Everyone’s different, let’s celebrate it!

Since November last year I’ve been working with charity Heart n Soul on a new Key Stage 2 schools page for their Big 30 website.

Heart n Soul is a creative arts charity that believes in the power and talents of people with learning disabilities. It is based at the Albany in Deptford and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them on this.

This schools website and accompanying resources have been created to accompany the Big 30 Archive and help teacher’s and students use the content in the classroom. Heart n Soul are celebrating 30 years as a charity. As part of the celebrations they have created The Big 30 Archive website with audio clips, portraits and videos telling the story of Heart n Soul artists, staff, volunteers and participants with and without learning disabilities tell their own stories in their own way.

The aim of this schools’ online resource is to help you discuss, explore and celebrate how everyone is different and how we all have different talents and passions. We want teachers to have conversations with students about what they know or understand about people with learning disabilities. We wanted to ask to help teachers use the stories of participants from Heart n Soul to encourage their students to think differently about people with learning disabilities, their power and talents. We want students to also think about how they feel positive about themselves, how they encourage others and how they express themselves through their own creativity.

You can find out more information here www.thebig30.com/archive

Cheryl Final 1X copy
Cheryl Lyte is one of the original Heart n Soul artists and has performed in every show. In her photo, she wanted to be seen as happy and surrounded by bubbles. Photograph: Franklyn Rodgers

About Heart n Soul

Heart n Soul is an award-winning creative arts company and charity. They believe in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for people to discover, develop and share this power and talent as widely as possible.

What does Heart n Soul do?

They offer opportunities for people to take part in creative activities, train in a new skill or develop their artistic talents:

  • Art They create opportunities for artists to collaborate and to create and share their work, live, recorded, digitally and on-line
  • Taking Part They run high quality creative arts activities for people with learning disabilities
  • Training They support people with learning disabilities to secure work within and beyond the cultural sector
  • Sharing They share our art and what they do with as many people as possible
  • What happens as a result of what they do? People with learning disabilities have more choice, are more connected, have more confidence and work towards more independent lives. Artists create vibrant and relevant work.

This has life changing and life affirming value for everyone.

At Heart n Soul they put people with learning disabilities at the heart of everything they do. People with and without disabilities collaborate going on a creative journey together. They believe in the value for everyone of being present, open, creative, artist-led and loving.

They reach over 30,000 people per year in live events, creative sessions and online. This is growing every year. They receive about a third of their income from Arts Council England. They raise the remainder from ticket sales and other earned income, donations from individuals and grants from charitable trusts and foundations.

Who is involved?

30 people and groups made up of Heart n Soul artists, staff, volunteers and participants with and without learning disabilities. They represent all the different parts of Heart n Soul which make us who we are today. They each tell their story looking at the significant impact they have had on the development of Heart n Soul.

Electric Fire final 1X copy
Electric Fire are a digital band formed from Heart n Soul’s creative arts project for young people, Do Your Own Thing. Performing their own unique brand of neon-future-funk, hip hop and house, they play out-of-this-world catchy songs that will stay in your head for days, bringing energy, youth and excitement to any party. Photograph: Franklyn Rogers

Dean is a Heart n Soul artist and is the lead singer of The Fish Police. In 2012 he led the Dean Rodney Singers, a multi-media digital arts project which was part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The project had a significant impact on Heart n Soul and led to the development of SoundLab, our award-winning digital music-making project. Dean is a big fan of comics and superheroes. In his portrait he wanted to be seen as a comic book superhero character reinvented on his own terms.

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