1 May 2017 — 26 November 2019

Over 18 months, artists Emma McGarry and Adam J B Walker worked with children labelled with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents and staff from the Portman Early Childhood Centre in North Westminster.

The project centred on the following questions: Why and how are children labelled with SEND being failed by the education system? How might adopting a rights approach improve experiences for children? How can parents and carers come together with early years workers to create a network of support and solidarity?

The resulting publication is available as a free download below. Printed copies are also available free of charge. Please email education@serpentinegalleries.org for your copy.

On 26th November 2019, a year on from the publication launch, Rights to… brought together parents, carers, educators, activists, and artists to create a network of support and solidarity to resist disability discrimination in the education system.

Changing Play is an ongoing partnership with the Portman Early Childhood Centre in Westminster, which brings together artists, children, families and educators to critically reconsider early years education and care.

*Rights to… was previously known as Special Rights. In consultation with our partners, we have removed the word ‘special’ which can be read as advocating for a separatist environment within schools and society. If you would like to read more about this please see here.

Emma McGarry and Adam J B Walker

Emma McGarry’s practice is something of a hybrid between art and anthropology. Adam J B Walker works in performance, video, text and digital situations.

Taking human behaviour and human interaction as its starting point, McGarry’s work explores the care, compassion, antagonism, rivalry and identification involved in forming relationships with others. Recent projects have included with Tate, Camden Arts Centre, Pump House Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery.

Adam J B Walker has recently exhibited with both artist run project spaces such as Vulpes Vulpes and Skelf Site, as well as institutions such as Camden Arts Centre, Tate and the ICA. Residencies undertaken include the SWAP UK/Ukraine British Council residency in Kyiv and the Paradox residency in Poznan, Poland. He is currently undertaking a practice-led PhD at the Royal College of Art interrogating the potential for criticality in the relationship between labour and identity under contemporary socio-economic conditions. Prior to this, he studied at Chelsea College of Art, Camberwell College of Arts and Cambridge University.

The Portman Early Childhood Centre

The Portman Early Childhood Centre provides education, care and family support services for young children and their families living in the Church Street area of Westminster, North London. These include a nursery school, adult education classes, family support, employment services, parenting groups and workshops.


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