'Up until this last year, my understanding of ‘disabilities’ was very minimal. For a long time, disability was shrouded in this cloud of unknowing, primarily, because my exposure to it was equally as minimal.
I’ve taken away a great many things from working at Turning Tides and its helped to blow away the cloud of unknowing to help me discover a great many things. Perhaps, most importantly:
I am incredibly grateful for the education I have received throughout my life, however looking back I can’t help but think there could have been better experiences with regards to ‘disability’. Working at TTTP has given me knowledge that I believe the wider society lacks. It allowed the cloud, casting an antiquated shadow over disability, to quickly dissipate. I soon realised that ‘disabilities’ were simply differences, that we’re all different and that these idiosyncrasies and differences are qualities that should be cherished as shining beacons of individuality. Issues of ‘capability’ then become null and void when people’s qualities are embraced and projects are presented thoughtfully and appropriately.
The stuffy old stereotype surrounding disability is boring and outdated. We recently premiered our Heritage Project to the community, we perform together as a band all over the South West. We upload and edit podcasts for the world to hear, we’re researching what could make train access across the South West more accessible and we run an entire Tea Rooms teaching valuable skills, such as cooking (that I more than anyone needed). All this was done as a team, ‘with’ not ‘on behalf of‘ individuals with labels.
I am excited to see where the future takes TTTP and I hope they can continue to blow away the cloud of unknowing that surrounds disability for others too, to show the talent and potential of more and more people. On a larger scale, I hope the Social Model Approach can eventually be integrated into mainstream society, to unlock even more potential.
Written by Tom Wood, Published By Eliot Palfreman
The Turning Tides Project believes that everyone has the right to equal access to music, the arts and life.
We intend to make this right a reality for people with 'learning disability' or 'autism' labels in Devon. The Turning Tides Project is a Community Interest Company; a non-profit organisation. Our focus is on the work that we do and the difference that we make.
Principles of TTTP
We seek to demonstrate the application of a Social Model Approach in everything we do… and we don’t do anything unless we think it might be fun.
The support and development of an Equal Access Workforce is critical to the maintenance and development of a healthy TTP.
An excellent Workforce Development Approach is essential to any healthy organisation.
In January 2018 The Turning Tides Project (TTTP) began to map a workforce development route that would:
This is a brief summary of the work we’ve done so far, some links to the detail that you can now find on our web site and an invitation for you to get involved in what we do next.
People arrive with us from different places, with different knowledge, experience, different aspirations and backgrounds. If its equal access then it needs to be a route that can start anywhere. The route sets out a whole pathway from participant to CE, within TTTP or to a high profile position of national and international influence.
We strongly believe that in an #Inclusive environment, everyone is capable of anything they really want to do and are prepared to work hard to achieve. An Equal Access Workforce Development Approach supports the creation of that #inclusive environment
1. Starts from where people are
2. Looks at what they bring with them
3. Uses a reflective questionnaire to frame discussions about skills, knowledge and development needs
4. Provides an inventory of resources available to meet learning and development needs
5. Provides a critical appraisal of each resource, in terms of its support of or compatibility with taking a Social Model Approach.
The Turning Tides Project is explicit about its commitment to taking a Social Model Approach. It’s essential that the people who are part of TTTP understand what that means and demonstrate that understanding in every action they take: The healthy growth of TTTP is dependent upon that.
Our critical appraisal is not solely about the quality of the huge and growing range of learning and development resources available. It’s about whether those resources support or, at least, are compatible with a Social Model Approach by asking the questions that we think are critical to establishing that.
We are sure that the work we’re doing has a much wider relevance and applicability to the:
And the music specific component by starting here:
We’d welcome your involvement and your feedback
Do you have comments about the process we’ve defined or the tools we’ve developed?
Would you like to offer appraisals of resources not yet on our map, so we can add them?
Would you like to add more information or links to a resource we’ve appraised?
Do you want to tell us about a resource you offer?
