SENSES has focused on incremental inclusion and access for varied audiences. SENSES is India’s first-ever ‘accessible and inclusive outreach program’ curated for persons with special needs, for a multidisciplinary arts festival. Over the span of four years, Access For ALL has been able to reach out to over 700+ children with special needs in Panjim, Goa.
SENSES has pushed the brackets further by not only acknowledging disability access for varied visitors but also using the Festival as a catalyst to talk about Mental Health and introducing Arts Based Therapy workshops as part of the outreach. From 2019, SENSES will increase their engagement with special needs schools for five months (pre and post SAF) instead of only once a year workshops. SENSES is curated by Siddhant Shah of Access For All.
The fourth season had a series of a pilot, pre and post Inclusive Arts-Based Engagement Workshops with special-needs schools across Goa. The groups included students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, autism, intellectual disabilities, and multiple disabilities. The sessions focused on various methods of Inclusive practices under the realm of Arts-Based Therapy program. Over these four months art, craft, dance, music, and movement therapy were incorporated with over 1000+ students. One of the sessions for kids was based on the Art Therapy Facilitation of Story Telling and Character Development with an outcome of Hand Sock Puppet which focuses on the following developmental aims of creating engaging ways to interact and explore their knowledge and understanding of the world. Children learn to converse and formulate their thoughts and words to best convey their message with puppets acting as a medium. Multiple similar workshops were conducted in the months of October, November, January, and February. There were 4 sessions on capacity building and peer support that was conducted for parents and caretakers of children with special needs as there is a huge gap of awareness and information in this segment, which we tried to fill up successfully.
In month of December 2019, facilities like ramps, tactile Braille artworks, Braille guides, sign language experts, inclusive outreach programs, and on-ground accessibility teams, were provided for easy access for a varied audience during the days of the festival with a focused group footfall of over 670+ participants including persons with disabilities, at the dedicated inclusive arts corner at OLD GIM, Ribander.
Run by architect Siddhant Shah and his visually impaired mother Anisha Shah, ‘Access for All’ focuses on access audits, interpretation and educational activities, inclusive outreach programs, sensitization and awareness program, Braille-tactile kits, and CSR-based engagement programs.