Projects and Events

In addition to our year round programmes Open Arts runs additional stand-alone participatory projects. The purpose of these projects is to engage more disabled people in the arts including children and young people. We continuously grow and develop artistic programmes to respond to changing needs and interests.

You can find more information about our past projects here.

“Open Arts ‘does what it says on the tin.’ Other Arts programmes in which I have been involved do the term ‘arts’ a disservice in terms of people with varying abilities. The Open Arts programme is warm, inclusive and very professionally guided.”

Living in a Box

Living in a Box is a unique film collage reflecting on creativity and connection during lockdown by Open Arts participants. In their individual boxes on screen but still together: laughing, supporting and encouraging each other. The film showcases the importance of individuals’ artistic expression and shared creative experience through the most difficult of times. You can watch the video on our YouTube channel below.

You can watch the audio described version of our Living in a Box film in the video below.

In Tune

‘In Tune’ is our music project for children and young people who have either autism or who are blind or partially sighted. It started as a pilot project with one year funding from BBC Children in Need in 2015. The success of the first year, working with our partners Angel Eyes NI and Autism Initiatives NI led to securing 3-year funding for the project. In 2019 we were successful in securing another three years from BBC Children in Need. 

The project provides an opportunity for participants to gain skills in particular instruments and also experience the joy of playing group music. Participants have the chance to work with a high-quality team of musicians who have numerous specialties including Gamelan, flute, tin whistle, violin, guitar, percussion, keyboards, music technology and singing.

Our partners assist the project by recruiting participants from their client base, delivering specialist training for our musicians and supporting the children and young people during the sessions.

"In Tune is a great place for a child with different needs to mix with peers in a safe, encouraging and fun environment. It fosters the development of social skills and it models inclusion – all through the medium of music, movement and dance."

Reminiscence in Song

In this project, artists engaged groups of older people from Abbeyfield Belfast Society houses in reminiscence and song writing workshops. These led to the creation of a piece of creative writing and two new songs “When I was a child” and “Happy Landings”. You can listen to these two songs in the videos below.

Zoom Fest 21!

From 22nd March until 1st April 2021 we hosted a series of workshops on Zoom. The workshops were for anyone over 18, with a disability and did not currently attend any of Open Arts activities. All the workshops were free, but some of the workshops happened over two sessions.

Zoom Fest logo

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