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Inclusive Arts and Writing Program: “Speak Up!”

The project, with a planned duration of three years, will bring together around 1,000 individuals with varying levels of speech and writing abilities for an inclusive project in writing and arts called “Heraus mit den Sprachen!“ – loosely translated, “Speak Up!”. Participants will include both individuals who lack the ability to speak and write, as well as professional writers. The kick-off features an art competition for individuals who cannot write and who have only limited verbal ability to describe their artworks. Ten selected artworks will provide a basis for inclusive writing workshops in 10 locations in the German-speaking realm. Individuals with and without disabilities will participate together in the workshops. “During these writing workshops, the staff of local disability and educational institutions receive training so that they can continue to offer inclusive writing groups independently of this project,” explained Christian Wüst, project manager at the Software AG Foundation. “These 10 locations can become germ cells for further inclusive writing projects and can sustainably enrich the local possibilities for individuals with and without disabilities.”

Since 2010, the Bielefeld-based organization “The Wordfinders” has been supporting inclusive participation in cultural life and the equal-opportunity development of education and culture. The organization sponsors literary competitions, organizes readings, offers writing workshops, and supports research projects. Selected contributions to the “Speak Up!” project will be published as a book. Readings and other events will create publicity and public awareness of the project; in this way, individuals with cognitive disabilities will also receive recognition for their creative works.