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A young person with a brightly coloured feather headress standing next to a laday with her arm around them smiling.

Blue Touch Paper image Wade Smith

Featured Project: uScreen and Celebrate and Commission

uScreen is an Accentuate project delivered by Screen South.  This is a groundbreaking new website for young disabled people to make, show and share films.  The full uScreen site is currently under construction but over the summer it went “on tour” as part of various workshops and festivals.  One of the really exciting elements of this site is the ability for people to be able to collaborate on film making internationally.  uScreen has kicked off this process by running workshops on a global scale by the use of a skype link up attached to a projector at a chosen venue. The audience is then able to see and hear exactly how to use the site and be able to ask questions directly to the uScreen demonstrator.

The first of which was a direct link to ‘the Other Film Festival’ in Melbourne, Australia. The festival workshop was attended by over 100 keen film-makers who were impressed with not only the interactive tools on the site but also how film projects could be set up with members in other countries and be able to share their experiences and ask advice on film making.

uScreen will also be working in partnership with other organisaitons to develop live film making activity and to enable young people to continue to expand their film making skills utilising the uScreen website.  One of the first of these activities was in Oxforshire where Young people enjoyed a packed week of filmmaking fun from 24th July to 1st August.  This Summerscreen festival was organised by Screen South’s Oxford Community Network Partner OFVM with support from Screen South and the uScreen Exhibition Fund. Over 500 young people enjoyed workshops, screenings, tours and other film-related activities. Highlights included Studio Live 305, which streamed news programmes online during the festival, and was run by 30 young people, many from marginalised groups. All benefitted from training prior to the event, provided by professionals from GMTV and Sky News.

Accentuate looks forward to keeping you up to date as to progress with uScreen, particularly when this site is officially launched. Watch this space.

Celebrate and Commission are Accentuate projects delivered by the Creative Programmer for London 2012 South East.  They seek to develop and commission work, networks and professional development opportunities which ensure equity of access throughout the Cultural Olympiad.  Blue Touch Paper Carnival is one of the exciting things that is being supported through these projects. 

Blue Touch Paper Carnival is a carnival project with a difference run by West Sussex County Council linked to the Carnival Learning Centre on the Isle of Wight. 

For many disabled people, their family and carers, even something as open as carnival doesn't really work for them.  Blue Touch Paper Carnival is set to change all that.

‘We are keen that carnival is not something that happens to disabled people but something they feel part of.  Too often people are pushed along the carnival parade or just don’t turn up because it’s too difficult to get to or too difficult to understand.”

 Sarah Pickthall, Development Consultant Blue Touch Paper Carnival

Blue Touch Paper Carnival is all about understanding each other’s lives, how we live and in doing that finding a way to express the things we love about being alive and what holds us back.  Carnival has always been about politics: the politics of people’s lives and their positions in society. For people to take part in carnival, it has to be about sharing carnival skills in an accessible way, from drumming, dancing, making costumes, storytelling, flagmaking, head dressing and dj-ing.

It’s also about promoting carnival through accessible maps and routes and accessible chat with online resources to open the meaning and the methods of carnival up to those people who have never come across it before, or just can’t take part.  In this way, Blue Touch Paper are creating a cultural shift in the carnival sector and in the way we plan and involve people in our outdoor events, which is what Accentuate is all about.

Blue Touch Paper has been incredibly busy this autumn launching how to guides on line.  With step by step instructions and films, people have told them that they’re real winners, so why not have a chuckle, get off your sofa and get some carnival skills now.

Blue Touch Paper have also been working with over 100 people across West Sussex and the IOW in October as part of the Big Draw learning about carnival costume design from page to parade. Developing mood boards and learning from costume design specialists Sharon George, Helen Davenport from the Isle of Wight and artist Jon Adams from the mainland.  They’ve tapped into people’s feelings and skills have been posted these on line and these are set to inspire the first ever Blue Touch Paper Carnival Costume ‘Cacophony’

Cacophony’s will be built in April next year on the IOW.  It’s first ‘outing’ in June 2011 as part of the Nat West Isle of Wight Games .

You can follow Blue Touch Paper on the web and see what they are up to in local spaces and out there in the parades across West Sussex and the Isle of Wight.

Accentuate is also delighted to support another carnival focussed initiative through Celebrate and Commission.  This time Mencap have been working with the carnival experts Strange Cargo to produce a guide to enable people with a learning disability to be fully involved in the creative processes of Carnival. Called “Doing Carnival”, it is part of a series of Mencap Doing Arts guides covering a range of art forms.  This booklet is to be published in late October/early November in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of the programme of community celebrations.

For copies of DOING CARNIVAL or further information about it please contact Gus Garside, Mencap's national arts development manager

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