Meet Isla and Elias, CREATIVE:CONNECTION participants

creative:connection is Create’s multi-artform programme that brings together disabled and non-disabled children to build connections and break down barriers around disability.

For five days in October 2023, 24 children from Grange Academy (special needs school) and Loreto High School (mainstream school) came together for a music project with Create’s professional musicians Matt Dunn and Holly Marland.

As well as building creativity and social skills, studies show that engaging in music requires focused attention, memory and fine motor skills, which can enhance children’s overall academic performance.

We talked to Isla and Elias* from Loreto High School about their experiences on the project:

Isla (14)

“This project is about working with Grange School to create a beautiful piece of music for [Manchester) Literature Festival. It is a chance to express ourselves through the power of music.

I loved bonding with people and getting to know everyone. And making the music of course. I have learned that it takes a lot of concentration to actually make something really good.


“Working with Grange was a bit overwhelming at first. But then as soon as you get to know the [other children], you get to know that they’re really nice people. It’s a bunch of fun. I really like them.

“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what you look like, what disability you have, everyone has a chance to be successful and great.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity.”

elias (13)

“We’ve been working with some professional singers and we’ve all been making a song to perform at Manchester Central Library on Friday. It’s been very fun, because we get to make our own tunes and everyone listens to our ideas.

“It’s been very fun working with Grange. They’re very fun to make music with because they always listen to our ideas and they’re always helping us. We’re always working as a team, we’re always listening to each other and right now our music is sounding very nice.

“It’s hard to work with them a little bit, but we’ve learnt ways that we can work together as a team. And we learned more stuff about each other because we’re having lots of fun together. Because we’ve been working together a lot, we’ve become friends.

Creative activities can develop a person’s mind. I think I’ve improved a lot. I’ve learnt how good I am at music now. I didn’t know that I was that good!


“Honestly, I’d like more events like these in the future, because they’re really fun.”

creative:connection Manchester was funded by Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, The Tana Trust and an anonymous donor.