ART-is in Madrid

Here’s a blog about our trip to Madrid as part of the ART-is project. We’ve written it in the form of a conversation between Madeline and the three participants who went, Christian, Emilia and Rami.


Madeline – “We had a hugely fun journey getting to know each other better on the plane and in the airport. We were all very excited!”

Emilia – “I was so happy in the airplane.”



Madeline – “We learnt a lot about AFANIAS, the organisation who were hosting us.”

3Madeline – “AFANIAS did a presentation about their work – they talked about how they emphasise helping artists with learning disabilities to develop a specialty and expertise. They put a lot of emphasis on the quality of the art they produce.”


Madeline – “They showed us film of a performance they did in Iceland, which was amazing. They took their inspiration for the dance from the Icelandic landscape. It took 9 months to develop the piece of dance.”


Rami – “I would like to do something like this in the UK. The dance was so nice, very, very nice but the music was quite scary.”


Madeline – “We did some dance exercises led by the organisation from Belgium.”


Emilia – “I liked the dancing where there was no touch.”

Madeline – “We discussed the research report about ART-is as a group. We talked about how to make it accessible. Christian offered his expertise in making information accessible. Emila discussed the importance of clear communication when she is being supported.”



Madeline – “We watched the film of the trip of Belgium. I hadn’t been to this one, but I felt so proud of the music work that the Stay Up Late group had done there. The collaborative dance piece that other groups had done was also incredible.”

“It was great to get to know everybody from the other organisations, and see everyone from Stay Up Late becoming pals with the guys from everywhere else.”



Christian – “Everyone was so lovely and friendly, I couldn’t believe that we’d only met everyone for a day, it just feels like I’ve known them all for years, there’s not one person that I don’t get on with, we’re like a big family.”

Rami – “Familia!”

Emilia – “I really like all the people – I want to do the same things with my friends in the UK (as we did today).”

Christian – “Madrid is one of the best places that I’ve been to.”

Emilia – “Madrid is a very nice place – but it was really funny because the tea, coffee was different and I got green tea and I didn’t like it!”


Madeline – “We had a coordinators meeting, where there was a discussion about the importance of showcasing work of the highest quality but also having an element of taking part collaboratively to create something in a small amount of time.”



Madeline – “We worked out an outline for the festival in Malta – we will be working on something collaboratively on Friday and the festival will take place on Saturday.”

“The rest of the group explored Madrid. In the evening, the Spanish / English translator invited us to a gig and club night.”

Christian – “The main thing I liked was in the evening, when everyone let their hair down a bit.”

Christian – “Going round on the history tour was also good.”

Madeline – “I loved meeting all the visual artists from AFANIAS. There was so much talent in the studio.”

13Christian – “Also going to the university in the evening. It was good to meet all the other people and see how talented they are, also seeing the cleverness of the young man who had a learning disability, watching him do the mime routine.”

Here’s a gallery of some of the other photos from this awesome trip. Thank you ART-is friends, thank you AFANIAS and thank you Lifelong Learning Programme!




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