Advocating Together: DCA is our safe space


27 November 2019

Over the past two years, our Learning team has built a strong relationship with Advocating Together (Dundee) SCIO, an independent advocacy and capacity building organisation which benefits people in Scotland with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and complex communication needs.

“It is very important that everyone is involved in their community in many different ways. Working with DCA has enabled our members to gain a greater appreciation of art and the culture within their city. DCA and their friendly staff ensures that art and creativity is accessible for everyone and provides a safe space for people to learn at their own pace.” Elle Gemmell, Communication Champion Support Worker

Groups from Advocating Together have made many visits to our galleries and Create Space, enjoying exhibition tours, chats with our Visitor Assistants and lots of cups of tea, and biscuits. In 2019, we started working with their Tutti Young Peoples' group (so called because ‘tutti’ means all voices together in Italian) to make creative responses to our exhibitions. 

We first welcomed the Tutti group into our galleries for a tour of Lorna McIntyre’s Pieces of You Are Here, followed by time to relax and chat about the exhibition in our Create Space.

The group loved having the chance to look around together and explore the ideas and materials within the exhibition, and they were very enthusiastic about visiting DCA again:

“I enjoyed my visit and will definitely be back”

“It was amazing, gets me out the house being completely lazy”

“I enjoyed the artwork and staff were very accommodating”

“I enjoyed my visit to DCA and I really liked the exhibition and I found that the staff were very friendly and welcoming”

As this was many in the Tutti Young Peoples' group’s first time visiting DCA they made a film with Ellie, their Communication Champion Support Worker, outlining their expectations before they came and how they felt about the overall experience after visiting. You can take a look at it here.

The group then came back to explore David Austen’s exhibition Underworld:

The group really connected with David Austen’s work and particularly enjoyed his piece The Light That Fell Upon Us Burned. Together with our Learning team, the group made some colourful collages inspired by the many different 'eyes' in this work. The group also made another film about their visit.

“Really enjoyed the exhibition especially the portraits and the black heart”

“Really enjoyed the current exhibition David Austen Underworld. It was futuristic and enjoyable.”

“Such a great place for everyone”

The Tutti Young Person' group’s most recent visit was to Patrick Staff’s exhibition The Prince of Homburg, where DCA Learning team had devised a range of activities connecting with themes in the show including 'create your own coat of arms' and making experimental Gelli mono prints:

For their second workshop session connected to Staff's exhibition, the group explored animation filmmaking. This was a great way for the group to explore film collage, colour and symbols, all inspired by Staff’s film installation. The young people thought of words and images that they associate with DCA as well as words that represented the way they feel when visiting. They animated the words and, with the help of our Learning team, the animations where compiled into a short piece of 'creative evaluation':

“It was lovely to make crafts and use different materials. The exhibition was thought provoking. Enjoyed!”

“Enjoyed doing the shield art work and also the painting one – good activities + fun.”

“I enjoyed learning to make films.”

The Tutti Young People’s group told our Learning Team that they now think of the DCA as their ‘safe space’, which is fantastic to hear!

In addition to their gallery visits, we've also been connecting with Advocating Together in a number of different ways. In March this year we invited them to join us in celebrating our 20th birthday (they did a great job of helping us cut and eat our birthday cake) and during the summer the group made our Create Space their base for walking tours of Dundee. We always enjoy welcoming Advocating Together and the Tutti group to DCA and are really looking forward to seeing their next film and finding new ways to work with them in the future.

Find out more about Advocating Together and the Tutti group here and give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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