Established by English Heritage, Creative Landscapes is an Accentuate project working with disabled people to find accessible and creative approaches to exploring and sharing our heritage. Working closely with the national Heritage Open Days programme, there are two main strands to the project:
The project has worked extensively to build access into the core of the open days programme. It established a new Heritage Open Days (HOD) programme in Hastings & St Leonards and worked to support and develop the existing programme in Gosport.
These programmes have worked with deaf and disabled people from the start, planning accessible events, producing resources and providing training to local groups. The project has also commissioned deaf and disabled artists and arts organisations to undertake residencies that work with people to enable them to explore their heritage in a creative way.
Gosport HODs now has an active Inclusion Group that in 2011 supported eight HODs events with extra accessible features. Over 400 disabled visitors came to HODs events in 2011, with organisations such as the Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower and the Submarine Museum building their links with local disabled people including veterans from St Dunstans, to improve their offer through handling events and BSL interpreted tours. Holy Trinity Church also successfully raised money for a permanent hearing loop.
‘Creative Landscapes has had a tremendous impact. Due to the advice and expertise of the Inclusion Group, event organisers became more aware that providing inclusive access was not such an onerous and expensive exercise as they had imagined.’
Richard Sturgess, Gosport & Fareham Access Officer
The efforts that the organisations have undertaken to make their events more accessible and ‘disabled customer friendly' has been recognised with awards from the Gosport Access Group and Disability Forum. The Friends of Crescent Gardens, Fort Brockhurst, the Royal Naval Submarine Museum and local historian Terry Hinkley were awarded the Disabled Customer Friendly Award, and Holy Trinity Church was awarded an Excellent Access Award.
Although individual sites in Hastings and St Leonards had taken part in Heritage Open Days before 2010, there had not been a coordinated and marketed programme of events. Creative Landscapes worked with a wide range of local partners - The Stade Education Project, the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Creative Partnerships, The Burton St Leonards Society, Hastings History House, the Library Service and Hastings Borough Council among others - to set up a Steering Committee and develop a programme.
Although Creative Landscapes comes to an end in 2012, Heritage Open Days in the town will continue, with a Steering Committee that includes the Head of Tourism and local businesses working alongside heritage groups.
In one of the artist’s residencies in Hastings, Lynn Weddle worked with young photographers from the Sussex Autism to photograph The Stade. The group created a film of their work that was shown at The Shipwreck Centre as part of Heritage Open Days. Lynn also took her own photographs focussing on the fishing community working on The Stade and created a photo trail around The Stade for Heritage Open Days. In 2011, The Stade Education Project hosted an exhibition of Lynn’s photographs for Heritage Open Days, attracting over 700 visitors. The residency also encouraged Lynn Weddle to submit a successful A4E grant application to the Arts Council to develop her own project.
‘The residency was a great opportunity which I have greatly enjoyed. It is quite rare to get a budget to go and make my own work, alongside the participatory work. I got so much from the experience that I can take with me for future work, which is so very exciting.’
Lynn Weddle, Artist.
The Creative Landscapes Project has developed a number of resources, including guides on engaging with local disability groups and Access Guidance for Heritage Open Days. The project commissioned Splodge, an arts organisation led by a disabled and a non-disabled artist to deliver “Trail Blazing” - a methodology that explored different accessible ways to guide people through heritage sites and collections. This work has gone on to form part of a toolkit advising Heritage Open Day events across the UK on ways to become more accessible.
Inspired by Creative Landscapes, Hastings Borough Council produced a brochure for HOD which took on board access issues whilst the at the Stade Education Project all volunteers were given training on working with and welcoming deaf and disabled people. In addition, access was written into constitutions for HOD in Gosport and Hastings and access issue are now more embedded within local heritage groups.
Creative Landscapes has provided intensive engagement with local communities over three years to open up the National Heritage Open Days programmes to local people. This learning which has been garnered through local engagement will now be shared on a National Stage through the Accentuate Heritage Resources.
‘I am confident that the HODs programme has been influenced by the Accentuate work’.
Andy Brown, Regional Director, English Heritage
Accentuate Heritage will be developed as a national programme as part of Accentuate in 2013
For more information on any area of the project, please contact the Project Coordinators:
Esther Gill: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accentuate projects have been collecting examples of how their work is having an impact. Whether this is the personal experience of an individual, or the influence Accentuate projects have had on organisations. Click the link to view the case studies.
Photographs taken at Fort Brockhurst by Project Artworks