DIY Artists & Leaders lead the way at Greater Manchester Universities

Photo: DIY Artists & Leaders lead the way at Greater Manchester Universities

‘Thanks to everyone at DIY for welcoming us in, this has been one of my favourite experiences during medical school…The people have all been fantastic and had a huge impact on me. Keep on being the amazing, inspiring people you are!”
Medical Student, University of Manchester

This Spring term, DIY’s Core Company and Gamechangers have been working with students at both the University of Salford and University of Manchester.

DIY regularly runs workshops for universities. Working with students is such a great opportunity to influence the practice of people who will be working in the cultural and health sectors in the future. We really enjoy meeting and working with different people and sharing our practice with them!

In the first months of 2024, DIY has been building on our positive relationships with University of Salford. Here we work across the schools of Arts, Media and Creative Technology and Health and Society. DIY has a very positive relationship with University of Salford and are Associate Artists of the New Adelphi Theatre.

photo; 7 young adults are in a room with chairs and different props. Most people are sitting holding different things. In the foreground a woman is holding up a large piece of see-through blue fabric the other end of which is attached to a chair. A man is standing holding a wooden object and a drum stick.

Leading the way to create multi-sensory theatre

I learnt about sensory theatre – I had not heard or experienced this before”
Drama student, University of Salford

On Monday 29th January DIY’s Core Company were really excited to visit the University of Salford once again to run a session with drama students taking part in the Theatre and Communities Module.

I really enjoyed how interactive the whole session was and getting to work with new people. I learnt how to create an interactive and interesting piece of theatre”
Drama student, University of Salford

We ran a three-hour sensory theatre session, during which DIY performers introduced students to our multi-sensory and immersive theatre-making. We started the session by introducing the principles of this work and then shared our current performance piece Hanging by a Thread. After experiencing the show, students were invited to work with DIY artists to create and share their own ideas for creating multi-sensory environments. As always, we were amazed by the creative ideas that emerged during the session.

As you can see from the reaction of our students, it has transformed their ideas of working with individuals with an intellectual disability while also teaching them vital new skills in theatre making and facilitation”
Sheila McCormick, Senior Lecturer, University of Salford.

photo: we are looking into a large room. There are many groups of 2 people sitting facing each other. The two sitting nearest us are mirroring each other, holding one hand up and the other hand forward.

Occupational Therapy students explore areas of positive and inclusive communication with DIY Gamechangers

Leading the way on the social model of health

I learnt the difference between the social model and medical model of disability, and how important it is to know someone we are working with as a whole person’
OT student, University of Salford

On 5th and 12th February, DIY was back at the University of Salford running sessions for Occupational Therapy (OT) Students in the School of Health and Society as part of their ‘Communication’ module.

DIY Gamechangers co-lead two full-day sessions involving over 30 Occupational Therapy students. We explored the areas of positive and inclusive communication and the Five Ways to Wellbeing. To begin Gamechangers introduced the OT Students to the Social Model of Health. They went on to explore the importance of people within the medical professions working directly with people with lived experience of learning disability. Feedback from the sessions were very positive and students appreciated the creative way they were run.

The whole thing was made fun, inclusive and the approach was very friendly” OT Student, University of Salford

The sessions helped me realise just how important Lived Experience is’ – OT student

“I think the sessions were great and really useful in helping the students think about barriers to communication and feel what it is like to be led in an activity that is challenging and hopefully inspiring.”
Rowan Morris, Teaching and Learning Fellow, School of Health and Society, University of Salford


DIY will be back at University of Salford in June when we will be hosting our “Exploring our Pasts, Shaping our Futures” Event in the New Adelphi Theatre. The University is generously supporting the event as part of our “Whose Art, Whose Culture” event. More details to follow shortly…..


photo: we can see a number of people in a room. They are posing; a man is down on one leg pretending to drive, while other people in the room are all doing different things with their arms.

Leading the way – sharing the importance of Lived Experience with medical students

The space DIY creates is extremely special and completely unique. Nothing I’ve ever experienced before but something everyone should experience to create a less divided society.”
Medical Student, University of Manchester

As well as DIY’s work at the University of Salford, each year our Leaders are involved in running arts and health training for Medical students at the University of Manchester.

Across a series of sessions, our Gamechangers introduce students to the Social Model of Health and the Five Ways to Wellbeing. We introduce each of the ways to wellbeing through a series of practical games and exercises and then go on to explore their relevance to Social Prescribing and evaluation of Creative Health projects. These sessions are fun, but they are also really important as they offer a unique opportunity for DIY members to share their lived experience of learning disability with the medical professionals of the future.

I think everyone can learn something from DIY’s sessions. The world would be a much nicer space if everyone had the opportunity to come.”
Medical Student, Manchester University


DIY regularly runs workshops and training days for people working in, or training to work in, the cultural and health sectors. Please visit our Training for Practitioners page for more information.


logos of the funders who are supporting this work; the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund

Thanks to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund for their support of our ambitious Gamechangers and Leading Edge Programmes.