Creative Minds was started in 2013 by a group of learning disabled artists and performers who felt that their work was not being taken seriously.
They organised an event at Brighton Dome bringing together arts organisations, venues and producers, universities and colleges and arts critics and many other learning disabled artists and performers. They wanted to look at how they could improve their relationship with the wider arts world.
(photo Martin Livesey)
Since then there have been three other conferences in Bristol (2014), Ipswich (2015) and Manchester (2017). We are now planning a conference in Birmingham along with smaller events in other parts of the country. The Birmingham conference will have a specific youth focus and is called “Creative Minds – A Better Generation”. Creative Minds has had an active role in a number of other conferences and seminars. Additionally we have a team of learning disabled writers who review performances and exhibitions of work by disabled and non-disabled companies, artists and performers. Next year we will be developing Creative Minds Phase Two to further the conversation between the learning disability arts sector and the wider arts world.
Our last event in Birmingham was attended by representatives from venues and arts organisations across the spectrum of art including visual art, theatre, music and dance. It was very different from all of the preceding events and was planned by a group of young learning disabled and non-disabled people working together.
Creative Minds Midlands was produced by Open Theatre Company and Carousel in collaboration with the following organisations from across the region:
BecauseWeCanCanCan, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Culture Coventry, Freefall Dance Company, Hubbub Theatre Company, LEVEL, mac Birmingham and Spectra.
We are not planning any future Creative Minds events at the moment though will continue to be involved in other seminars and conferences and are mentoring a similar project in Sweden and are beginning discussions in Ireland.