Creative Doodle Book: Developing Inclusive Community Arts Engagement During Physical Distancing

Principal Investigator: Professor Matthew Reason (York St John University)

This project investigated the value and potential of inclusive online community arts for learning disabled people during COVID-19 lockdowns. In collaboration with Mind the Gap Theatre and Totally Inclusive People, a model for online practice (‘the Creative Doodle Book’) was developed and trialed, primarily with people with learning disabilities, but also in mental health and dementia contexts. The project’s findings describe the value of arts practice to these communities.

Key policy recommendations include:

  • There is a lack of bespoke, inclusive and accessible online community spaces for vulnerable individuals. Localised community arts groups can fill this gap with low-cost, high impact provision, but they need appropriate support, including investment, technological infrastructure and skills training to do so.
  • Support-workers, families and other carers require training and digital resources to support digital engagement and wellbeing of learning-disabled and other vulnerable adults.