Urban Survival Kits – About the project

Urban Survival Kits – About the project

Urban Survival Kits (USK) is an innovative Erasmus + programme led by the University of Atypical for Arts and Disability (UofA) in Belfast and devised by artist Julie McGowan. The Urban Survival Kits project is a two-year long international creative learning project exploring how disabled and neurodiverse adults can develop and design personalised survival kits to support their local, national and international travel requirements.

This partnership between the UofA, in collaboration with local participants from the NOW Group (Belfast) and European partner organisations Cotopaxi (Poland); Blauschimmel Atelier (Germany); Akdeniz University (Turkey) and Upset Theatre (Croatia) has been participant led with the aim of empowering d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people.

The USK’s programme included a series of live and online workshops specifically tailored to provide an inclusive and immersive learning experience to participants. This allowed for a safe way of experimenting, externalising, reframing and ultimately sharing real-life stories and experiences, removing the barriers that d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people experience when travelling, and creating individual communication tools that are tailored to ensure positive travelling experiences.


– To create an accessible travel kit for Adults With Disabilities (AWD)
– To create transnational learning opportunities for AWD exploring different cultures and learning arts and creativity skills
– To provide opportunities for AWD to improve their mental health and wellbeing, their self-esteem and to practise active citizenship
– To establish links and a network between the partner countries involving the development of equity and accessibility resources for AWD
– To create a support framework for learners/AWD
– To support AWD with the development of organisation and planning skills to assist them with future independent travel


Learning and cultural exchange events
Personal survival kits to make travel for Adults with Disabilities more accessible
A manual offering practical advice and guidance on how to complete the programme either in person or online
Local and international exhibitions showcasing the products designed by AWD as part of the programme
Virtual exhibitions and gallery talks showcasing the work produced by the learners
Digital Trails – A digital resource offering an accessible and multi-sensory guide to trails /journeys in each partner country


Instruction Manual – Download here
Manual in additional languages – Download here

Learning Blueprint- Curriculum Download here
Blueprint in additional languages – Download here

Exhibition and Learning Programme
Urban Survival Kit Download here

Digital Trails –

The European Commission and UK National Agency support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

About the partners

University of Atypical – Northern Ireland

University of Atypical for Arts and Disability (UofA) is disabled-led and is the lead sectoral organisation for arts and disability. UofA takes an empowerment-based approach towards d/Deaf, disabled and Neurodiverse people’s involvement in the arts as artists and audience members. We develop and promote the work of d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists and enhance access for d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse audiences. We do this through:
Our year round Atypical Gallery programme, the annual Bounce Arts Festival, Digital Horizon Programme and the Ledger Studio for Performing Arts. These are key aspects of our work in showcasing the best in innovative and challenging, local and international disability arts practice. The Ledger Studio is fully accessible, offering opportunities for workshops, training, rehearsals and performance. These unique arts resources are the only programmes and spaces dedicated to and led by, d/Deaf, disabled and Neurodiverse people in the arts.
We provide financial and career development through the d/Deaf and Disabled Artists Support Fund, our Graduate Arts Award with Ulster University, and a career development advice service. Our Equality and Access Standards Initiative is UofA’s infrastructural support to arts organisations regionally supporting improvements in equality, access and inclusion for audiences, artists, staff, freelancers, Board members and volunteers. Our Culture, Outreach, Research and Education (CORE) programme provides participatory, research, and learning opportunities for d/Deaf, disabled and Neurodiverse people on local, national or international projects.

UPSET Theatre – Croatia

UPSET is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 2008 by a group of young sociologists, psychologists, cultural and social workers, and others interested in making a positive social change against social stigma. We are a group of 30 volunteers who implement projects focused on socially stigmatised individuals both locally and on an international level. In our work, we combine scientific research, non-formal education, and cultural activities (preformative arts) in order to make an impact on our learners and on the wider community and contribute to positive changes in society.

Pracownia Filmowa Cotopaxi – Poland

Cotopaxi Film Workshop Association is a non-profit organisation established in 2008. The aim of the Association is to promote culture particularly in the area of film, to promote knowledge, science and culture, formation of attitudes of civic responsibility and also to support NGOs in Poland and abroad by promoting their activity in audiovisual form. The Association pursues these objectives through the creation of audiovisual materials and also through organising workshops, conferences and reviews.

The Association realises projects in collaboration with schools, social assistance centres, support centres for disabled people. The projects are also co-financed by national grants. Among other things, the Association held a scientific conference concerning social prevention and social exclusion, including people with disabilities. The Association works for the implementation and development of social research methods with the use of audiovisual methods (participatory video). Using the artistic, scientific and animation experience in the field of social issues, the Association builds and strengthens relationships with local communities. Members of the Association implement social policy in their professional work, including active involvement in the Social Policy Institute at the University of Warsaw.

Akdeniz University – Turkey

The primary mission of Akdeniz University is to provide a high level of education which is closely integrated with the academic world; to establish high quality programmes which support student mobility; to create scientific research and applications to a global standard with universal relevance; to transform its scientific projects into technologically viable products; to meet the needs of society for knowledge, technology and social solutions at the most advanced level through ongoing programmes in the fields of education, health and other vital services.

