Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales

Newid Byd/Something New

Project goals:

  • Establish a working group of people with a learning disability to create a space for them to be listened to
  • Pilot a research framework for sensory engagement with collections for people with a disability to enhance representation
  • Participants feel they are better represented in museums and welcome in our museum spaces

Amgueddfa Cymru, and partners Innovate Trust and purpleSTARS, are working to address a lack of targeted participatory events for disability communities in Wales. The project is piloting an innovative community action research framework, beginning with the creation of a working group to give people with learning disabilities space to be listened to and to share their expertise for better sensory engagement with museum collections.  

An early milestone of the project has been the recruitment of two people with learning disabilities into paid roles through their partnership with Innovate Trust, a Welsh-based charity which provides support and guidance to people with disabilities. These two new team members are playing a central role in the management of the project, starting with bringing together the working group.

By employing a co-creation methodology, workshops are utilising multimedia and arts-based approaches to pinpoint key interventions that the group wants to prioritise for the design of more accessible and engaging sensory experiences.

This has included object handling, gallery exploration, sensory bingo, and the use of RIX Wiki for creating person-centred interactives. This will help to identify new ways to represent and incorporate learning disability communities’ experiences into Welsh cultural heritage and beyond.

“Newid Byd is coming at an exciting time as we look to implement our research strategy and foreground participatory, inclusive and co-created research throughout Amgueddfa Cymru and its collections. As we seek to create meaningful change in the way we research both now and in the future, the Mindsets + Missions programme is timely in its support of risk taking and bold initiatives to move our work forwards.”

Gemma Brown, research development officer, Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales

“Innovate Trust is thrilled to be partnering with Amgueddfa Cymru and PurpleSTARS on the innovative Newid Byd/Something New project. Through a robust research strategy, people with learning disabilities will take the lead in improving representation and inclusion, with valuable learning generated for the wider heritage sector.
“People with learning disabilities have a wealth of skills, experience and knowledge to share, which can and should form part of our diverse culture. We’re excited to be part of this bold new approach to research which brings the valuable contribution of people with learning disabilities to the forefront.”

Lucy Curtis, skills and wellbeing project manager, Innovate Trust

“purpleSTARS is very excited to be part of a truly inclusive research project Newid Byd/Something New, collaborating with Innovate Trust and Amgueddfa Cymru. We are looking forward to visiting Wales and sharing our sensory art and digital media action research.
“Through co-production we aim to shape the thinking and design of cultural and heritage spaces, transforming museums to be really inclusive and fun. This cross-geographical partnership would not have been possible without Mindsets + Missions and its emphasis on collaboration, innovation and risk-taking.”

Kate Allen, founding member of purpleSTARS