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Leading Edge

Leading Edge

Network for Learning Disabled Cultural Leaders

Leading Edge is a developing network for emerging learning disabled arts leaders (initially for five founder members), funded by the Arts Council England Cultural Leadership Programme.

Before Leading Edge, there were no learning disabled leaders in the mainstream, even though some learning disabled people were working in leadership roles in specialist companies. Leading Edge challenged the idea that learning disabled artists cannot be leaders, and looked at ways to help artists with a learning disability succeed in leadership roles.

Leading Edge was a one-year pilot programme providing a series of networked opportunities for five members, including:

  • an intensive two-week leadership course
  • a range of smaller bite-sized weekend seminars
  • support to stay in touch via web-based communication
  • the opportunity to network on an international level through the Informal European Theatre Meetings (ietm)
  • mentoring new network members, including becoming part of the membership selection process.

Leading Edge also aimed to help to train the trainers, and so connected with other networks within the Cultural Leadership Programme, and other agencies such as Clore, who deliver other leadership courses. Mind the Gap provided learner and pastoral support for members, but recruited specialist freelance trainers to provide great leadership training.

The future of Leading Edge is dependent on the success of this pilot year and our ability to get funding to support its development. We hope to increase opportunities for professional learning disabled artists to take on leadership and advocacy roles both within specialist and mainstream environments. For further information on Leading Edge, contact Vicky Ackroyd at Mind the Gap Theatre Company (vicky@mind-the-gap.org.uk or phone 01274 729575 or write to Mind the Gap, Bradford Design Exchange, 34 Peckover Street, Little Germany, Bradford BD1 5BD. You can also check out the Facebook group, Leading Edge

http://www.mind-the-gap.org.uk