I Am At Tate Exchange Festival 2020

A unique celebration of creativity with D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse young people

UPDATE, 13 MARCH 2020: Following a conversation with Tate, we are sorry to let you know that I Am At Tate Exchange Festival will not be going ahead as planned from 24th – 28th March.

This has been a very difficult decision to make, and we understand this will be a huge disappointment for everyone involved, however, in light of recent developments and updated government guidance around Coronavirus, our primary concern is for the welfare of festival attendees.

We would like to thank all of the students, teachers and partners involved in planning the festival for all of their hard work, and everyone who has booked a place at a festival event for their interest.

We will be in conversation with the Tate Exchange team to discuss how and when we can revisit the programme at a later point, and will keep you updated about this.

I Am At Tate Exchange Festival is a partnership between A New Direction, Tate Exchange and London special schools involved in our SEND Network. The festival empowers D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse young people to explore their creativity. Young people have the chance to showcase their talents, leadership, ideas and opinions.

As we move into our fourth year of programming, this year will feature more youth-led activity than ever before. Taking the theme of ‘Power’ as inspiration, we will be working with students to help bring their ideas to life. Expect dance, music, craft, theatre, textiles and so much more!

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Why is this work important?

Last year we welcomed over 300 young people and 3,000 visitors into the space. For many, the festival was the first time they'd ever visited Tate Modern. This is not unusual – young people with additional needs still face many barriers when accessing cultural spaces in London.

Through I Am At Tate Exchange Festival, we hope to provide a model for cultural organisations to address issues around accessibility, representation and inclusion. Over the last four years, we have worked closely with Tate to continually improve the welcome for visitors, and make sure the Tate Exchange space is as accessible and inclusive as possible. This includes reserving a dedicated lift for students coming to the festival and providing disability confidence training to all Tate staff involved in the festival.

Working with A New Direction is a truly transformative experience in so many ways for us. We have changed our working practices at Tate Exchange and throughout the building as a direct result of our collaboration with them, and we are on a valued continual learning journey. The work we see them do here at Tate Exchange is transformative in its own right – this is tangible as soon as you step into the room - and their programme with us is an annual highlight. Each year builds upon the previous one and we look forward to many years to come.
Cara Courage, Head of Tate Exchange

We look forward to giving more young people their first gallery experience in 2020. Once again, we will demonstrate that children of all abilities can play an active role in London’s culture.

Spending time at A New Direction's I Am Festival impressed on me what a truly wonderful initiative it is. Over the past three years its team have built something which is equal parts inspirational, educational, impactful and joyful, while still remaining inclusive and accessible for all. Seeing so many young people - many of whom who had not been to Tate before - having the time of their lives has been such an amazing and humbling experience. In a time where increasing numbers of students with SEND are being forgotten, projects like the I Am Festival are only becoming more vital, and we at Tate are immensely proud to play our part in it.
Frances Morris, Tate Modern Director