Harrow students changing minds about disability through creative arts
Create’s multi-artform Showcase by students in Harrow challenged preconceptions about children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The event at Harrow Arts Centre on Tuesday 20 June showcased artwork and performances from the changing:minds project designed and run by Create.
Five SEND (special educational needs and disability) schools and units came together for this unique event which brought together students ranging from 5 to 19 years old at primary and secondary schools. The students showcased and performed works in five different artforms – animation, ceramics, drama, music and painting – all on the theme of “Harrow: My Local Community”.
Launched in 2019, changing:minds uses visual and performing arts to enable children at all five SEND schools/units in the London Borough of Harrow to develop new skills, new relationships and enhanced confidence. The project gives disabled children the opportunity to explore their creativity in high-quality workshops led by Create’s professional artists.
why does it matter?
Disabled people remain significantly less likely to participate in cultural, leisure and sporting activities than non-disabled people. According to Scope, 24% of disabled people have experienced attitudes or behaviours where other people expected less of them because of their disability.
The title changing:minds was deliberately chosen for this programme to reflect the challenges faced by disabled people and perceptions of their capabilities. By presenting their creative work at an annual Showcase at Harrow Arts Centre, it aims to change perceptions around disability within families and the wider community.
what have people said about the projecT?
Concert pianist and Create Patron Nicholas McCarthy has said: “It was truly amazing to see the scale of talent of the children involved, their imaginations and their engagement in the workshop. For me as a Patron of this charity [this project] confirmed to me the need for people to have creative outlets at all stages of life, especially when we collectively face the difficulties that we have all faced of late.”
A parent who attended a previous Showcase said: “I thought the Showcase was marvellous. I believe children gain so much from art and drama. It should be accessible to all, especially to SEN children. This was so inspiring.”
Create’s Founding Chief Executive, Nicky Goulder, commented: “This event is a wonderful celebration of the local community and of the talents of the students involved. No one should be denied access to the creative arts. Creativity allows us to think differently, to express ourselves, and to be heard. This Showcase is a reminder that the life-enriching power of the creative arts is for everyone.”
changing:minds is funded by John Lyon’s Charity with support from Harrow Music Service.