Accessing Architecture

Thursday 9 December 2021 – Friday 28 January 2022
Accessing Architecture | Thursday 9 December 2021 – Friday 28 January 2022 | Atypical Gallery
――― In venue ―――

D/deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse Artists’ responses to the Built Environment • Paula Clarke, James Ashe, Jacqueline Wylie, Marie-Therese Davis and Helen Hall

A new exhibition that opens in Belfast on Friday (10th December) will showcase artistic work reflecting disabled people’s experiences of the built environment.
Opening at The University of Atypical for Arts and Disability Gallery on Royal Avenue, the Accessing Architecture exhibition reflects on contemporary attitudes and artistic interpretations to access and inclusion in urban design and architecture.

The work, created by D/deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse artists, is the culmination of a two-year project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project delivered a series of creative workshops, lectures, research opportunities, disability awareness training and a film archive collaboration with Northern Ireland Screen. A documentary film on the project will be released in January 2022.

Sean Fitzsimons, Chairperson of the University of Atypical, commented: “The Accessing Architecture project and exhibition address an important aspect of disabled people’s experience of the built environment. The project gave an important voice to disabled people who faced barriers to access within the built environment in Belfast and beyond.”
The Accessing Architecture exhibition includes work by artists Paula Clarke, James Ashe, Jacqueline Wylie, Marie–Therese Davis and Helen Hall alongside contributions from a number of our participants . Workshops included Plaster landscape casting with architect/maker John Donnelly of ‘Model Citizen,’ and Richard Dougherty, architect, on Access and Architecture.
Deirdre McKenna, Exhibition Co-Ordinator, explained that the two-year project allowed people to explore the built environment through a range of different perspectives. “Being able to access a building or move through the streets is every person’s right. Each of the artists responded to the project in different ways filtering their experiences through their creative process and unique perspective.”

The project offered a series of experimental workshops exploring dance and movement to find ways of expressing our physicality of how we move through our city and surroundings. The project was impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and many strands of the project had to move online.

Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We are thrilled to support the University of Atypical in uncovering the cultural heritage of disabled communities in Belfast. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Accessing Architecture exhibition is bringing forward new and exciting work by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists. Reflecting on these experiences of accessibility and the built environment will broaden understanding in the wider community.”

The University of Atypical for Arts and Disability is a disabled-led arts charity, taking an empowerment-based approach towards supporting disabled and deaf people’s involvement in the arts. The organisation specialises in developing and promoting the work of artists who are D/deaf, Disabled or Neurodiverse and in reaching disabled and D/deaf audiences.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund: Using money raised by The National Lottery, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Follow @HeritageFundNI on Twitter and @HeritageFundNorthernIreland on Facebook and use the hashtag #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Six artists have been involved in the project which included workshops, lectures, research opportunities, disability awareness training, a series of exhibitions, and a film on how disability was historically portrayed in the media.

A project report and documentary film will be launched in January 2022.

Safety protocols:

  • We will be gathering your name and contact information at the entrance to the Gallery, which we will keep for 21 days and then delete, in accordance with effective track-and-trace measures.
  • Sanitiser units at the entrance and around the venue
  • Anyone who can, should wear a face covering when visiting the venue
  • We request that people practice social distancing inside of the space
  • We will be regularly sanitising all surfaces within the venue
  • We will no longer permit the audience/visitors to gather inside of the office space to protect staff
  • We will provide single use biodegradable paper cups for refreshments for events
Thursday 9 December 2021 – Friday 28 January 2022
Atypical Gallery
University of Atypical
109 - 113 Royal Avenue
Belfast BT1 1FF
Telephone: +44 9023 9450
Opening hours / start times:
Tuesday 11:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00
Thursday 11:00 - 15:00
Friday 11:00 - 15:00
Admission / price: Free

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