Spearheading Access for All

Planet Inclusivity in the making

CRW has received a grant from Arts Counci England to Spearhead Inclusive Arts in Oxford

We have been awarded a grant of £82,292 from Arts Council England to drive forward inclusion in the Arts over a nine- month programme of work.

Partnering with the ARK T Centre in Cowley to help train and increase the skills and opportunities for young disabled people to work within the Arts. The funding will support access, development, training and performance in visual and carnival art, performance and dance.

There is an urgent need to improve the opportunities for disabled people to get involved and progress in the Arts and we are absolutely determined to do this.

Our ROCKET carnival arts training scheme is providing training for a group of 10 young aspiring artists and help develop their ability and skills as carnival practitioners.

These young artists are being supported as they are training and are working on five commissions and tour performances starting with the Cowley Road Carnival and then to other major national arts festivals including Gloucester Carnival.

The ARK T Centre’s ROARsomes disability arts leadership programme is also being extended to produce the Planet Inclusive zone at Carnival in addition to curating a visual carnival arts exhibition at the ROAR festival in the autumn and collaborating with Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival later in the year.

We are determined to increase artistic representation and participation of disabled people in the Arts in Oxfordshire. Through collaboration with a network of other organisations of all sizes and disciplines we are not only increasing the opportunities and visibility of disabled creative people at public festivals and events we are also helping them to develop into the arts leaders of the future.

This network, the ROAR Partnership is the driving force for the Disability Arts agenda in Oxfordshire and is chaired by Cowley Road Works and The Ark T Centre.

Yasmin Sidhwa, Interim Director, Ark-T Centre, said: “It is wonderful to see the Arts organisations in Oxfordshire becoming more inclusive and bringing disability arts more centrally into their work, since they have been part of the Roar Partnership and met with more organisations working with disabled young people. Ark-T is excited that our partnership with Cowley Road Works is enabling this year’s Roar Festival to happen on Friday 30th August at our centre and also for two amazing disabled stand-up comedians to be programmed at Arts at the Old Fire Station as part of the festival and their commitment to inclusive programming.”

The funding will also help:

  • Support costume and movement workshops for two SEN school groups – Mabel Prichard school and Virtual School for Looked after Children leading to their participation in the Cosmic Cowley Road Carnival procession on 7 July.
  • Thirty young female BAME musicians with the Young Women’s Music Project ‘Team Drum’ (an Oxford-based all-female drum troupe) to work with local designers and make costumes, write and learn five new processional songs for performances at Carnival and other regional festivals.
  • Commission an inclusive dance performance from two local dance companies, Body Politic and Parasol Dance who will be performing in the Disco area with the Arcadia bug sound system on Carnival Day.

Cowley Road Carnival is much more accessible and in 2019 we worked with consultants Attitude is Everything to ensure that the event is as accessible as possible for disabled and Deaf audiences and performers. Staff and volunteers were trained, signage and marketing improved and access to stages and activities on the day.