Inclusion, it’s better when it’s inherent in everything we do. I’ve been involved in the design and development of inclusive and accessible ways of working in the arts since 2009.
Working in both the mainstream and disability dance and theatre sectors, I work with originality, playfulness and sensitivity, inspiring and challenging in equal measure, bringing the best out of people. I work collaboratively and can offer consultancy and troubleshooting, depending on need. My key facilitation skills are:
Mentoring people in best practice around inclusion and access through
Focused sessions that work with your practice to create optimal inclusive and accessible environments – from ½ day to full day workshops and longer residencies. The sessions are responsive and designed around your specific questions and ideas.
Speaking and facilitation around soft skills, attitudes and nuances of what inclusion and access is, what it means, and for who. I work with understanding the importance of language in everyday practices.
Supporting artists to make great work
Working collaboratively with artists from different disciplines and backgrounds who are interested in developing their practice.
Mentoring artists who get stuck, or need support to move through environmental barriers and barriers within themselves so they can thrive.
Artistic workshops and residences inviting artists to embed best practices and access into their artistic work.
Among my portfolio I have worked with Candoco Dance as the Learning and Development Coordinator (2010-2011), Artist Associate (2009-2011) and Moving Bodies participant (2010), StopGap Dance (2014, developing inclusive Feldenkrais practices) Graeae Theatre (2012-13), as part of their outreach team, and as inclusive arts based consultant for FanSHEN Theatre (2015) and Oily Cart (2013-14) on developing more ways to be inclusive for a wider range of audiences. I was arts module leader at Westminster Society for People with Learning Disabilities (2013-14) and co-founded YSYT (2011), an out-of-school charity providing play and creative arts activities for disabled children. I led artistic session for the charity (2011-2013).
I was an Unlimited R&D artist (2014). Presenting the outcomes of my commission, Unstrapped as part of Be There at The Start event held as part of the Unlimited Festival at the South Bank Centre, London.
I have a BA (HONS) Theatre and Professional Practice (2007. Coventry University, UK) and MA Performance Practices and Research (2010. Central School of Speech and Drama, UK.).
June 2017- December 2018 – We Are Epic, Leicester, UK.
Diversity Officer on a consultancy basis, I co-developed the 3 streams of work that new Leicester-based arts company was founded on:
Diverse artistic talent | professional trainings | brokering international collaborations.
The consultancy included setting up of best practices around in inclusion and access within the structure of the organisation, co-writing policies and procedures, and developing an art administration traineeship and co-mentoring the trainee. I led a series of events inviting provocations and discussions to identify future possibilities in the East Midlands arts sector.
I produced and was an artistic collaborator for We Are Epic’s new international collaboration Buffalo Boy with Epic Arts in Cambodia.
Autumn 2018 – Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK.
Mentoring a newly formed collective of artists looking at non-conforming standards and ideas of good health within their art practice.
There were conversations around individual artistic practices shaping the collective voice. Where does (dis)ability and chronic illness sit within the artistic voice? Development of access documents and how much to reveal and when? Provocations on: What is inclusion? What does inclusion feel and look like for this new artistic collective?
Working with the Wysing Arts Centre’s Management Team I facilitated conversations to do with the nuances of inclusion, and the responsibility the centre has to its audiences, artists and staff. Tailoring specific tasks through shifting their attitudes and ways of thinking about inclusion and access, the team identified simple actions and which they could do to open up more possibilities for building audiences and artistic practices.
I’m keen to develop national and international collaborations with partners, organisations and artists looking to develop their skills and understanding of inclusion and access in the arts or the creative sectors.
Download my practice overview and biography: Lou Coleman Practice Overview
Read about my inclusive artistic work with disabled children and teenagers with challenging behaviours here
Find out more about my artistic performance practice here