Please get in touch:
Everything The Turning Tides Project does is open and inclusive.
We do what we do because we intend to make a difference.
If you would like to use any of our materials you are welcome to do so but please acknowledge TTTPs ownership.
See the change, be the change, make the change – thank you!
As recently promised, a further look into Tom's CME course and qualification as an Inclusive Practitioner.
We talked a lot about the course and Tom's views and experiences, and tried to shorten it down into 'Podcast-sized chunks'... we think we nearly achieved that, and involved the Tuesday Making Waves group and the Friday Music Session group in creating what we have recorded below.
There are a number of points, some of which are explored and revisited. Reflection is an important part of the work we deliver and are involved in - this is no exception.
Since having these conversations, Hugo has now begun his Inclusive Practitioner course!
Interviewers: Dominic Palfreman, Otis Butterfield, Lewis Rutley and Alix Mason
Interviewee: Tomas Burns
For the past year, I have been taking a course at Bristol Plays Music called ‘The Inclusive Practitioner' through which I gained a Certificate for Music Educators Level 4. I had been taking monthly trips to Bristol to attend sessions with a group of other people who came from from different musical backgrounds and a variety of working environments. It was very interesting to see how other people lead music session and one of the days in which we shared each others practise, by leading mini-workshops was very interesting.
Some of the other practitioners on the course could be labelled as ‘disabled’. BPM (Bristol Plays Music) made ‘reasonable adjustments’, such as giving audio descriptions when watching films and videos on course days, and providing an alternative Powerpoint, making the course more accessible. The coursework that we submitted did not have to be done as a written essay, but could be a film, an audio diary or other formats. This meant that the work submitted was multi-sensory and the use of written language was not necessary.
The course is aimed at music leaders as a resource to develop their skills as music leaders working with “disabled young people”. The course included looking into young people’s musical development as a major project within the course. I think this was particularly useful for me, as it informed some of the work that I have done with Turning Tides working in primary schools. However, I think that one way in which the course could be improved is by looking at the how older people develop musically. My work with the Turning Tides Project, is not only with young people, but with people of all ages.
I think one of the things that I learned from taking the course was to evaluate my work. As part of my coursework, I built up a personal portfolio and as a relatively inexperienced music leader, I found this very useful. This allowed me to reflect on my practise and find areas in which I could improve. One thing that came up that I find was an important area for me to improve was my confidence. I think that this is something that I have greatly improved on in the past year, but there is always room for improvement.
Written by Tom Burns, Published by Dom Palfreman
** There will be a follow up blog/vlog to this one, that takes a look at the course in further detail**
Let’s start off with what accessible means, Google says,
“accessible means a place which can be reached or entered”.
When I go to a new place I get really anxious as I do not know who the people are around me and I have never been to this certain place before. If I am with somebody that I trust then this makes going to new places and meeting new people easier.
Plans are important for me as they help me know what I am going to do or what to expect on the day. If plans change I prefer to know in advance so that I do not get myself in a state of panic.
Things become inaccessible when I’m confused about what is going on, as this makes me feel angry at the world and at myself. It is hard for me to communicate to people sometimes, so this makes day to day life harder as it is hard to see what I need.
I fully understand that sometimes it is hard to know what people’s needs are when they are emotional and not physical, but this means that people can ignore me and not give me the support I need because I am human. When I am able to do things to the fullest, I get really happy and I feel like I have a contribution to make.
The only thing that stands in my way of things being accessible, are society and other people.
Written by Abbie Morl, Published by Dom Palfreman
Written as part of assessing what makes Music Tech Qualifications inaccessible.
Page Turners is a new project starting this April. It is all about the magic of reading and making stories that capture our imagination, accessible, whilst better informing others and ourselves about society and culture.
World Book Day seemed the perfect day to share our new project with each other and to start writing this blog, having a couple of weeks passed we are now ready to share the news with the world!
