Deaf musician and Community Arts Specialist Amy-Rose Atkinson set-up Access The Arts in 2016 with the aim of improving access and inclusivity within the creative arts.
Coming from a family of musicians and entertainers, Amy-Rose has been immersed in theatre since early childhood and joined the family business as a professional musician aged just 11. Being exposed to and having to become competent in such a wide variety of music from traditional Irish and Scottish ceilidh music, to dinner dance jazz, via every corner of Rock ‘n’ Roll, meant that Amy-Rose developed a mish-mashed musical palette of glorious blues and dazzling musical theatre numbers.
Unfortunately hereditary hearing loss was prevalent in the family, this meant that Amy-Rose was using British Sign Language long before she developed a hearing loss herself. From being a very young age Amy-Rose decided she wanted to be an Interpreter for the Deaf, so along with her music and theatre training, worked her way through her BSL qualifications and enjoyed ten years working in education with Deaf children and adults.
After her hearing deteriorated to a severe level, Amy-Rose felt that being an interpreter was no longer a viable option, and decided that interpreting for the opening ceremony of the Hull City Of Culture would be the perfect finale. When one door closes... Setting up Access The Arts seemed like the perfect solution - embrace the Deaf identity and accept the challenges of being an artist with a perceived disability.
"I still continue to work as a professional musician, but myself and the musicians I work with have had to find new ways of performing together on stage. I am now proud to be a Deaf musician and I hope to encourage other Deaf people to experience and enjoy music without barriers."
In 2017 Amy-Rose was approached to take over ‘Bluenotes’ on BBC Radio Lancashire. It was felt her love of all aspects of the Blues genre, old and new, meant she would be the prefect fit to take the show forward after the previous presenter's retirement.
"The steep learning curve has been worth every twist and turn, as I have had the honour to interview and record sessions with John Mayall, Samantha Fish, Giles Robson, Sari Schorr, Doug MacLeod and many more wonderful artists. One of my highlights so far was being invited to be a judge for the 2019 UK Blues Challenge which was an absolute hoot, and what a treat to see The Achievers go on to represent the UK in Memphis! "
Amy-Rose is now a proud member of the UK Blues Federation Board and with the help of her Advisors & Consultants, continues to breakdown barriers to disability within Music and The Arts.
"You can't know all the things all the time."
That's why we are proud to have consultants and advisors who can help and educate us on the things we might not be experts on quite yet! From Visual Impairment advisors, to Disability ambassadors, Access The Arts has most* areas covered.
*if not all!
Autism & Music Specialist
A specialist in SEN education with over ten years working in schools, Adam is currently a senior member of staff at Highbury School, a specialist centre for education.