Adapt NI Launch Titanic Belfast Exhibition

The disabled access organisation exhibits work produced by young people from Belfast and Strabane at Titanic Belfast

Adapt NI, the voluntary organisation which promotes improved access to arts, community, heritage and leisure venues across Northern Ireland, has launched its annual Artitude exhibition in Titanic Belfast.

Entitled My Journey, the exhibition features work produced by disabled and able-bodied children during summer school workshops in Belfast and Strabane, and will be on display in the Andrews Gallery, Titanic Belfast until October 14.

'It was fantastic to work with so many young people, ranging from six to eight-years-old, during this year's summer schools,' said Claire McGowan, Adapt NI project officer, at the exhibition launch. 'The youth clubs and summer schools in which our workshops took place were very welcoming, and the children learned a lot and got to meet lots of new people.

'The exhibition was funded by BBC Children in Need. It was themed around the children's journeys, into school, to places of leisure, and further ahead, into their adult lives. We encouraged them to express themselves however they wanted, and they produced some very beautiful pieces, from prints and collages to videos and sculptures.'

The 2013 Artitude youth arts scheme attracted 240 young people of all abilities. The scheme works to help young people understand and experience equality through inclusion and to explore artistic skills as a medium to inform and change perceptions on disability, equality and young peoples’ expectations.

Workshops sparked discussion around access, independence and transport issues, inspiring creative imagery and a diverse selection of colourful art works to demonstrate the many interpretations of this year’s theme. 'Therefore, Titanic Belfast seemed like the perfect place to host the exhibition,' added McGowan.

Workshops were programmed from January to August 2013 to enable the development of creative and technical skills, and provide a forum for new partnerships to form where participants of all abilities encouraged and recognised each other’s talent.

All activities were facilitated by experienced Northern Irish artists. Artist Caroline Jeffery captured the tone of the project: ‘Everyone participated with great enthusiasm and really seemed to enjoy themselves,' she said, 'not only in the making but in the discussions the theme generated.'

Adapt NI promotes accessibility to arts centres, theatres, concert halls, libraries, museums and public galleries, community centres and other heritage and leisure venues where social activities take place. They offer advice, training and practical support to venues and organisations seeking to improve accessibility.

For those interested in finding out more about accessibility in venues across Northern Ireland, Adapt NI's Access 400 Database enables users to search venues and find out exactly what provisions are made for disabled visitors. Visit the Adapt NI website for more information.

My Journey is on display in Titanic Belfast until October 14, with free workshops scheduled to take place on October 5 – 6.