- May 2, 2017
In the depths of Community Base on Queens Road, arts charity Carousel has just added another award to its trophy shelf. Curing Perfect, an online game that puts users in the place of someone with a disability, won Best Mobile App at the Sussex Digital Awards in April. The game’s arts-driven challenge to the status quo is typical of Carousel’s approach to working with learning disabled artists (www.curingperfect.com).
It’s estimated that 15% of the UK’s population have a learning disability and for many the opportunity to work in any capacity is fraught with complications. For learning disabled creative, getting yourself recognised as an artist and having your work taken seriously is a major hurdle. Over the 30+ years that Carousel has been operating things have got better; diversity and inclusion are now key national issues, but there is still much to do.
All of Carousel’s work originates from the ideas and passions of the learning disabled artists it works with in film, music, radio, performance, visual and digital arts.
The biennial Oska Bright Film Festival (15-17 November 2017) is the world’s first and biggest festival showcasing films made by learning disabled people from around the globe. The 2015 Festival won Best Event in the City at the Brighton and Hove Business Awards. This year the festival is programmed by Matthew Hellett, who, with Festival Director Becky Bruzas is on the prestigious Guiding Lights mentorship scheme, the first learning disabled people to be selected. They’ve introduced a Young Oska day to train younger people in film-making and support the next generation of learning disabled auteurs. The Festival is at The Old Market in Hove and early bird tickets will be on sale soon.
There is much to be done to make art matter for everyone
If you’ve ever watched Channel 4’s The Undateables you’ll have followed singer/songwriter Daniel Wakeford’s search for romance. Whilst Daniel does now have a girlfriend, his long-time love is music, and earlier this year he topped the Spotify viral chart for eight weeks – he now has 43,000 fans on Facebook and plays The Great Escape in May.
Daniel’s gigs always sell-out and people all over the country are so keen to see him that Carousel has launched a crowd-funding campaign to support a new tour. There are lots of great perks on offer from £5 and we have until the end of May to raise the cash. Read all about it at bit.ly/DWtourcrowd
So, while the trophy shelf is pretty full (Carousel also won The Everyday Impact Award from the Directory of Social Change this year) there is much to be done to make art matter for everyone.
If you’d like to get involved we’d love to hear from you – we run an annual volunteer training programme that offers practical experience with our artists. Or maybe you know a learning disabled person who harbours artistic ambitions? Go to our website and see what’s on offer. We may be in the basement, but we’re looking at the stars. www.carousel.org.uk