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Relaxed mornings at the Jerwood for those with autism

In conjunction with Aspens, which specialises in autism support, Jerwood Gallery is launching a new programme of Relaxed Mornings for people with autism spectrum conditions. The gallery’s Katie Lineker reports.

In February the Jerwood launched a new programme of Relaxed Mornings. The gallery is opening its doors an hour earlier than usual, at 10am, on select Thursdays each month. ‘Relaxed’ events are specially curated drop-in sessions for people with autism spectrum conditions and their families and carers, so they can enjoy the arts together in a stress-free environment.

During that hour people can benefit from reduced noise levels in the gallery, alterations to lighting and the support of trained staff who are there to ensure that the space is as accessible as possible for all.

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Photo: Lens and Pixel (

Relaxed events are also suitable for people with sensory conditions, learning difficulties or other complex needs who would benefit from a calm and friendly space. There will also be a ‘chill out’ zone for people who might need to take a break during their visit.

Jerwood Gallery has been working on this new programme with Aspens, who provide support to children, young people and adults with a range of disabilities, complex needs and those on the autism spectrum.

Exploratory visit

Paula Taylor, acting manager for Aspens at Roebuck Centre in Hastings, brought three Aspens service users to the gallery for an exploratory visit last year. Their feedback was invaluable in the development of these events. One member of the group said the gallery was “an open, very light building; lovely paintings, really peaceful and relaxing. Ideal space for someone on the spectrum.”

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“The feedback from the group from Aspens was so valuable,” said John Murray, learning manager at the gallery. “It proved our theory that the unique design and architecture of the gallery make it a great space to use for relaxed events. There is a natural flow through the galleries which make them easy to navigate and there are nicely divided spaces which keep noise levels to a minimum. 

“We are so excited to be offering Relaxed Mornings for all of those who could benefit from the peace and quiet. We aim to ensure that as many people as possible have access to our varied and exciting exhibitions programme and this is a brilliant pathway for those on the autism spectrum who may feel that visiting at other times could be stressful.”


For more information about dates and specially reduced admission prices for Relaxed Mornings visit the Jerwood Gallery website events page. The next Relaxed Morning is on 21 March.




Posted 22:45 Thursday, Mar 7, 2019 In: Health Matters

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