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Creative Bridges

Creative Bridges uses cultural and creative engagement to aid transition to independent adult life for young people (16 – 25) with a learning disability or barrier to learning.  Funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, we use culture to engage young people and develop their digital skills so they are able to create new stories.
Approximately 1.5million people in the UK have a learning disability.Young people with a learning disability are among the most marginalized groups in our society and can suffer huge inequalities in opportunity.  With the right support, people can live full and meaningful lives. However, if this support is not provided they may face problems in gaining independence or a home of their own, in accessing leisure and recreation activities, and/or in developing friendships and relationships. 

We particularly wanted these learners to participate as we could see they had a lot of potential to prosper in a different, creative setting and saw it as a fantastic opportunity to get a head start with their transition to post-school, adult life.”
Sam Kendall, Key Stage 5 Expressive Arts Teacher, Sherbourne Fields School

Museums are uniquely placed to engage people at a young age through storytelling, to help them develop teamworking, creativity and soft skills for work to improve their long term prospects of living an independent life.  We want to equip our sector to develop similar programmes, harnessing the influence that learning outside of the classroom can have on individuals. Creative Bridges has been successful in enabling 100% of graduates on the Education Programme to make positive next steps.  

We do this through the delivery of fun, interactive sessions about our exhibitions programme, collections and also by developing a longer creative project which the group co-produces.  Participants gain a sense of achievement by completing Arts Award and emplyability skills qualifications.  Having a learning disability means that people find it harder to learn certain life skills. Problems experienced may include learning new things, communication, managing money, reading, writing, or personal care.  Equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our work as an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and fall within Coventry’s ten year cultural strategy and its aims for City of Culture 2021.  

The Creative Bridges programme was awarded “Highly Commended Education Initiative” at the Museum Association national awards in 2016.  

"…access to museums and galleries allows everybody to enter another world, think of another world, see the world from somewhere else, reimagine their own world, re-imagine themselves…The point of the museum is to allow the citizen to be a better citizen. "

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, BBC Artsnight, April 2015


Creative Bridges offers our students valuable life experiences and skills training, the like of which we couldn't possibly offer at school.  The students develop their independence and they experience, in a safe space, what it will be like to transition to life after formal education.  That they can work with professionals in a rewarding, creative way is the icing on the cake"

Helen Bishton, Head of Key Stage 5, Baginton Fields School.

Esmee Fairbain logo, funders of the project




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