Thanks to the Clare Milne and Devon Community Foundations, we’re pleased to introduce Page Turners. Page Turners is all about books, reading and story-telling together.
Books can calm us, can make us happy, excited, curious and proud. They can make us laugh and give us hope. We believe everyone should have equal access to the stories that make us feel this way. Not only this, but stories create, shape and reflect our culture. Their power is not insular and closed, but open and has links to everyday life. It is exclusion from this that disables and it is the role of Page Turners to find and remove though barrier.
Page Turners has two parts. One part is about enabling access to the stories everyone should be able to experience, through a book-club held on the second and fourth Thursday evening of each month. Costumes, accents, puppetry, Makaton, dance and song will all be used to make the stories more fun and accessible. The other part of Page Turners is about teaching people that want to learn, to read or to improve their reading.
We will work with local organisations, businesses and anyone with a passion for reading to bring our favourite tales to life (Contact Us to be a part of this!). We will be inviting authors special to us to join Page Turners – maybe to read to us or with us and talk about their own experiences writing and reading. In the future, we will be aiming to write and publish stories and poems that take a Social Model approach. If stories shape our culture, then let’s be the ones that contribute to its shaping.
It is up to everyone to change the world, one page at the time. Many thanks to the Clare Milne Foundation and Devon Community Foundation for helping to turn that page.
Rebecca and Tom are managing Page Turners and throughout March will be planning, ready for the grand opening in April. For news and updates see our webpage: www.theturningtidesproject.org.uk/page_turners.html. If you’d like to be part of Page Turners, email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome any ideas adding to, changing or developing the current Page Turners logo!
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dom Palfreman
Books, World Book Day, Page, Turners, Equal Access, Very Hardworking, I’ll give you a Hash Tag, Inclusive Access, Book Club, Inclusive, Awesome, Turning Tides, TTTP, The Turning Tides Project, Crediton, Tea Rooms, Coming Soon.
There is much conjecture surrounding equal access in companies and organisations. Many proclaim Social Model readiness in light of a changing society. Yet, as I would come to quickly realize, an environment created on someone’s behalf, without their experience will likely not be equal. Creating truly inclusive facilities and discovering the right amount of support wanted requires discourse with those who want it (or don’t want it, as the case may be). Assumptions and guesses invariably fall short of the realities of people who face unequal access.
Recently we were tasked with writing a questionnaire for a music studio that we had been having some difficulty with, regarding accessing an Open Day. The questions were on the topics of accessibility, support and inclusivity of the course and the facilities. I found this to be an extremely difficult task and required the help of the group with every question; this is only natural - No amount of reflection, introspection, guesswork or hypothesizing will help me when I have never had to fight for my own equal access. I have no personal experience and therefore no reliable knowledge. Of course, I can learn, but I need experts to educate me on their own personal experience – a true first-person perspective.
In initial conversations with the music studio, a member of the marketing team had promised our visit to be fully facilitated and the group welcomed with open arms. They had left and been replaced by a new member of the marketing team, who, in a recent discussion had stated they were “worried about us coming.” I wondered how the studio could go from taking a (possibly) Social Model Approach to not – and not seeking help or asking question to change that. It highlighted the tentative and hazy nature of the idea of an equally accessible environment. What one individual saw as an equal access environment, another did not. It emphasized a lack of knowledge and experience that they, much like me, did not possess and were afraid to explore. Similarly, to how I had benefitted from the knowledge of my experienced teachers, the studio would also clearly gain insight from the group’s visit and could, in turn, use that knowledge to create an environment with improved equal access.
Claiming to have a fully inclusive environment, deemed inclusive by those that have never had any issue with access proves both ironic and problematic. Conversely, not being willing to listen or assuming the environment immediately is not, is just as problematic. The questionnaire was a good start and proved a willingness to engage and listen, but as I have come to realize, there are no halfway marks with equal access and an environment is not equal until those that face the inequality say it is. None the less, the first step is to try – that is the most important part!
