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Exploring the relationship between disability and architecture

IO: inside out

Squaring the circle


Squaring the circle is a public art program initiated by the Disability Arts development agency Dada-South ( and Diablo Arts ( in partnership with the University of Portsmouth (, St George’s Beneficial School, the Portsea community, and disabled artists, including lead artist Tony Heaton.
‘This inclusive public art program has been driven by disabled artists to highlight the skills, integrity and creative practice of excluded groups. The challenge has been to provide an equal platform for inspiring new works in Disability and Deaf Arts in the public realm. The success of the project has been in the leadership, creative process and the passion of all the artists and partners to work as a team.’ Zoe Partington-Sollinger, Project Organiser
The aim of the project is to develop a dialogue with local groups who can often feel excluded from plans about their own built environment. This project will allow them to contribute to new developments being proposed by the University. The Art Plus Award will enable sculptor Tony Heaton to produce a freestanding sculpture in Portland stone. It will incorporate artifacts and stories about the area, read by local people, alongside audio description. Inside Out artist, Mark Ware, will integrate audio contact points into the sculpture. Overall, the project will lead to the development of four related artworks. This will involve students, other local young people, the Portsmouth Disability Forum, local disabled artists and the University estates team. Upon completion, there will be a performance to launch the project. The project to date has seen Signdance Collective lead a number of workshops with children from St George’s Beneficial School in Portsea. Tony Heaton has also led a design project with over 120 students from the University of Portsmouth’s School of Architecture & Interior Design. Tony has developed the concept of ‘Squaring the Circle’over the past year and is now ready to realise his ideas.
Squaring the Circle image
Tony on site

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