AMATEO MEMBER: PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society)
Member country: United Kingdom
Contact person: Heather Molloy, Programme Lead and Maureen Phillip, Creative Director
PAMIS, promoting a more inclusive society, is the only charity in Scotland that solely supports children, young people and adults with profound learning and multiple disabilities (PMLD) and their families to lead healthy, valued and included lives. We offer a range of programmes, including creative arts and performance (multi-sensory storytelling and theatre), education and training, research and development, family support services and information sharing. We are also the co-founder of the changing places toilet campaign and were key in ensuring that the provision of fully accessible changing places toilets is embedded in legislation.
PAMIS’ core work supports objective that ensure that people with PMLD:
- Are valued both as individuals and the contribution they make to their communities
- Receive all the support they need to realise their full potential
- Have a right to a full life shaped by personal choice, abilities and needs.
The work of PAMIS both locally, nationally and internationally is well known and are part of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID). PAMIS has pioneered research and development in a number of areas relevant to the lives of the people we support. In terms of multi-sensory stories, PAMIS pioneered the groundbreaking research and development of this method. The initial research saw the work initiated in Europe, in particularly the Netherlands and Germany. Work on multi-sensory stories was further undertaken in partnership with Cologne University. PAMIS storytelling work influenced practice in Japan and New Zealand. Multi-sensory storytelling and narrative and the creative processes involved in developing the stories is core to PAMIS. Storytelling has always been central to what PAMIS does and our work supports individuals to tell their own stories. Sometimes these stories are stories of real-life events, stories about sensitive topics and times in their lives. The stories can also be developed to help people prepare for difficult situations. Our creative team continue to evolve and develop this work.
This includes our successful multi-sensory storytelling programme in Dumfries and Galloway which won the Amateo Award in 2021.
Working across disciplines locally, nationally and internationally PAMIS continues to increase opportunities for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to have their voices heard and be included within their communities. Scotland’s Cultural Strategy underpins the work of PAMIS, ensuring that our work spans across health, education and social care, to promote creative responses to improve the physical and emotional well-bring of this group.
Work within communities has included collaborating with:
- Edinburgh International Book Festival
- Wigtown Book Festival
- National Galleries of Scotland
- Kelvingrove Museum
- Stanza Poetry Festival
- HMS Unicorn Dundee
- The Stove Network – Nithraid & Wild Goose Festivals
- Wildhood Festival
- Creative Scotland – UNCON Festival
- Reflections Festival, Dundee
- Scotland’s Nature Reserves
- The Crannog Centre
Local events and gatherings across Scotland are regularly undertaken by PAMIS and involve working in partnerships with parents, leisure centres, and others in communities across Scotland to ensure that we are promoting a more inclusive society that creates opportunities for all. All our programmes work with communities to support the sustainability of the work and ensure that it is embedded within local and national mainstream programmes. An excellent example of this is The Scottish Gallery for Modern Art in Edinburgh (Modern 1) They now consult directly with families to ensure that their Children and Families Programme is inclusive of everyone. This means that families can comfortably attend events knowing they will be accessible and that there is the provision of a fully accessible changing places toilet.
One of our most recent initiatives has involved bringing people with PMLD together with others with additional support needs, and those without disability, to work collaboratively in producing a multi-sensory production of Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This process ensured that the performance was accessible to everyone within the local community. With people with PMLD at the center as performers as well as audience members. After a successful premiere, and reflecting on the process, we have now started our 2nd film which will be a production of The Wizard Of Oz.
PAMIS has joined the network so we might share learning and practice with other organisations and groups. We are also keen to explore potential links for collaboration in the future. We believe passionately in sharing information to improve the lives of others. We share Amateo’s vision to support and actively promote active participation in creative opportunities and understanding how this brings communities together.
We are looking forward to working with other Amateo members in solidarity promoting inclusion and accessibility in cultural activities.
Importance of international cooperation?
Human connection is a fundamental part of life. Without connection there is no sense of belonging. The more we feel connected the more we feel we have a shared purpose. Over the last 30 years PAMIS has shared and benefitted from international connections that have provided a platform for knowledge exchange that has greatly enhanced lives across the globe. It is important to make international connections and collaborate across borders to share experiences and learn and grow together. PAMIS’ presentations on an international platform have literally changed lives. The knowledge exchanged across cultures can only benefit and improve the lives of people with profound and multiple learning, their families and those that support them. We all learn together and this in turn improves life for those we support.
I hope that the Amateo network continues to grow as creativity and creative practitioners are so essential for growth and development. The world has been rocked by many things in the last couple of years and recovery is at the forefront of this as is solidarity. The creative arts brings us together in a way that nothing else can and I hope that cultural participation and the shared vision of the network continues to ensure a hopeful future for us all.
If you want to read more about PAMIS, please visit their web page!
Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!