The I AM Festival, part of the AFK's Cultural Ambassador Programme, concluded in March, highlighting workshops in dance, music, theatre, and art aimed at empowering disabled youths. Through partnerships with London organisations and a theme of 'See Me, Hear Me,' the festival championed inclusivity, providing a platform for creativity and challenging stereotypes among participants and employers alike.

Celebrating Co-Production, Creativity and Inclusivity: The I AM Festival 2024

In a bustling city like London, where culture thrives in every corner, there’s a special event that stands out for its commitment to inclusivity and creativity: the I AM Festival. This year, during the second week of March, the festival reached its crescendo, marking the culmination of the AFK’s Cultural Ambassador Programme—a 16-week journey dedicated to skill-building for disabled and neurodiverse youths.

✨ Making a Difference Together


With a number London organisations involved, the festival brought forth a host of workshops ranging from dance and music to theatre and art. Behind the scenes, the AFK team worked tirelessly, extending support to disabled employees, schools, and employers, all with the aim of fostering community involvement. The theme for this year’s festival was ‘See Me, Hear Me,’.

Now in its ninth year, the I AM Festival isn’t just about showcasing talent; it’s about empowerment and challenging stereotypes. It aims to provide a platform for individuals to explore their creativity freely, particularly those who may lack access to conventional artistic settings.


Beth Robertson from A New Direction, programme manager, emphasises the festival’s core principle of equitable access, stating, “A huge part of the festival is around inviting deaf, disabled, or neurodivergent children and people into spaces which for a variety of reasons may not be accessible to them.”


For Keira, one of AFK’s Cultural Ambassadors, the mission is personal. She advocates for fewer assumptions and a greater appreciation of differences. Her project, “Fabulous Flowers,” invites participants to express themselves through cardboard flowers, each colour representing a unique emotion or trait. Keira explains, “It encourages everyone to make a flower using the colours based on their personality.”


Throughout the week-long celebration, historic sites like Tate Modern, the National Theatre, and Sadler’s Wells served as backdrops for workshops and performances. Leaders from the education sector, alongside representatives from charities and the private sector, came together to share expertise on managing neurodiverse and disabled pupils.

Moreover, the festival serves as a bridge between employers and potential employees from diverse backgrounds. We hope that by showcasing the talents of disabled individuals, employers will recognise the immense value and possibilities a diverse workforce can offer.


Among the highlights of this year’s festival was the event curated by the AFK ambassadors themselves, titled “I’m Amazing, You’re Amazing.” Launched with great enthusiasm, it encapsulates the spirit of the festival—celebrating uniqueness, fostering a sense of belonging and challenging stereotypes.

As the curtains closed on another successful iteration of the I AM Festival, its impact extends far beyond the week itself. It’s a testament to the power of inclusivity and potential of the arts, leaving a mark on both participants, contributors and attendants alike. In a world that often struggles with acceptance, the festival stands as a showcase to remind us all to see and hear each other for who we truly are.

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