I Am Festival 2022 – Save the date & get involved

This year’s festival promises to be bigger and better than ever, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved

31 January 2022

We’re pleased to share details of our upcoming I Am Festival. Taking place from 20–24 June 2022, this year will mark our sixth year delivering the festival and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

I Am Festival is our yearly celebration empowering D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent young people to explore their creativity. Over the past five years, the festival has provided a platform for hundreds of young people to showcase their talents, leadership,ideas,and opinions.  

Last year, we worked with schools in our SEND Network to deliver creative in-person sessions in the lead up to the festival. Outcomes of these creative sessions were then showcased via our bespoke digital platform. We also partnered with a number of fantastic disabled-led arts organisations to deliver workshops remotely. This blended delivery model allowed us to engage many young people who may not have otherwise been able to take part in an in-person festival, and this is something we are excited to develop further this year.

Watch highlights from the 2021 festival below

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For the first time this year, we will be delivering a hybrid of activity across a number of schools, cultural venues, and online – focusing on the theme of Unity. To curate I Am Festival 2022, we will be working with our SEND Network and a team of Cultural Ambassadors.

About the SEND Network

A New Direction's SEND Network is a free professional development programme for educators working with D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent children and young people in London's schools and specialist settings. The Network meets twice a term over the academic year, working together to improve creative and cultural opportunities for children and young people who are D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent. 

Find out more

About the Cultural Ambassadors

This year will be our third year collaborating with charity my AFK to provide a work experience programme for disabled young adults. This iteration of the programme will involve 10 young people working collaboratively with A New Direction, the SEND Network, and artists and arts organisations for 16 weeks. The Ambassadors will co-design workshops for schools, consult with organisations about their accessibility for disabled young people, lead a festival project, and support the delivery of events throughout the festival week.

A New Direction is currently looking for a Creative Freelancer to support participants through the Cultural Ambassadors programme. Working in collaboration with Life and Work Coaches from My AFK, the Creative Freelancer will help the Ambassadors develop their skills, explore their creativity, and develop activities for the festival

Download the Creative Freelancer Brief

Deadline: 5pm on Wednesday 16 February

We are also looking to commission an experienced Evaluator to develop a logic model and open research questions in relation to the Cultural Ambassadors programme. The aim of the evaluation is to better understand what is needed to address the individual and structural challenges relating to young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) engaging in work-based learning experiences.

Download the Evaluator brief

Deadline: 5pm on Sunday 06 February

Get Involved

We’re currently inviting proposals from artists and creative organisations to collaborate, develop, and deliver workshops with our SEND Network and Cultural Ambassadors. Workshops will be delivered with students in the lead up to the festival, and outcomes will be showcased throughout the festival week.

Download the Artist & Organisation Brief

One strand of this year’s festival will focus specifically on working with schools in Hackney. If you or your organisation is based in or around Hackney and would be interested in getting involved, please download the brief below.

Hackney Artists & Organisations Brief

We are also looking for two London-based arts and cultural organisations with accessible venues to host student workshops and showcase creative outputs across the festival week.

Organisations with Venues Brief

Deadline to respond to all artist & organisation briefs: midnight on Sunday 13 February

We are particularly interested in hearing from those who identify as D/deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent, and from disabled-led arts organisations.

If you have questions about any of the briefs and would like to have an informal conversation about our work, please email us to arrange a time.

Find out more