Project information

Providing access to the arts for disabled children

Our pilot programme in 2016 to deliver three arts engagement opportunities for children with physical and/or sensory disabilities and their families was very successful. We now want to build on this and make it a regular part of our arts programming throughout the year.

February 2017 - October 2017

Charity information

House of Illustration

House of Illustration logo
  • Need


    Many disabled children and their families struggle to access the arts and all those who attended our 2016 pilot events said how welcome the opportunities we provided were, enabling the children to enjoy arts workshops often for the first time. We want to ensure that our exhibitions are as accessible as possible to disabled people with a wide range of needs including hearing loss, visual impairment, physical disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder.


    We will deliver a programme of accessible family workshops in half terms and the summer holiday in 2017 with a range of exciting practical activities for deaf and disabled children and their families, delivered by experienced professional illustrators and accessible to all. We will recruit workshop facilitators and helpers who are themselves disabled. We will also deliver three days of BSL interpreted gallery tours in 2017 - one per main exhibition - with 3 tours per day.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To develop an ongoing, illustration-focused strand of arts activity for disabled children.


    » Research, consult and plan suitable illustration workshop activities for disabled participants with various needs.
    » Run 5 varied days of illustration workshop activities for children with disabilities and their families in three half terms and the summer holidays.

    Success will be to fill all 5 one-day workshops - plus parents, siblings, carers - and to receive qualitative feedback enabling us to further develop this as a regular strand

    Aim 2

    To develop an specific strand of illustration workshop activities for hearing impaired children.


    » Consult with hearing impaired children and families as to what they would most like from these tours.
    » Run three days of BSL-interpreted gallery tours throughout the year - one per main exhibition - with 3 tours per day.
    » We are keen to disseminate our experiences of this work to other arts organisations via blogs and speaking at conferences such as Creative Minds.

    Success will be to run three BSL-interpreted gallery days and to receive qualitative feedback from hearing impaired children and carers.

  • Impact


    This project will enable us to identify and to address the needs of disabled children with various needs who are significantly disadvantaged in terms of access to the arts and creative opportunities. Success will be to build a regularly attended workshop programme and gallery tours and to gain a positive endorsement and promotion from local disability charity Kids and local disability-led arts organisation Shape.


    1. People not knowing about the workshops. Building a regular offer will ensure more effective marketing and post-pilot we have built up a database. We have strong links to local disability charity Kids, who will promote our offer, and links with Frank Barnes School for the deaf who will promote our hearing impaired workshops.

    2. People may attend with needs we are not prepared for. We will ensure flexible, experienced staffing and ask parents to explain their child's needs fully when booking


    Funders of this project will receive an update report on the project giving an evaluation of both the workshop days, and the BSL interpreted tours. This will include feedback, outcomes, photographs and information on how this work will inform future programming.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £14,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £3,500 Workshops Workshop leaders and assistants inc documentation
      £2,000 Project management Freelance project manager x 10 days
      £3,750 BSL interpreters BSL interpreters
      £1,050 Gallery entry Gallery entry for 150 participants
      £750 Materials workshop materials and equipment
      £1,000 Marketing Design and print of marketing materials
      £1,950 Staff/overheads Head of education, marketing assistant, volunteer expenses, running costs
  • Background


    House of Illustration is a new gallery and education space centrally located at the heart of the King's Cross regeneration area. It is in the borough of Camden and on the border with Islington - two boroughs with wards with high indexes of deprivation. Local Camden disabled charity Kids has identified a significant number of families in the local area with children with disabilities. Our nearest school is Frank Barnes School for the Deaf with whom we are building a close relationship.


    Key beneficiaries will be disabled and hearing impaired children and their families who are currently not well provided for in terms of access to the arts and art activities. Illustration is a powerful communication tool which can provide inclusive, stimulating and creative opportunities for this audience. We believe that our work will promote confidence, creative development and provide an enjoyable experience for families to learn a variety of new skills together in holiday times.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only organisation using illustration as a cross-curricular learning tool, and we have developed a strong reputation for our formal/informal education work with people of all ages. All our projects are delivered by professional illustrators with experience in meeting the needs of disabled children. As a visual communication tool, illustration is a powerful way to reach hearing impaired children, and an engaging and accessible introduction to the arts for children with special needs.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Emily Jost

    Emily is our head of education and she has been responsible for building the reputation of our education and outreach work over the past five years.

    Monique Jivram

    Monique is a professional illustrator who has extensive experience in working with disabled children via her work with disability charity Shape Arts.

    Becky Hurst

    Becky is an illustrator and theatre designer who delivered a successful House of Illustration outreach project at special needs school John Chilton.

    Sarah Underwood

    Sarah is a hearing impaired illustrator. She was Highly Commended in the Unilever Creative Conscience Awards for her work with us in 2016.

"Our son loves art but it's hard to take him to mainstream workshops because he finds them so difficult - he feels left out because he can't communicate with the other children. We weren't sure how he'd take today but he absolutely loved it! Thank you"

Parent of child at one of our pilot workshops for disabled children in 2016