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RSA Fellows: Creativity and impact

Linda Mitchell, Partnership and Development Manager at SCLD, shares an update on the work undertaken by the 6 RSA Fellows who are being supported by SCLD to make their creative idea a reality.

It hardly seems like a year ago that we had our first meeting with our then ‘new’ RSA Fellows in June 2016.  And yet the Fellows have achieved so much over this time and made such a difference for others.

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Adam Sloan has forged a career in dancing and has an aspiration to become a choreographer. He is well on the way to making his original project idea a reality.  Adam is about to begin a choreography residency from 14th -18th August. This will allow Adam to research and develop his first choreographed piece with a mentor, George Adams, and 3 dancers.  Adam’s aim is to launch his first choreographed piece at Dance International Glasgow (DIG) in 2018. Adam is also going to be a key note speaker at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Glasgow, 25th -27th July 2018

Adam is charting his choreography journey using video and we will share his story as it progresses.

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Leeanne Clark, whose aspiration is to write her book about her experiences of growing up in care, is well on the way to making her book a reality.  Leeanne spent a week at the writing retreat Moniack Mhor in Inverness-shire in April to hone her craft and has used what she has learned to improve her first chapters.  Please take the time to read Leeanne’s blog reflecting on her retreat to Moniack Mhor.

Leenane has also used her work with SCLD and RSA Scotland as  evidence to support her application for a Platinum Youth Achievement Award.  Leeanne has gone from achieving a Bronze Youth Achievement Award straight to being awarded a Platinum Youth Achievement Award.  This is a huge achievement and shows great determination.

image of marcia lauderMarcia Lauder  established Borders Buzz in the Scottish Borders to link people with learning disabilities together via social media and face to face events. Marcia has been really busy getting the Borders Buzz events off the ground. So far, she has organised trips to Edinburgh, to ten pin bowling, to visit  Our Dynamic Earth as well as barbeques, cinema visits and a really successful Valentine’s Disco attended by 60 people.

Marcia and the team at Borders Buzz have recently been successful in securing funding from Hudson Hirsel, which will support Borders Buzz with their plans.

Marcia was also interviewed by the Daily Record and this helped SCLD to launch Learning Disability Week 2017.  Both Marcia and Leeanne have been judges for Scotland’s national Learning Disability Awards and have written very successful articles for International Women’s Day.

image of ian stonesIan Stones continues to support the Learning Disability Group in Aberdeenshire to continue to grow its membership. Ian carers deeply about people with learning disabilities having their say on issues that affect them, both locally and nationally.  Ian has recently stood down as chair of the group but continues to be actively involved in the role of Treasurer.  Find out more about Ian, the group and its aims here.

image of ross inglisRoss Inglis, whose vision was to create an inclusive pipe band, is going from strength to strength with the creation of Dundee City Pipe Band – the friendly pipe band and the Ross Youth Music Initiative have now firmly established. Have a look at Dundee City Pipe band’s promotional video here.

Dundee City Pipe Band meets every Tuesday evening at their regular venue of Planet Studios in Dundee with an average of 20 participants of all ages –  a significant proportion of whom have long term health conditions.

Ross and his colleagues have also formed a committee, designed a logo for the band, opened a bank account, applied for funding, applied for membership to the RSPB (Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association) and agreed their constitution.

Ross has performed at the Learning Disability Awards and the PAMIS conference and has a whole host of piping events planned over the Summer with Dundee City Pipe Band: including Carnoustie Gala and the Tay Bridge Piperthon on 23rd July. Follow Ross and Dundee City Pipe Band on Facebook.

image of cameron morganCameron Morgan  continues to be a great ambassador in the world of arts. He never stops!  In June, Cameron spent two weeks at a  residency  at The Art House in Wakefield.

In March, RSA Scotland hosted a joint ‘Engage’ event with Cameron and colleagues at Project Ability to launch Cameron’s TV Classics exhibition (

Visit Cameron’s Instagram page and be inspired.

In June we also welcomed our newest RSA Fellow to the group, Mr Jason Lyon.  Jason won his RSA Fellowship through the Learning Disability Awards.  Jason has delivered over 900 Sensory Stories to people with complex needs.  We are looking forward to supporting Jason to reach even more people with his sensory storytelling ideas.  Find out more about Jason and his work with sensory storytelling here.

As well as all of this amazing activity the RSA Fellows have also found time to deliver presentations at The Gathering; to Social Work Scotland and to Scottish Government colleagues.

All the Fellows are looking at RSA Catalyst and Venture funding to support the ongoing progression of their work and are meeting with Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland over the Summer to work on their applications and meet the funding submission date at the end of September.

The Fellows are also off to the Scottish Parliament in September to meet with Christina McKelvie MSP. Christina is the convener of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee; before her political career she spent almost 20 years working with people with learning disabilities. She is very keen to hear more about the amazing work that the RSA Fellows are involved in and how this is affecting social change.

The group is also aiming to take part in an RSA Scotland ‘Engage’ event in the Autumn as part of RSA Scotland’s wider inclusion agenda. An ‘Engage’ event brings Fellows from across Scotland together, helping Fellows to make connections, to spark conversations, showcase some of the most innovative Fellows led projects and discover ideas which have the potential to become powerful sources for social change.

I’m sure you will agree that there has been a vast amount of progress made by each Fellow in a relatively short space of time. It is a great privilege to work alongside such an amazing group of inspirational people who are making huge strides with their individual projects.

Look out for further updates over the coming months.