Accessible Arts & Media mark 40th year with Saturday’s birthday bash at Temple Hall

Accessible Arts & Media hits 40! Pictured here is an Inclusive Music Project performance, Sing Out!, in 2019. Picture: Elly Ross

YORK inclusive arts charity Accessible Arts & Media’s 40th anniversary concert takes place at Temple Hall, York St John University, on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re all pretty blown away that we’ve managed to reach 40,” says creative director Rose Kent. “All the more incredible is that Hands & Voices [the singing and signing choir] are 25 and the Inclusive Music Project programme is ten this year.

“In true Accessible Arts & Media style, we’re marking our big 4-0 milestone with a special Big Birthday Bash with our friends from Communitas Choir and York St John, and we’re delighted that it’s a sell-out.”

Accessible Arts & Media started life as York Film Workshop in 1982 and registered as a charity, Old Dairy Studios, in 1988. “From 1992 to 2007, Old Dairy Studios delivered an annual Youth Month programme, giving young people in York the chance to record television and radio shows, form bands and record and perform music,” recalls Rose.

A rebrand in 2002 saw Old Dairy Studios re-launch as Cube Media. Meanwhile, in 1992, Artlink York was set up, as part of the national Shape disability arts network, changing its name to Accessible Arts four years later. “This was the beginning of Accessible Arts & Media’s long history of supporting learning-disabled people to unleash their inner artist,” says Rose.

Accessible Arts & Media was formed by the merger of Accessible Arts and Cube Media in 2008 and is now based at Sanderson House, Bramham Road, York.   

“Over the past 40 years, Accessible Arts & Media’s creative projects have helped more than 10,000 people find their moment to shine,” says Rose.

Here she picks out her highlights:

* Being among the first organisations in Great Britain to introduce singing and signing to the mainstream, with the formation of the Hands & Voices. Still going strong 25 years later.

* AbleWeb started in 2011 as an online radio station run for and by learning disabled adults; developed into an inclusive information website that ran until 2018. AbleWeb team, all learning-disabled adults, created content for the site and made films and podcasts with community groups.  

* Developing iMUSE, a multi-sensory creative environment that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Accessible Arts & Media is one of a handful of organisations worldwide that uses iMUSE, working with people with mental ill-health, people living with dementia and people with complex disabilities.

* Inclusive Music Projects were launched as a weekly inclusive music club for young people in 2012. Now provides a year-round programme of music activities for disabled and non-disabled children and young people from York and the surrounding area.

“As a small local charity, we’re really proud to have reached our 40-year milestone,” says Rose. “With our Hands & Voices choir turning 25 and our IMPs programme reaching ten years, we figured the best way to celebrate our triple whammy was to put on a show.

“What’s more, we’d love to hear from people who’ve taken part in our projects over the years. So, if you ever recorded at Old Dairy Studios, Cube Media or Studio Cube, joined in one of our Youth Months or came along to any of our projects and events, we’d welcome your Accessible Arts & Media memories! You can contact us at or via our social media, and We can’t wait to hear your stories.” 

To join the waiting list for returned tickets for Saturday’s concert, contact Accessible Arts & Media at or on 01904 626965.