Sync logo An Accentuate Project

information eight



It was a fantastic day, full of positive energy. Big congratulations to you and the team for a well run enjoyable day. Alison Williams, Service Lead, Rethink Companions

people at the Expo.

The Sync South East Expo at the beginning of the month went well, with some great presentations and experiences. We are currently evaluating the event and have had some very positive and useful feedback.

The Expo was about finding out more about partnerships and relationships, how to locate and respond to opportunities and how we develop and exert influence – and all in one afternoon!

"I really enjoyed the afternoon and am quite envious of your 'Sync SE Individuals' " Laura Cream (Shape)

The individuals on our programme are developing clear skills and expertise in all these areas…

To go straight to our website click here

Power of influence

a cartoon of a person tweaking someone's brain.

Within Sync South East, we often talk about influence – and how we all have the power to exert our influence positively on others. Pauline Alexander, one of our Sync South East individuals has done just that, and reported this week on a real shift she has been instrumental in creating at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Pauline questioned why they did not offer speech to text access for their lectures, and, after an exchange of emails where she explained her needs and desires, the legal situation in the UK and the benefit they would create, received this positive response: “We have decided to explore the possibility of enhancing selected lectures with speech-to-text and other services for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing audiences for our next fiscal year.”

This is a significant step. Often arts organisations provide the access they think disabled people might want rather than asking disabled people themselves what will make a difference and improve their experience. Congratulations to Pauline for making her case well, and creating change. And congratulations too to the Royal Academy of Arts for having the power to take Pauline’s comments on board and make changes.

Influencing intercultural dialogue… through the medium of dance

Stopgap dance company outdoors in clownish clothing.

Our organisations are spreading their influence too. StopGAP Dance Company is just about to embark on an ambitious, exciting creative collaboration supported by the British Council that promises to influence and change perception of people with disabilities in Bulgaria, Albania and Romania.

StopGap is creating partnerships with Little People Association, (Romania), Karin Dom (Bulgaria) and Albanian Dance Theatre Company (Albania) to develop a integrated dance network for intercultural dialogue with funding from the British Council Creative Collaboration Project. As organisations working in the disability field, StopGAP, Karin Dom and Little People are passionate about integrating disabled people in society and unlocking their social and creative potential, while for dancers from Albanian Dance Theatre Company it is their first step into disability dance.

The programme begins at an international residency in Cluj, Romania, on 22nd February 2010 and runs through to the end of March, involving workshops, performances and networking in each country.

You don’t have to go to Romania, Bulgaria or Albania to catch them though – check out their website for UK tour dates and more information on their international work.

To go to StopGap's website...

Focus on… Liz Porter

Juggling a portfolio career can be tricky but I’m making headway. Sync coaching has helped me to make a shift to become clearer about what I want to do... Liz Porter

Liz Porter talking to Sho from StopGap

Occasionally, one of our Sync members has news to share, and this month we want to focus on Liz Porter, a performance storyteller arts developer and disability adviser. Liz has recently gained two part time posts. Here she talks about one – working for Creative Landscapes (run by English Heritage), another one of the 15 Accentuate Projects.

“I am working as a disability adviser for Creative Landscapes one day a week and I am loving the experience! I really believe that this project will make a difference.

Over the next three years Creative Landscapes will be exploring ways to improve access and opportunities for deaf and disabled people to get involved in the Heritage Open Days events in Hastings and Gosport, (two very different parts of the region). My work involves developing new partnerships with local disabled people, encouraging their input into our steering groups who are putting together this year’s Heritage Open Day Events programmes, which take place each September, (this year its 9th -12th September 2010). Through working with our local disability inclusion members (two on each steering group) we are encouraging event organisers to think about access right at the beginning. For many this will be small steps as they do not have any money. We want to increase understanding around access for everyone. We will mount a small number of accessible events to show examples of good practice and what is possible.

We are also keen to show how the arts can be used to interpret Heritage and promote the idea of involving disabled or Deaf creatives and facilitators. The CL team will run two paid Creative residencies each year (six over the next three years) - ideal opportunities for early career disabled or Deaf artists. We are just about to advertise our Gosport residency for 2010. Disabled and / or Deaf artists are invited to creatively respond to the theme of ‘Search & Discover Gosport’. Throughout the summer our artist will have time to develop their own work and work with local disabled people through a series of creative workshops. They will also be offered support to help them develop their career. The work will be shown at Gosport Discovery Centre during Heritage Open Days weekend. For more information and to request the residency brief, please contact Esther Gill, English Heritage Outreach Manager on 07500 097957 or email

If you want to know more of what I’m up to (and I am doing quite few interesting things!) please get in touch at tel/text 07824 344828"

So what is next for Sync South East?

lots of paper, each sheet with a question mark on them.

As usual, we are very busy with Sync South East. Our organisations are meeting up in March to look at funding and fundraising – using the metaphor of planets to look at the forces that are in play and the orbits we inhabit. We are focusing in particular at how to change the way we look at the whole subject of money – and getting or not getting it! Should be fun (and do let us know of any hints and tips on getting, keeping and managing finance you feel we should pass on!)

For our individuals programme, we have reached our mid point. We are half way through and so reflecting on what we have done and achieved so far, and planning how to extend and improve what we do and how we do it. March is our ‘reflection month’, April and May are for planning and we kick off again in June.

Our next public event will be focusing on our organisations and is due to take place in July. Watch this space for more information!

That’s all for this month,

Jo Verrent

Sync South East Project Manager

and the rest of the Sync South East team

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