"An outstanding secondary teaching training provider" (ofsted 2016)

All Young Stories

All Young Stories: Access and inclusion in children’s research and art

26th of June at Keele University

Registration Now Open:

A one-day symposium with:

  • An exhibition of art made by children and young people
  • A film by Oscar Kraft titled ‘Come Full Circle’
  • Keynote speakers: Ellie Griffiths (Oily Cart), will discuss creating performances for neurodiverse young audiences; Nicola Shaughnessy (University of Kent), will talk about participatory arts and Autism; and Ben Fletcher-Watson (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh), will talk about the future of relaxed performances
  • panel discussion lead by Gill Brigg (Theatre Maker, SEN Teacher and Lecturer), which will focus on storytelling, alongside contributions from: Boo Sujiwaro (Writer), Eva Galova (SEN Teacher), Nikkie Hallam (Augmentative and Alternative Communication Specialist), Oscar Kraft (Film Maker), Sally Markwells (SEN Teacher) and Susannah Kraft Levene (Parent)
  • Stand up poet and researcher Dr Kate Fox will develop a poem based on the day
  • There will be presentations on the subject of puppetry by Caroline Astell-Burt (London School of Puppetry); Joe Wright (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) will focus on music; Jennifer Essex (Teesside University and Fully Booked Theatre) will discuss interactive dance theatre; and Leonie Elliott-Graves (Goldsmiths, University of London and Wac Arts) and Chas Mollet (Wac Arts) will focus on advocacy, art and assistive technology
  • There will be lunch and the day will end with a wine reception

This interdisciplinary symposium seeks to explore research and art for – and with – children who have learning disabilities, learning difficulties and/or other educational needs. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (Unicef) not only asserts the right of children to have an ‘active voice’ to express their views, feelings and wishes, but also that such expressions should be considered and taken seriously.  Art and collaborative research can offer a foundation upon which this right can be asserted, practiced and promoted. This may involve giving children an active role in exploring issues relevant to their lives, gathering young perspectives and offering stories that reflect their experiences. However, children who may have alternative ways of communicating, processing sensory input and responding to social situations may be excluded from these activities and opportunities as they do not meet their specific needs. A child’s story or individual experience may be overlooked or excluded as it differs from the status quo. Moreover, research highlights that when ‘neurodiverse’ children are represented on stage and screen, the portrayal often sticks to the medical model of disability with a focus on stereotypical symptoms and ‘traits’ (see Nordahl-Hansen et al 2017).

This raises the question: Are all young stories being heard and taken seriously as well as being represented in literature and performance?

The event will conclude a three-year long project supported by the Leverhulme foundation which invited children and young people attending special schools (as well as their teaching staff and parents) to do art research together ( The symposium aims to continue and develop the project’s exploration of collaborative research and inclusion within the arts, with a specific emphasis on children and young people, and to encourage a wide range of interested parties and stakeholders to take part.

As an inclusive event we are aiming to make sure the day is accessible for everyone. There will be a separate space available during the day and we encourage participants to get in touch about any other ways they may be supported to take part.

Registration is from 10.00 – 10.30 and the wine reception from 17.00 – 18.30. To check your travel to and from Keele University please see:

For any questions contact Karian Schuitema ( or Abigail Pearson (