Connecting Creatively: new exhibition showcases art in partnership with Sense

The RBSA is embarking on groundbreaking work with people with complex communication needs following an innovative pilot scheme in 2017.

The pilot trialled ways of delivering art workshops and helped both the RBSA and national disability charity Sense learn more about each others’ sectors and how they could work together effectively.

Our project with Sense is the first of its kind for us and an exhibition Connecting Creatively  – featuring the work of participants  – will take place in February.

Workshops delivered by artists Annette Pugh, Rob Hamp and Karoline Rerrie, are helping us learn more about how the RBSA can best work collaboratively and in a multi-sensory way to provide high-quality visual art activities.

Natalie Osborne, Learning and Engagement Manager at the RBSA, said: ‘The Connecting Creatively exhibition will feature artwork made by Sense participants and RBSA artists.

‘The paintings, prints, and drawings on display all explore different ways of expressing shape, form, and texture. Work has also been mixed with photography, sculpture, and installation sculpture so that visitors to the exhibition can explore the work physically through touch and movement, as well as visually.

‘The aim is to help improve access at the RBSA Gallery and multi-sensory approaches in RBSA outreach workshops so that everyone, including art lovers with complex communication needs, can enjoy and experience the visual arts together.

‘The project has also helped to inspire our artists by helping them to consider new ways of using their senses and experimenting with different approaches to making their own work.’

RBSA and Sense Research Sharing Session

Join us on Thursday 8 March, 6 – 8pm, at the Touchbase Pears Centre.

RBSA artists and Sense staff will share their findings from a collaborative project with individuals who have complex communication needs (e.g. deaf blindness). There will be time to have refreshments, network, listen to talks, and discuss the points made. A full agenda will be available to download shortly.

  1. Learn more about the work of the Touchbase Pears Centre in Selly Oak:

  2. You can follow the Sense blog at

  3. Participating artists: Annette Pugh ARBSA, Rob Hamp NWA, and Karoline Rerrie Friend of RBSA

We are very grateful to the following organisations for funding this project:

The George Fentham Birmingham Charity, The Roughley Trust, The Heart of England Community Foundation, The Harry Payne Fund, The Oakley Charitable Trust, The Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust, The Dumbreck Charity.

Outreach work 

A project with Focus Birmingham, funded by the West Midlands Museum Development Fund is helping us promote RBSA outreach activities. We have the potential to work with many different groups, helping people who may struggle to access the visual arts to engage in tailor-made sessions.

We have delivered art activities and a handling session at Focus in Harborne, featuring RBSA artists and artworks from the RBSA Collection. A short film (coming soon!) will help promote our outreach activities.

How to book an outreach visit

  1. Call or e-mail the RBSA Gallery on 0121 236 4353,

  2. Ask to speak to Natalie Osborne, the Learning and Engagement Manager.

  3. Provide information, such as: the type of activity you would like, the times you would like this to take place, the group size, and location.

  4. Where funding is available, the RBSA will provide activities for free. However, if funding is not available, we have to charge to cover costs. Therefore, please also mention what budget you have. Where possible, we always try to offer something within budget.

  5. All activities are administered by an RBSA staff member, delivered by a professional artist, and designed in line with RBSA safeguarding and health & safety policies. Outlines and risk assessments can also be provided.

  6. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Natalie (working hours Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm), who will be very happy to help you.

Useful links:

  1. How to find us (includes access film):

  2. Disabled access guide:

  3. RBSA What’s On:

  4. Focus Birmingham website:

This work is part of a project funded by the West Midlands Museum Development Fund, which is managed by Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust with funding from Arts Council England.

#RBSAgallery #Focus #artistswithsightloss #artforeveryone #Birminghamartgallery #Sense #artistswithdisabilities #artworkshops

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