Education news

Young disabled ambassadors take part in €237,000 EU project

Sean Patterson, Nigel Lockhart, Nikki McLaughlin, Nicholas Moore and James Morgan

FIVE young people with learning disabilities are linking up with their peers in Europe in a €237,000 project to improve digital skills and produce new artistic performances.

The University of Atypical is coordinating Yes We Are In, a new EU funded project which will pair the young ambassadors with counterparts in Belgium, Croatia, Finland and England.

Facilitated by David Calvert, Artistic Director of Kids in Control, the group will explore similarities and differences between their lives in Belfast and those of disabled ambassadors from the other countries.

Nigel Lockhart, Nikki McLaughlin, Nicholas Moore, James Morgan and Sean Patterson have been selected to represent Northern Ireland.

Chris Ledger, CEO of University of Atypical said the aim of the project was to build new friendships and grow digital skills while supporting experimentation to devise and co-produce performances with younger people with learning disabilities.

"We're excited to have had the proposal selected and the total project grant of €237,000 is a significant level of EU investment - it was one of the highest grants awarded, which reflects our previous EU work with some of the same partners having been deemed an example of European good practice," she said.

"Partners from the other countries have a higher level of core investment so we'll still need to raise additional local funds but this is a great confidence-booster and an enormous opportunity for Northern Ireland's arts and disability sector."

The five young people will begin by visiting their Brussels project partner, this month. There they will interact with their peers from the other countries involved.

Delegates from the other countries will visit Belfast in June and the University of Atypical will invite local arts and disability practitioners to meet them and share experiences. At the end of the project, there will be a live performance as part of Bounce Festival 2021, with live web streaming from project partners in other countries.

For more information about the work of University of Atypical, visit https://universityofatypical.org/.

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