Leading Edge is DIY’s ambitious Employability and Community Engagement programme for leaders with lived experience of learning disability. It began in September 2022 and will be funded for three years by the National Lottery Community Fund.
DIY Leaders are people who use their lived experience of learning disability to shape and co-lead creative projects that directly benefit other people with learning disabilities.
Leading Edge enables DIY Leaders to develop their employability skills and access volunteering and supported employment opportunities in lots of different settings.
- running drama workshops with children and young people with learning disabilities in local schools
- working with adults with learning disabilities to develop creative community projects
- training professionals like teachers, arts practitioners, doctors and other health professionals to make their practice more inclusive and accessible.Leading Edge Projects to date
DIY’s Leading Edge began in September 2022. So far projects include leading sessions at:
Burnley Youth Theatre
3 DIY Leaders co-led two training / support sessions for staff at Burnley Youth Theatre in November and December of 2022.
DIY Theatre delivered 2 fantastic training sessions with Burnley Youth Theatre. One for our whole team around inclusion, accessibility, language and awareness, and one for our workshop leaders specific to a funded project that aimed to upskill freelancers delivering work with children and young people who have learning difficulties, disabilities and access needs.
Both sessions were professionally planned, coordinated and delivered. The facilitators delivered high quality training and made it accessibly to all staff and freelancers involved. The involvement of disabled co-facilators enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of disability led work and how this works in practise. I would recommend DIY Theatre to any organisation – artistic or not – as a way to better understand the needs of people with disabilities but also on how to make your space more inclusive to everyone’s needs.”
Rachael Bamber, Engagement Manager, Burnley Youth Theatre
3 DIY Leaders co-led a sensory theatre workshop for school staff as part of Salford LCEP’s Creative Directions CPD Programme in January 2023.
University of Salford
DIY Leaders are co-leading 4 sessions for Occupational Therapy Students in February 2023. This will form part of a ‘Communication’ module at University of Salford.
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 Intern, Subject of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Society, University of Salford
Transforming Leadership is an exciting new national initiative to develop learning disabled and autistic cultural leadership. It is being led by Access All Areas and will run until March 2025.
Two DIY leaders are taking part in a funded training opportunity. Charlotte is following a co-directing route and Amy is following a governance route.
The initiative will be led by a network of eight Learning Disability Arts organisations: Access All Areas, Mind-the-Gap, DIY Theatre, Blue Apple Theatre, Unanima, Square Pegs, Prism Arts, Hubbub
Transforming Leadership will:
- Share skills and best practise in co-directing and inclusive governance amongst all partners
- Create training and pathways for learning disabled and autistic leaders in co-directing and governance
- Develop relationships with local arts venues to foster genuine inclusion and representation of learning disabled and autistic leaders.
Our thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund for their support for our ambitious Leading Edge Programme.
Thanks also to Arts Council England for their support for the Transforming Leadership Initiative.