest linked to education cuts and encountered Kurdish and Syrian refugees. We were introduced to mountains of Turkish traditional food – and made new friends’UK Participant

‘All five of us enjoyed the Adana experience. We were treated like royalty’ – UK Participant

‘The exhibition was lively, busy and was attended by the local community alongside the army, politicians, doctors, councillors and VIP’s. Morgan, Sarah and Simon were hugely proud to see their work exhibited to so many people. The exhibition carried on for another week after we left so even more people would have seen our work’ – UK Teacher

‘I gave it everything for this trip. I felt lucky to have this opportunity, so made the most of it. I met so many different people and tried to speak the language too’ – Morgan, UK Participant

The End: A series of dance and performance workshops and final public performance in the Plaza de la Virgen, Valencia, Spain


As a finale to the programme, elements from the previous workshops were developed further alongside professional choreographers and dancers. Continuing the exploration of disability and culture, the dance piece was designed by the participants and rehearsed throughout the week. A public performance was held in the Plaza de la Virgen in the centre of Valencia to an audience of over 200 people from the local communities. This brought alive disability awareness and created communities of understanding.

What communities said…

‘I feel the opportunity to learn and dance with different people across different cultures has been an amazing experience. The need for accessible, transparent communication to be understood by all is a hard and constant mountain to climb – but has been met by all teachers and participants. A single example would be when Abel was teaching a floor barre class with adaptations accessible to all. He used whistling while moving to communicate the exercise. This was very accessible across all languages of dance and was the most fitting way to share ideas….’ Luke – UK participant

‘When we watched the performance we forget about disabilities’ – Audience member

‘A good way to get people to consider what is disability’ – Audience member

‘Amazing that people from different countries can move and integrate together’ – Audience member

‘We appreciated the connections the performers had with the dance breaking down barriers’ – Audience member

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