Who are we now? Blue Room at the Bluecoat

By Sally Olding.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Blue Room is an award-winning arts service for adults with learning disabilities that operates three days a week, forty-eight weeks a year at the Bluecoat (Liverpool, United Kingdom) in partnership with Liverpool City Council. Service users who attend Liverpool Resource Centres attend Blue Room one day a week to create artwork in response to exhibitions at the Bluecoat and other Liverpool galleries.

A steering group consisting of five service users and four person-centered planners developed this project with Bluecoat staff. They trained as Blue Room workshop assistants and recruited a pool of five professional artists, including specialists in performance, ceramics, digital media and print. For each project, spanning approximately six to twelve weeks, the groups work with one artist to respond to a particular artwork or exhibition. For many Blue Roomers this is the first time that they have responded to contemporary arts practice.

Drawing on the perspectives of both Blue Room participants and artists, this paper examines the programme’s innovative methodology and reflects upon its challenges and triumphs.

Keywords: Disability, Disability Arts, Access to Arts, Community Arts, Collaborative Practice, Social Agenda

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.255-260. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 680.507KB).

Sally Olding

Blue Room Artist / Lecturer in Design, Northern School of Design, University of Central Lancashire, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK

I currently lecture at the School of Art, Design and Performance at The University of Central Lancashire. In addition, I continue to work for organisations such as the Bluecoat, Whitworth Art Gallery, FACT, Art Gene, Tate Liverpool, Cornerhouse and The National Football Museum.

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