Celebrating Learning Disability Week 2022 - I AM Festival

group standing around art

Learning Disability Week: 17-23 June 2022

This week is Learning Disability Week and AFK is celebrating by attending A New Direction’s ‘I AM Festival’, a yearly celebration empowering D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent young people to explore their creativity.

Cultural Ambassador Programme

As part of the festival, AFK trainees have taken part in a Cultural Ambassador Programme over 16 weeks. This partnership has provided the opportunity to develop skills in communication, team work and problem solving whilst developing knowledge of the cultural sector and building confidence in advocating for disabled young people.

At AFK, our mission is to give as many young people with disabilities as possible the opportunity to work or volunteer in their community. Our service delivery team provide support to both disabled employees and to employers, as well as schools and colleges, guaranteeing a great experience for everyone involved.

 

Numerous organisations from across London have partnered with our Cultural Ambassadors to create a showcase for this week’s celebrations. Workshops have included Dance, Music production, Opera, Theatre & Drama as well as Mural and Graffiti art.

 

AFK would like to send a special thanks to Digit Music, English Nation Opera, Corali Dance, The Graeae Theatre company and Wood street walls. For the first time in three years I AM Festival is able to host the festival in-person with many events and workshops, showcasing tangible works to the public. This years theme is Unity.

We caught up with Ross, creative Freelancer at A New Direction:

‘The Cultural Ambassador programme is at the centre of I Am Festival. The group is made up of disabled and D/deaf young people who are supported by AFK. They are Amy, Franc, Titus, Matthew, Renee, Adam, Elijah, Sutharsan and Darius.

 

They are many wonderful things, but if I had to sum up their role in the festival I would say that they are part curators and part instigators/activators. Their unique experiences help to imprint and decide the direction of the activities at all points in the programme. Their opinions, ideas, desires and participation are key. They drive everything.’

Ambassador Feedback

  • ‘The programme has help me build up my confidence, it is what the cultural ambassadors has helped me the most because before I started this I have felt a bit low and working as a cultural ambassador with new directions has built it up back up again. It has been nice to work with other people and lead on one or two activities’ – Matthew
  • ‘I enjoyed when we went to ENO and Digit music. I enjoy being creative making music and making model boxes. This experience has made me confident and creative. I think the programme is awesome, I’m excited to come every Wednesday.’ – Elijah
  • ‘I definitely feel more confident. I feel like I can get involved and amazed with what I have made. I’m proud of it. It has been brilliant.’ – Amy

Keep an eye out on our instagram this week and follow what our Cultural Ambassadors are up to

I AM Festival is running from June 21-24th. Find out more here

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