A luminarium, by its nature, gives access to a very broad audience. They are appreciated by all ages, all cultures, all abilities and can be accessed by the elderly and wheelchair users.
AoA originally grew out of a theatre project for people with learning disabilities. Accessibility to the widest audience has always been central to our work and we have always encouraged host organisations to exploit the accessibility of the luminaria.
This exploitation has usually taken the form of the publicity announcing the luminarium is wheelchair accessible and inviting special needs schools down at quiet times in the week. But there have also been some significant collaborations with hosts who have been particularly focussed on the needs of people with disabilities.
Since 2006 AoA has pursued a collaboration with Salamanda Tandem which has entailed workshops and performance with groups of people with special needs in Nottingham, Telford, Redditch and Leicester.
More recently AoA has adopted a model that has been employed successfully in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Typically a centre, such as a centre for people with disabilities, has been the host to an exhibition that is also open to access from the general public. This has proved to have enormous benefits for the host organisation – promoting social inclusion and integration with the wider community. And, in addition, the public have appreciated not just their experience of the luminarium but also their experience of entering into the world of the host.
Architects of Air are keen to talk with prospective partners who want to capitalise on the unique attributes of a luminarium to offer something special to their community. In particular to those who may be disadvantaged in terms of their participation in the arts – sectors such as the elderly and people with a learning disability.
We aim to tour to settings where there is the optimum opportunity for people with special needs to access the work, whether this is at a festival, day centres, residential homes or a new space. We are looking for hosts to develop the potential of the luminarium as a unique sensory environment in which all can share a quality experience.