Language and labels in the arts to be discussed

Families participating in one of Evolve's workshops at Aspex GalleryFamilies participating in one of Evolve's workshops at Aspex Gallery
Families participating in one of Evolve's workshops at Aspex Gallery
ARTS venues from across the city are teaming up later this month for day-long discussion to discuss the use of language and labels when working with people who have special needs and disabilities.

Aspex Gallery, New Theatre Royal and the Portsmouth Cultural Trust, which runs Portsmouth Guildhall, have been working together on Evolve, which has aimed to provide opportunities for people of all ages, living with a disability or autism, across a range of art forms, from visual arts, to performance and music.

Throughout a one-year pilot project, which kicked off last February and has been funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, they have been developing exhibitions, workshops and residencies across the three venues.

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Vicky Chapter, participation and learning manager at Aspex, said: ‘One of the biggest challenges we have faced throughout this project has been around the language we use and labels that we put on both ourselves and others we work with.

‘This has led us to question how mainstream organisations can effectively support artists, improve accessibility for audiences and embed diversity within our work without the use of labels.’

Speakers include director of Aspex Joanne Bushnell; Jo Verrent from Unlimited; artist Jon Adams, artist; Sara Baldwin from the Funky Llama Project; New Theatre Plymouth; director of Creative Future Dominique De-Light; StopGap and director of project artworks Kate Adams.

Ruth Kapadia, relationship manager for diversity of Arts Council England will also be discussing the Arts Council’s approach to identity and labels when working with artists and audiences with disabilities, as well as the results of the recent diversity in the arts workforce survey, relating to barriers to participation.

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The day will also feature two performances from Blue Apple, a disability dance company from Winchester and Drake Music, an organisation working in music, disability and technology.

The Evolve symposium takes place on January 24 from 10am to 5pm.

Tickets cost £20, including lunch, from the NTR box office on (023) 9264 9000 or go to

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