Held at the Black Box in Belfast, the Express Yourself Social Café is a weekly intergenerational gathering that provides a wide range of arts-based activities and workshops for, and by, adults with learning disabilities. Since April 2023 they have developed a strong creative community that has gained skills in creative practices and worked in partnership with a wide range of organisations including Pride, Being Human Festival, NI Science Festival and Learning Disability Pride.

Collectively, the group has made animations, leather goods, ceramics, and jewellery, and taken part in activities including painting, dancing, music, and activism. The project is designed to equip all involved with the basic skills to take the artform or idea home and experiment further.

“Topics of interest and our direction is decided by the group,” says Deirdre McKenna of the Black Box, “which is in the spirit of the disability activism motto ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’. We work in collaboration with each other and this is truly a disabled-lead project. We want to see ourselves reflected in the creative world and to enhance the visibility of disabled people as catalysts for cultural change.”

You can find out more via their website or follow them on Facebook

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