Examples such as this highlight the decaying peripheries of unequal access as more and more companies are challenged to reconsider their environments. Companies needn't be worried. There is no universally applicable answer to creating an equal environment and it is understood that it is an issue not solved instantly. Rather, the process is a journey. It is not learnt innately, and neither is it expected to be. What is expected is a conscientious effort towards learning and towards listening to those that have the experience and knowledge, to the experts. Those with first hand personal experience.
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dominic Palfreman
We’ve written a blog about keeping safe from fire. We learnt about it because it’s important to know what to do when a fire starts. Knowing this is an essential part of equal access, as we all can contribute to what’s needed for the company. In this case, fire evacuation posters that are crucial to keeping everyone safe.
Today we took part in fire safety training, delivered by a man called Ian. He showed us a PowerPoint on the different types of fire extinguishers and how they’re used to stop different types of fires, such as electrical, gas and paper. We learnt about the fire triangle of heat, oxygen and fuel and how if you remove one of those parts a fire can’t start.
If a fire does start we know to twist and pull the pin of the fire extinguisher, aim at the base and spray from left to right. With the carbon dioxide extinguisher especially, we know not to touch the nozzle, as what is being sprayed is very cold. Foam extinguishers can put out any fire, but the foam can be hard to clean. To put out small fires, we can also use the fire blanket, but when it has been used once, it can’t be used again. There is one attached to the wall in the Tea Rooms kitchen. To use it, pull both tags down and wrap it around your hands to keep your hands safe.
Ian taught us to always have our back to an exit when putting out a fire. With the Tea Rooms the nearest exit is the front entrance, and is marked by a fire exit sign above and on the door. The first thing to do is alert people to the fire, so they know to head safely to the assembly point. There are two assembly points outside the Tea Rooms, to the left and right. One is by the bus stop, as there are no steps so it is more easily accessible. The other is up the steps to the right, by the grass patch.
Ian showed us pictures of hazards that could cause fires and danger. Some of these, that we know not to do, include blocking the fire exits, padlocking doors and panicking.
We know to take fire drills seriously, what to do in the event of a fire and how to stop a fire from even starting. Ian’s visit was helpful because now we know more - and the more we know, the less likely we are to make mistakes.
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dom Palfeman
I am Chloe, I am an aspiring play-write, and I’ve only ever seen 2 performances.
Whenever you read a guide on playwriting, the first piece of advice is always “go and see as much theatre as possible”
So I have found myself stuck.
I am extremely sensitive to sound, so can only go to see relaxed performances.
A relaxed performance is where alterations are made to sound and light, strobe lighting and sound effects or music are removed or reduced in impact. In addition, chill-out zones are at the front of the theatre if you need to take some time away from the performance. The content of the performance is unchanged.
I noticed that there was a considerable lack of relaxed performances in Devon, which means I have to travel across country to see theatre. Although there is sufficient provision for BSL, Captioned and touch tours, relaxed performances seem to have less than their accessible performance counterparts.
Another thing I have noticed is that the majority of relaxed performances I have come across are aimed at children. This does not provide for adults with labels who seek complex, nuanced and in depth narratives.
I have been working with Abi to contact theatres across the country to discuss their access programmes (some have better programmes than others) and have managed to secure a meeting with a local theatre.
We will also be working towards ensuring that there are more BSL, captioned and touch tours where there are gaps in provisions in certain theatres.
Royal Shakespeare Company have recently instigated Chilled Performances, which have a relaxed atmosphere but do not remove sound effects, strobes or turn down potentially loud music. The audience is instead given a sheet indicating where these things occur as a guidance. I feel that this would be beneficial for some people and am aiming to raise this possibility with more theatres.
We have noticed that different theatres will focus primarily on one area of access. There is no unified group consensus on equalling out accessible performances and access.
Our end goal is to make theatre much more accessible for all, not just performances but also the actual spaces.
Written by Chloe Llewellyn, Published by Dominic Palfreman
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