Bringing Literature to Life
Purple Patch are currently working with Bradford Libraries and Arts Council England on a new reader development project which makes literature accessible to people who might not use language.
We previously ran the project with Kirklees Libraries, supporting 30 staff and volunteers to develop the skills to create and deliver accessible storytelling sessions based on existing literature through a mixture of formal training, shadowing and co-facilitation. By the end of the project Kirklees Libraries were fully equipped to work inclusively across the service.
- Ian McMillan, poet
Developing Touring Installations
Following on from our successful partnership with Buffalo Collective and Leeds Libraries (https://vimeo.com/155363375) we developed a touring multi-sensory installation that brings classic literature to life for children and young people with complex needs. With funding from Arts Council England and Jimbo’s Fund we worked with photographer and film-maker Phoebe Henry and a group of young people to re-imagine Dylan Thomas’s ‘Under Milk Wood’ to create an immersive installation ‘Echoes of Milk Wood’. The installation included sound, lighting and projection along with touch, taste and smell aspects and toured to 60 other young people.
Square Chapel Centre for the Arts
We have an ongoing relationship with Square Chapel Centre for the Arts in Halifax focused on creating an inclusive venue. We were part of 'Creative Case North' (an ACE initiative) which began by identifying the barriers to people with learning disabilities accessing the venue. We then developed this into a year-long programme 'Beyond Ramps' which trained a group of people with LD as a programming team to address the creative and aesthetic barriers to accessing performing arts. They worked with theatre director Paulette Randall (whose previous work includes the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony!) to identify aesthetics and eventually select a show to programme as the venue's first ever relaxed performance.
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Authority and Skipton Camarata
Through this exciting partnership we were able to embed artistic excellence and accessible practice in an area of significant natural beauty. Purple Patch worked with a group of adults with learning disabilities to understand the geological history of Malham Cove and create easy to understand musical notation which reflected this history. Simultaneously the national park commissioned the production of a 'lithophone' (a xylophone type instrument made out of the rock found at the cove) and Skipton Camarata composed a piece using the score. The instrument is now in situ at the cove with boards explaining the musical notation - and remains there for everyone to enjoy.
Clore Duffield Foundation for Literature
With support from Clore Duffield, Purple Patch developed ‘Poets Without Words’ – a multi-sensory approach to sharing classic literature with people with profound disabilities. This has since become the foundation for our work with libraries and the development of multi-sensory installations. In our flagship project we worked alongside Yorkshire Poet Ian McMillan to capture the responses and experiences of the young people involved so they became represented in, as well as able to access, excellent poetry. For an audio recording of Ian’s piece click here: https://vimeo.com/94374083
Leeds Museums and Galleries
Leeds Museums and Galleries have a truly fabulous collection of art and artefacts and brought us in to explore how they could be shared with audiences with disabilities. We delivered training to the outreach and community teams and co-delivered family days with the aim of bringing pieces and places to life using the ‘Purple Patch Approach’ of interactive, multi-disciplinary and multi-sensory techniques.
Shakespeare Schools Festival
As part of the national Shakespeare Schools Festival, Purple Patch have delivered training to teachers in how they can make Shakespeare accessible to students of all abilities. Utilising the approach that we’ve honed across our working practice, we supported teachers to find new routes into complex language using touch, taste, smell, music and art.
Audience Development Support
Lempen Puppet Theatre tour internationally as well as producing the Skipton Puppet Festival in our neck of the woods. We worked with them as they developed their new show to explore how it could be made accessible for audiences with learning disabilities in an age appropriate way.
Leeds Libraries and Buffalo Collective
We collaborated on 'Dreams of Milk Wood' an immersive and interactive installation which brought to life Dylan Thomas's 'Under Milk Wood'. Inspired by our multi-sensory work with children with complex needs we challenged Buffalo Collective to create an immersive space in which people of all abilities could access classic literature. The work was shown in Leeds Central Library and received an audience of over 600. For a taster of the installation click here: https://vimeo.com/155363375