About Project Ability
Project Ability: each week, year round, learning disabled people, people with lived experience of mental ill health, autistic people, people with sensory impairment and people with physical disability come through the door of our accessible art studio to learn, develop, socialise and contribute to Scotland’s ambition as a caring, healthy, vibrant and creative country. Upwards of 300 people attend the studio each week, aged from 5 years old to 80 plus.
Established in 1983, since 2009 we have been based in Trongate 103, a centre for creativity in Glasgow’s merchant city. People attend from all of Glasgow and neighbouring authorities and half of our participants stay in the bottom 20% of Scotland’s most deprived communities. The organisation is led by a small dedicated staff team and the programme is delivered by a team of expert art tutors and a cohort of art students and volunteer artists are recruited twice a year.
Our public gallery showcases a curated programme of artwork – highlighting artists working in our studio and the most innovative and exciting disabled artists in the UK and internationally. We regularly engage with partner organisations, gallerys, art festivals and art fairs to promote the artists and their contribution to the contemporary visual art sector.
For example in recent years we have represented artists at Glasgow International, Manchester Contemporary, University of the Atypical in Belfast and hosted visiting artists from learning disability studios across the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. People access Project Ability to develop their arts practice, improve their skills, meet and work alongside like-minded people, exhibit and sell work. Taking part helps people be more confident, less lonely and connects them to people and places. They contribute to and are validated by the contemporary visual arts community.
Collaboration Idea with China
At this time, now more than ever we value communication and contact with others. We think this would be an outstanding learning opportunity for staff, tutors and participants to connect with an organisation working in a similar field in a different culture. We have strong partnerships with studios in Europe, Australia and North America and understand the importance of networking co-production, exhibiting and promoting disabled artists. We are interested in creative practice in either the learning disability sector and/or mental ill health.
The content of a collaborative project will come from discussion, conversation, and shared learning but we can invite artists from China and artists from Scotland to share stories and information on their life and their culture. Artwork can be exchanged and shared digitally, a project blog will chart the emerging dialogue and capture images of art work produced. A theme might emerge which the artists respond to. We have a gallery in Trongate 103 and can mount a psychical exhibition.
We would like to work with a social care or health care organisation which provides support to people with learning disabilities or people with mental ill health especially of they have a co-existing visual arts programme / arts studio or if they have interest in supporting their clients to develop their creativity for employment or social and emotional benefit. Alternatively a group of artists / arts school who are interested in engaging with community groups for social benefit and who deliver or are setting up programmes for people to work collectively and learn from one another.