People with sensory impairments invited to participate in Sensibility Festival

The national disability charity, Sense, in partnership with Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), is inviting people with sensory impairments and complex needs to participate in a major new programme: Sensibility, aimed at making art more accessible to people with sensory impairments by changing the way art is made.

How do you experience art if you don’t know what art is? Sense’s Sensibility project aims to answer this question by exploring how art is experienced by people with sensory impairments, and using this knowledge to build a new way of making art – which puts sensory experiences at the heart of the process.

The programme is co-directed by Graeae Theatre and Stephanie Singer (BitterSuite). Four artists, Justin Wiggan, Saranjit Birdi, Lyn Cox and Becca Thomas (InterAction), have been commissioned to develop art with people with sensory impairments, and both the process and results of these pioneering collaborations will be shared with the wider arts sector at the inaugural Sensibility Festival in May 2018.

The festival, which will be hosted at Touchbase Pears & MAC Birmingham, will invite audiences and art makers into an experiential world dedicated to exploring, listening to and savouring the details of the bodily experience. It promises to be a combination of commissioned work, guest speakers, artists and a sensory installation co-created by the Sensibility participants.

Stephanie Tyrrell, National Art Manger at Sense, said:

“The programme will challenge conventions of established art making methods and provide progressive, socially engaged, experimental art opportunities that nurture and inspire the creative potential of people with sensory impairments and complex needs and the wider artistic community.

We hope that it will enhance creative opportunities for people with complex needs, which will in turn enrich current contemporary art.”

Funded by Arts Council England, the programme has already received attention for two summer events: ‘Descriptive Realities’, a digital installation for the Birmingham Weekender, which invited customers at John Lewis to experience how people with sensory impairments experience the world; and ‘Kinesthesia’, which brought together professional dance artists and participants to explore dynamic practice for Inclusive Dance 2017.

Sense would like to hear from people with sensory impairments and complex needs who are interested in participating in the project, through exhibitions, workshops and performances. For more information or to get involved contact