Artistic Director, Performer, Composer and Multi Media Artist Andrew Williams has been appointed the new head of LEVEL, the Derbyshire-based arts charity renowned for its innovative work with artists with learning disabilities. 

For 25 years LEVEL has led the way in using the combination of traditional creative arts and cutting-edge digital technologies to change the lives of people with learning disabilities. Based in Derbyshire, the charity’s work has a growing national and international impact.  Recent projects have included ‘Limestone Journeys’, an audio-visual installation for Creswell Crags combining location images and performance, and ‘Body as Canvas’, a photographic exhibition shown at Nottingham’s New Art Exchange.

In 2008 the stunning purpose-built LEVEL Centre at Rowsley opened its doors, where it now attracts over 5,000 attendances per year.  The team at LEVEL continue to explore new ways to use the building to release the individual creativity of each person who attends the various sessions and events.  A successful bid has secured underpinning funding until 2018 and has confirmed the Arts Council’s continued confidence in LEVEL’s past achievements and future aspirations, but new Director Andrew and the Board of Trustees are looking to develop new projects to increase the number of people LEVEL can support, for which additional funds will be needed.

Eddy Higgs, the Chair of LEVEL’s Trustees, said: “We’re really pleased that Andy will be joining LEVEL at this pivotal time.  His combination of artistic excellence and experience in working with people with learning disabilities is just what we need to keep on developing our work and our contribution to achieving ‘Great Art for Everyone’.  There’s so much we can do to make a huge difference by enabling access to the creative arts for people for whom traditional approaches can be a real barrier, so we’re looking forward to exciting times ahead.”

Says Francesca Coates, a member of the Tuesday Performing Arts group at LEVEL: “When I’m performing it gets my anger out and makes me feel nice. I used to feel left out and stuck in a corner somewhere. Now I’m part of it, in a performance community.”

Forthcoming activities at LEVEL include Purple Peach Club Night on Tuesday 10 November and the Derbyshire-wide D-LAB launch event in September, along with the regular term time Participate + Create programme to include Film and Digital Media, Performing Arts, Sensory Multi Arts and Visual Arts events through to December 2015. Also continuing is the Skype collaboration with Loose Tooth (the music company of DADAA – Disability Arts Disadvantage Arts Australia).

Looking further ahead, LEVEL is planning more new projects, resources and tools for creative engagement.  Andrew and the team at LEVEL also want to reap further benefits by creating new collaborations with local, national and international partners to make the best art possible.