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Avril Hitman: What next?

  • 2 years ago
  • written by NDA

There is still much to do in the world of inclusion and equality, even in the 21st century.  Individuals with a learning disability can be excluded from participating fully in society through being disadvantaged by their disability.

Leadership opportunities are still lacking. Arts Council England recently published statistics, detailing that 20% of the working age of the population identify as disabled; however they only make up 4% of staff at Arts Council funded organisations, and only 6% at Arts Council England. It seems there is still much work to do to change the balance of these statistics and what lies behind them.

My work over 32 years since founding Magpie Dance has enabled dancers with a learning disability to take leadership roles on main stages as role models for society to learn from, challenging stereotypes and assumptions.  For the many thousands of participants who have accessed Magpie’s projects since its inception, the key is ‘unlocking individual potential and ability’.

I’m keen to utilise my considerable experience and expertise, which enables me to share the learning from my career spanning 32 years as Artistic and Executive Director of Magpie Dance.

I can offer insights into the process of developing a highly successful start up and it’s longevity, resilience and developing inclusive opportunities for thousands of people with a learning disability over 32 years plus.

I’m available for consulting and speaking in the following areas of interest:

  • Public speaking at conferences, events and seminars to share the success and challenges of a start–up. Sharing the ‘Magpie story’ learning from the successes and challenges from very modest beginnings to a highly successful national organisation working with people who are often excluded through their disability.
  • Mentoring leaders
  • Team development
  • Developing individual and team potential
  • Overcoming challenges and stereotypes

Winning the National Diversity Awards Lifetime Achievement Award is a true recognition of the importance of inclusion in the communities in which we live. I believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure that individuals with a learning disability should be respected and valued members of society.


Source: Avril Hitman BEM, FRSA   

T: 07946 600486


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