Arts and wellbeing - introduction

Photo of drama group, tree painting, house sculptire

Sense has always recognised that deafblind children and adults can express themselves through art – as artists, participants or as an audience – and to live well, need to remain physically active.

Over the years, we have seen our portfolio of arts and physical activities programmes across our day centres, residential settings and community services grow and develop.

Today, our portfolio of arts activities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, encompasses visual, sensory and tactile art; theatre, movement, drama and dance; music and percussion; participatory, combined and community arts; creative writing; photography; ceramics and crafts. We'll be featuring the full range of our deafblind people's work in our arts and wellbeing blog.

We have hosted performances, exhibitions, held competitions and shared stories. As well as making art, we want to extend opportunities for the people we support to access more museums, galleries and public art spaces.

Our physical activity programmes range from weekly swimming sessions, horse riding and walks to more adventurous activities (such as abseiling, climbing, sailing, ice skating) organised as part of our holiday’s programme or through our outdoor activities programme linked to our accommodation services.  We want to do more, and we want to do it all better.

Rock climbing, photo of grasses, lego stop motion animation

Why is it important?

“Art matters because our being actively engaged with arts, either in its production or its appreciation, is part of what it is to live well” (Goldie, 2008)

Creativity matters because it is intrinsic to each individual living well. It is more than being ‘arty’ or ‘sporty’. Being creative is about adding texture, depth and experiences to daily life - it is as broad as your imagination. Being creative opens up new possibilities to explore, try new things, form friendships, build confidence and ultimately have fun.

Our Arts and Wellbeing strategy will help open up and stimulate the imaginations of deafblind people, their carers, our staff and our external partners.  We want to celebrate ‘creativity’ in everyday things and build opportunities for bigger, bolder expression, whether it is making and then eating warm muffins; recognising the smell of ancient artefacts; listening to music or holding the sides of a cello as it vibrates; or enjoying dappled sunlight through forest canopy to the exhilaration of swooping dangerously high on a swing. 

We support deafblind people at all stages of their involvement in the arts and cultural sector. We recognise the unique artforms and mediums deafblind artists work in and we want to support more deafblind people to realise their artistic, creative and wellbeing ambition.

Mozaic, young man playing a bee in a play, cloth lizard

From aspiring theatre practitioners in Exeter, London, Peterborough, Wakefield and Spalding; to contemporary dancers in Birmingham; to sculptors and tactile artists in Wales, Norwich, Louth and Bristol; and musicians in Northern Ireland, Rotherham and Luton – we want to share the work the artists we support are doing, and we want to celebrate our achievements together.

Our aims are to ensure that our arts and wellbeing practice is exemplary, inclusive and at the forefront within the deafblind and disability sector; to celebrate the significant contribution individual deafblind artists make to our organisation and within their communities; and to challenge the barriers to access to arts, culture and recreational sports for all the people we support and for the wider deafblind community.

Arts and wellbeing blog


First published: Friday 31 May 2013
Updated: Tuesday 1 December 2015