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Beaumont College innovative project aims to break down disability myths

A new initiative between Beaumont College in Lancaster, and Lancaster University Management School aims to tear apart common misconceptions around disability and accessibility.

The Sketchbook Project is a unique arts project is inspired by the Brooklyn Sketchbook Library.

Central to this initiative is the involvement of schools and colleges in Lancaster and Morecambe, both mainstream and specialist, who will be creating art-based sketchbooks on four themes 'Talk to Me', ‘We are the Same’, ‘One World’ and ‘Dreams have no Limits’.

These sketchbooks, which will be offered in different sizes from A5 to A2 to support accessibility, will be housed at Beaumont College as a 'travelling library'.

The Friends of Beaumont College, a charity dedicated to supporting the college has very kindly donated £2,500 towards the funding of a horsebox, in order to make the library “mobile”.

Beaumont College will also be looking to raise further funds for this part of the project. This mobile exhibition will travel to various festivals and events across Lancashire, providing the public with a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of disability.

Lancaster University Management School is supporting this venture with a generous grant of £20,000. It is also building a website and social media to support the project.

The pilot project is anticipated to be a stepping stone for The Sketchbook Project to evolve into a self-sufficient social enterprise managed by the students of Beaumont College.

Beaumont College is a Specialist Post-16 Designated College that offers diverse pathways for special school leavers and other students as they prepare for adulthood. The college prides itself on providing personalised, intensive specialist support across various educational pathways, including health, therapy, technology, and behaviour support.

Angela Johnson, the principal at Beaumont College, said: "This collaboration with LUMS is not just an artistic venture; it's a movement towards changing perceptions and understanding disability in a new light.

‘’The Sketchbook Project will be a testament to the creativity and resilience of our students and the broader disabled community.

‘’We believe this project will foster new conversations and insights about disability, opening doors to a more inclusive and understanding society."

Dr. Leighanne Higgins and Dr. Killian O’Leary are leading this project for LUMS. They shared: "We are delighted to be working with Beaumont College on this exciting and innovative project, which builds on our on-going research into accessibility, disability and art.

‘’One of LUMS key strategic goals is to engage and interact with local communities, initiatives and groups to promote inclusivity, equality and positive societal change.

‘’By working with Beaumont College, we aim to prioritise the abilities of disabled people and to broaden local perceptions towards disability".

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