Spotlight on Amy – Transforming Leadership

Photo: Spotlight on Amy – Transforming Leadership

I am a part of Transforming Leadership. It is run by a drama company in London called Access All Areas.”
Amy, DIY performer and leader

2 logos; 'DIY Leading Edge' with lots of stick people, some in a wheelchair, holding up each other and the words in a mix of bright colours and 'Transforming Leadership National' all in capitals and in bright orange.

Two of DIY’s Gamechangers are part of a national initiative to develop learning disabled and autistic cultural leadership. Called Transforming Leadership, the initiative is being led by a network of eight Learning Disability Arts organisations including DIY Theatre. It is part of  DIY’s ambitious Employability and Community Engagement programme Leading Edge.

Transforming Leadership is all about:

  • Sharing skills and best practise in co-directing and inclusive governance amongst all partners
  • Creating training and pathways for learning disabled and autistic leaders in co-directing and governance.
  • Developing relationships with local arts venues to foster genuine inclusion and representation of learning disabled leaders.
  • The Transforming Leadership initiative is supporting two DIY leaders through funded training opportunities. Charlotte is following a co-directing route and Amy is following a governance route.

photo: 3 women are sitting in a semi-circle smiling at the camera. They are in a large room and all wearing red lanyards.

During Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024, Amy has been on placement at The Lowry. She has been working with Emma Underwood, The Lowry’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, with the support of DIY artist Georgia.

As a long-standing member of DIY’s member-led Board, Amy is part of the policies group which creates Easy Read documents for DIY’s policies. Through this experience Amy has been able to advise The Lowry about developing accessible formats for their policies.

Amy recently made a presentation to The Lowry’s Access Group about the processes she has been involved in and the learning that has come out of the placement so far. She has agreed to share her presentation with us.

Over to Amy:

As part of Transforming Leadership I am on a placement with Emma. I have been to lots of different meetings. I am also working on the Lowry’s policies to make them Easy Read.

powerpoint screen 'on the left is a photo of people sitting around a small table looking at sheets of paper. On the right is a photo of a woman in a pink hoodie holding her finger to her forehead. There is a thought bubble '???'.

What is an Easy Read document?

An Easy Read document is one with less words and shorter words, and has photos or pictures. It is helpful for people who struggle with reading English.

powerpoint screen 'The arts have paved the way for change for centuries, often at the forefront of the march for equality.' the words 'centuries', 'forefront' and equality' are highlighted with green.

How do you do an Easy Read document?

I look at one paragraph at a time. Often there are lots of words in it.

I read it through with Georgia to understand it.

Then I split it into little parts.

Any words I don’t understand I highlight.

I change these to different, shorter words that fit and sometimes move the sentence around.

For example we changed

  • ‘The arts have paved the way for change for centuries, often at the forefront of the march for equality.’


  • ‘The arts have helped change lots of things, and they’ve helped make things better and more equal.’

powerpoint screen 'The arts have paved the way for change for centuries, often at the forefront of the march for equality.' then there is a blue arrow underneath and then more writing "The arts have helped change lots of things, and they've helped make things better and more equal."

What do you add once you have done the words?

I find photos or pictures to make it clearer. I like to use a website called Photosymbols. I really enjoy this bit.

What is your top tip for people making their own policies?

If you are writing your own policies, use short words so everyone can understand.


How have you found working at The Lowry?

Working in the HR office at The Lowry has been fantastic. But at first, I found it really hard because there was too much information to take in. Going to meetings was hard at first, like going to two meetings back-to-back was too much information to take in.

What have you enjoyed in the meetings?

I’ve enjoyed finding ways to make the meetings easier and talking to Emma about this. I really enjoyed last week when Emma asked me to speak up in the Steering Group.

Next … I will be working on The Lowry’s EDI [Equality, Diversity and Inclusion] Plans. I will be sharing my ideas with Emma for things like Disability History Month.



Arts Council England logo


Thanks to Arts Council England for their support for the Transforming Leadership Initiative.


The National Lottery Community Fund logo


Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund for their support of our ambitious Leading Edge Programme.