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Digital Culture Award Winner Case Study: Sense

An small audience sit in a dance studio, in front of a large screen. The audience are seated on chair or bean bags, watching two dancer performing in the movie being projected onto the screen.
Screening at Birmingham Rep Theatre as part of B2022.

Sense is committed to delivering work of the highest artistic quality whilst simultaneously challenging the perception that Social Care isn’t a place of culture. They support people with significant ‘complex disabilities’, a term that refers to the combination of communication, physical, developmental, and emotional barriers that individuals face. Sense aims to support everyone who is deafblind or has complex disabilities to experience the world and fulfil their potential.

Sense won the Digital Inclusion category in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards for their inclusive dance film, Moving Portraits.

The winning project

Moving Portraits captures six portraits from dancers who are deafblind and/or are living with complex disabilities, who were invited to share their lived experiences through dance. The portraits were specifically designed from concept to completion to be experienced through touch, sight, and sound. The dancers were captured using cinematography, dance, audio description, SubPac technology and a specially designed sound score that translates movement into vibration. This score is split into two elements, one that reflects the movement through vibration and another that is co-designed by the dancers that reflect their portrait.

Moving Portraits by Sense

The result is a film for everyone, but most importantly, for the dancers themselves. A bespoke site-specific screening was produced, which aimed to create a space comfortable for those who have never been to a theatre before. The relaxed screening presented a floor-length double-sided screen in a dark back black room, which allowed all abilities to sit, move and feel the vibration of each film.

A sensitive and moving exploration of complex disability expressed through movement.

Andrew Miller MBE, Digital Inclusion Judge

By recognising the opportunities presented by digital technologies, Sense have produced a project model which creates opportunities for disabled artists – in partnership with professional creatives – to create ground-breaking work in the physical and digital space. Moving Portraits is an innovative and ground-breaking approach to using technology to not only capture creative content, but to make it accessible to everyone.

About the Digital Inclusion category

Digital Inclusion celebrates innovative use of digital technology to improve access to creativity and culture for diverse and representative audiences. Sense was the winner, decided by public vote, in this category in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards for their entry Moving Portraits: a dancefilm accessible for everyone.

2023 Digital Culture Award Winners

Meet and be inspired by more of the brilliant Winners in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards. The nine categories celebrate innovation in areas including digital content creation and distribution, online audience engagement, digital income development strategies, data-led decision-making and overall commitment to digital skills development and capacity building.

Want to make your digital content more accessible?

The Digital Culture Network can help! Our digital experts can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural individuals and organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help with a specific issue or would just like to chat about your digital ambitions, please get in touch.

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