Blauschimmel Atelier – Germany

Blauschimmel Atelier was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organisation. Here people from all parts of social life have the possibility to discover and develop their creative potential. In Blauschimmel people with and without disabilities have the chance to meet and to create art together. Blauschimmel Atelier offers weekly courses and workshops in performing arts, fine arts, mask-performance and -building and music. The courses and workshops are led by professional artists and are open to everybody. Beside the weekly programme Blauschimmel organises and realises workshops, art projects, exhibitions, stage performances, concerts and sociocultural projects.

Our aim is to show the created results in public performances to show the incredible creative and thrilling energy and artistic variety of the common work. With the means of art the Blauschimmel Atelier provides a place of inclusion, where new cultural impacts can develop and where people with and without disabilities, of different generations, cultures and from different social living conditions can meet and be creative together under professional conditions.

Urban Survival Kit videos –

Catharsis – Scott Ramsey

About this exhibition: Catharsis ‘The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from strong or repressed emotions’ University of Atypical are pleased to host an

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The Drawing Rooms

Exhibition run: Thursday 21 March – Thursday 9 May 2024 Artist Talk – Friday 26 March 2024 1– 2pm Access: BSL Interpreter booked for artist

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NOCTURNES Documentation

NOCTURNES – Joel Simon  Belfast, November 22, 2023 – The University of Atypical is delighted to announce the unveiling of “NOCTURNES,” an extraordinary exhibition by

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I AM? Exhibition

I Am? – Exhibition Taking the theme of ‘I Am’ as a starting point or catalyst, the exhibition showcases a range of artworks representing each

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New disability arts CEO

New disability arts CEO driven to help others fulfil potential. The new head of Northern Ireland’s leading disability arts organisation will use her personal experiences

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NOCTURNES – Joel Simon

Joel Simon, an artist with a rich background in film-making, unveils “NOCTURNES” as a series of narrative oil paintings. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant nightlife

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Bounce Press release 2023

Bounce Arts Festival returns with extraordinary celebration of diversity Northern Ireland’s leading celebration of artistic diversity and inclusion – the Bounce Arts Festival – returns

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Press Release – Co Down

PRESS RELEASE Co Down artist’s new exhibition features at Bounce Arts Festival Artist Una Walker has taken inspiration from the landscape around her County Down

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Press Release – Cookstown

PRESS RELEASE Bounce Arts Festival comes to Cookstown Cookstown will host an event in Bounce Arts Festival, Northern Ireland’s leading celebration of artistic diversity and

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Bounce 2023 press release

PRESS RELEASE Bounce Arts Festival returns with extraordinary celebration of diversity Northern Ireland’s leading celebration of artistic diversity and inclusion – the Bounce Arts Festival

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Connecting Artists Programme

University of Atypical is delighted to exhibit work created as part of the Connecting Artists Programme 2023. Connecting Artists is a creative programme of the

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Epitaph – Amy Hannah

The University of Atypical for Arts and Disability is delighted to welcome you to Epitaph an exhibition of new work by artist Amy Hannah opening

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Images of Incoming

The Images of Incoming exhibition is the result of a project which engaged with some 50 women from Northern Ireland and Canada. The Northern Ireland

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Shussssh! – Open Arts

Shussssh!! Ok so we know this kind of thing happens on the downlow but why not pop along and witness this unique public intervention starting

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Song Of The Bones – VOKXEN

The story of Ireland’s last Witch Trial ‘The Song of the Bones’ is a piece of dark, immersive storytelling gig theatre; merging our electronic pop

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Irish performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell will collaborate with Selina Bonelli (Maidstone, England) and Marta Bosowska (Poznan, Poland) on a new disability-led project and hybrid way of creative engagement. After a period of online dialogue and virtual and in-person research, the project will culminate in a residency and live public performance in Belfast.

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Digital Horizon Lead Artist

Digital Horizon Programme 2022-2025 Digital Horizon – Purposefully pursuing creative ambition in Disability Arts 2022-2025 University of Atypical for Arts and Disability (UofA) is recruiting

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An international inclusive livestream adventure IO1-Meeting Brussels Description: Five days of intensive training with five theatre groups. All participants, five ambassadors per theatre group are

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CRAFT:IN EU Project 2021

CRAFT:IN Crafting the Inclusion: Crafts and Practices in non-formal education for increasing social inclusion This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

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Image ID: A feminine figure sits on the ground in the bottom left of the photograph. They have long reddish/brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt and teal coloured trousers. They are looking through a camera on a tripod, beside them is a wheelchair. Six people are standing in a semi circle in the background and there are other people to the left and right of the photo.

Fittings & MisFittings

The DisOrdinary Architecture Project was established in 2008. Since then a network of disabled artists have collaborated with architecture, interiors and built environment students, educators,

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2021 Graduate Award

University of Atypical’s 2021 Graduate Award University of Atypical 2021 Graduate Award in association with Ulster University, has been awarded to Nina Oltarzewska. Nina will

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Creating Time Awards 2020/21

Creating Time Awards 2020/21 First series of Unlimited grants awarded to d/Deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent Artists Winner of The Voice, Andrea Begley, is one of

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