Creative Connections is a community engagement project by Brewery Arts to deliver a range of creative opportunities for a group of adults with learning difficulties at Mill Lane Community Centre in Barrow.
The project involved the group taking part in music, visual art, and drama sessions with freelance practitioners as well as working on a showcase piece with Emily Davies, Brewery Art’s Engagement Officer for Dance.
The project culminated in two celebratory performances, one at Brewery Arts and one at Mill Lane. During these performances, the group rehearsed and showcased a short dance piece in front of small audiences.
The project began following research which identifies a lack of opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to take part in the creative arts, a disparity which only widens as they get older. It started successfully in 2019 but was brought to a hiatus by the pandemic. The resulting lockdown and restrictions resulted in the group not being able to meet for nearly 18 months.
The project was revived in autumn 2022, and was retitled Creative Reconnections, reflecting how the group was now reunited following the prolonged period of separation. Emily Davies’ sessions and the subsequent performances explored the group’s separation during Covid-19 and the joy of reconnecting
The feedback from the staff at Mill Lane Community Centre and the participants was overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s so important for our service users to perform in a professional space because it gives them so much self-worth and really boosts their self-esteem and confidence as well.
“I have enjoyed seeing how their skills progressed throughout the sessions. We all love Emily she is fantastic with our guys and they look forward to the sessions with her. We loved working with Brewery Arts and got so much from the course”. Helen Fowler, Support Worker at Mill Lane Day Centre
Brewery Arts would like to thank The Sir John Fisher Foundation for their grant funding, which made this project possible.