ActivismArtDisability

The Misfits

Tell us about your project 

The Misfits are a theatre and social group led by people with learning difficulties.
We are recognised for our role as providers of unique training solutions, working with both private businesses and the public sector. We aim to enable people with learning difficulties to be creative, have fun and reach their potential through participation, performance, volunteering and employment.
We offer creative workshops for people with learning difficulties.
‘Spreading the word about staying up late is a really important message. The comic gives the readers an insight of what we are like and what our lives are like. It has changed my life, me as a person I have realised that staying out late is important to me.True that.’ Phil 

What are you trying to do?

Our latest project funded by the Arts Council is making a comic about staying up late. We have worked with two artists Anita MacCallum and Jenny Drew and designed a twisted cinderella story about the challenges of living an independent life it’s called ‘Rhythm of the Night’. The story aims to encourage conversation about how people with learning difficulties and their support can come up with creative solutions to staying up late.
‘Our project is very amazing.The comic is important to read and help people understand.’ Rachael

What makes it different to other projects?

The Misfits really is led by people with learning difficulties at the heart of everything we do.
We have been under constant threat of funding cuts from the beginning. We don’t have a marketing person and have only recently got someone who works on funding applications. It has been mainly held together by Tony Holdom and a key group of adults with learning difficulties – everyone has been on a journey together. All the projects have grown organically through trial and error.
With the latest comic project every aspect has been designed by the group right down to the shape of the noses and eyebrows of the main characters. It was very important to have a picture of people snogging and be open about the desire to have relationships.

Why do you see yourself as punks in the community?

Our group is run from Hamilton House, Stokes Croft Bristol, we are in the heart of inner city Bristol and integrate into the weird and wonderful world that grows there.

We constantly challenge mainstream thinking, one of our proudest projects is training gp’s, the police force and others to open their minds and review the way they communicate with and see us – people with learning difficulties.

What’s your top tip for ‘keeping it punk’ and making a difference to people’s lives?

Do not be afraid of making mistakes – mistakes are brilliant and a journey to where you want to be.
Don’t be afraid of looking like you know nothing, like nothing at all.
Don’t be afraid of sensible people thinking you are really silly. It doesn’t matter.

Could you give us a quote or two from some of the people who benefit from your project?

‘I like looking at different comic books to see different characters – we worked together to build characters.’ Katie 
‘The comic has a lot of people having fun at the disco. We made up a story and then a play – then a comic.’ Dan

What other groups inspire you? (please provide links, or email contacts)

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