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Give Me Space

Empowering Learning Disabled Artists Through Choreography:             A Research and Performance Project

Over the past 5 years, Confidance have been dedicated to testing and trialling the best ways to embed accessible communication into our practice. Our goal is to ensure that learning disabled people have powerful creative voices in the sector, and the basic right to express themselves and inform change. This practice as research has been led by our Artistic Director Jo Frater, in collaboration with learning disabled people from across our education, community and professional pathways. 

This page outlines our current journey towards making a choreographic toolkit which hands creative control back to learning disabled dancers. 

Initial development; Choreography and Communication

Jo Frater's collaboration with the Speech and Language therapists at Wyvern School resulted in a game-changing piece of research for the sector. Over several months, the team tried and tested resources to align communication aids with the Confidance practice. Through regular conversations and practical explorations with young learning disabled people and professional training artists at ConfiCo, a 'dance choosing board' was developed. This resource offers a concrete and effective method for honing creative choice and individual expression.

“This choreography resource is a starting point for developing a dance curriculum in SEN education.  This can empower the next generation of learning disabled dancers and choreographers through accessible dance education in school.”

(Jo Frater, Artistic Director)

This work was funded by Artswork, Arts Council England & The Wyvern School.

To learn more, visit our project page here

Artist-led research: ConfiCo and the I'm Me project

Confidance partners with York St. John University and Mind the Gap Theatre in "I'm Me: Identity, Representation and Voice" research project led by Prof. Matthew Reason, exploring identity, representation, and voice for learning disabled and autistic artists.

Our partnership with 'I'm Me' created space to directly address learning disabled identity with ConfiCo, resulting in deep conversation and creative exploration into the lived experiences of our artists.

This work has provided valuable insights and revelations about their voices and artistic expressions, while also prompting innovative ways of asking questions and articulating responses. This process, and the collaboration between Jo and lead artist Hannah Westerman, has led to a deeper understanding of Jo's choreographic process and how ideas are translated into contemporary dance. 

"I'm not given space. I'm not allowed to do things on my own... people assume things about me that aren't true. I want people to ask questions about my learning disability. I want people to understand."

ConfiCo artist, quote from the I'm Me project

I’m Me is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. For further information visit:

Next Steps; Shifting power through choreography


Give Me Space (working title) will be a striking and powerful new piece of contemporary dance, co-created between Jo Frater and ConfiCo dancers. For the first time, ConfiCo artists will communicate directly about their lived experience of disability, creating a modular collection of solos and duos with linking unison phrases so that the unique voice of each dancer is given space.

Embedded in the creative process will be practice as research, led by Jo Frater, interrogating how Confidance's tried and tested choreographic methodology can be unpacked and articulated into an accessible toolkit. 

This project will question how power can be shifted to learning disabled artists, by continuing to remove barriers to knowledge and artistic expression. Give Me Space will provide high-quality representation for the learning disabled community and be a call to action for audiences and the arts sector to listen to and value learning disabled voices. 

ConfiCo's residency has been supported by the Ashford Leisure Trust, Kent County Council, Folkestone & Hythe District Council, NHS Kent & Medway and the generous donations to our SpaceHive crowdfunder campagin. 



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