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HomeNewsGround Breaking Exhibitions Curated by Learning Disabled Adults to Open at Bluecoat

Ground Breaking Exhibitions Curated by Learning Disabled Adults to Open at Bluecoat


Bluecoat has pioneered a ground-breaking approach to exhibition curation by empowering learning disabled adults to put on their own shows.

Watch our film here.

The exhibition will open later this year, curated by Blue Room members, Bluecoat’s service for adults with learning disabilities.

Blue Room gives its members the opportunity to develop creative and social skills and increased independence of thought and action. Using Bluecoat’s gallery exhibitions as inspiration Blue Room members work with our small team of artists, support workers and volunteers to explore different arts activities. These include drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, collage, textiles, film, animation, music, dance and live art.

Bec Fearon, Head of Engagement at Bluecoat said: “Bluecoat seeks to be as inclusive as possible for individuals and communities across Liverpool and beyond. The award winning participation programme, Blue Room, has supported 32 artists with a learning disability to develop their creativity and skills on a weekly basis since 2008.”

Blue Room member Lewis said: “I like to learn new things. I’m working on my own individual project. It makes me feel happy. It’s awesome!”

 As well as exploring exhibitions and making their own visual art at Bluecoat, Blue Room members are involved in three other ground breaking projects:

Out of the Blue, where Blue Room members volunteer to help run after school clubs for children aged 6-11 in Anfield, Everton, Granby, Norris Green and Walton

Arts as Advocacy, where three Blue Room members are working with two members of Halton Speak Out to curate an exhibition at Bluecoat

Inhabit, where five Blue Room members are working with renowned improvised dance practitioner Mary Prestidge, to express themselves through movement

This autumn, Bluecoat is proud to present a programme of two exhibitions and a performance that will share this powerful work with our visitors.

Collaboration: Out of the Blue, the story so far.

Sat 22 Oct 2016 – Sat 19 Nov 2016

Open daily in the Vide, 10am – 6pm. Free.

The exhibition celebrates three years of Bluecoat’s ground breaking participation project Out of the Blue which engages Liverpool children with local adults with learning disabilities through art based projects.

Over the past three years, the project has engaged with over 200 children and families from Norris Green, Walton, Anfield, Granby, Breckfield and Kensington in community-based after school arts clubs, holiday activities and family weekends at Bluecoat.

Activities are inspired by the gallery programme at Bluecoat and seek to develop a deeper connection and understanding for children with contemporary art as well as engaging children and families with learning disabled adults from their communities.

The programme has been funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. A short film about Out of the Blue can be found at:

Join us on Sat 22nd Oct 1 – 4pm for the celebratory launch of the project and meet the artists and families who have made this project a great success. Free, booking required. RSVP to Betty Ritchie to attend this event at betty.r@thebluecoat.org.uk

 Auto Agents

Sat 26 Nov 2016 – Sun 15 Jan 2017

Open daily in the Vide, 10am – 6pm. Free.

Auto Agents is an exhibition curated by five people with learning disabilities working in association with artists from Liverpool’s The Royal Standard studio. Led by project facilitator Jade French, the project will showcase work curated by Leah Jones, Hannah Bellass, Eddie Rauer, Tony Carroll and Diana Disley.

Recruited from Halton Speak Out and Bluecoat’s own Blue Room project, this curatorial collective named ‘AaA’ are curating their own exhibition, opening at Bluecoat on 26 November. The group has visited a vast variety of arts spaces across the city in order to learn from and be inspired by different curatorial styles.

As well as visiting art galleries, they also invited local artists to collaborate with them in their studio as a way to further reflect on different art practices. They have decided to feature the work of James Harper in their exhibition and, with support from Arts Council England, have commissioned a new piece of work from the Royal Standard artist.

 Expanding the Picture

Fri 7 Oct 7pm

Mary Prestidge, a member of Liverpool Improvisation Collective, presents an evening of movement based performance. Prestidge will share the evening with a small group of members from Blue Room with whom she has been working closely since June. This event is part of INHABIT, bringing new dance to Bluecoat with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Tickets: £3/£2 available from Bluecoat 0151 702 5324 or visit www.thebluecoat.org.uk