AMIs 2011: RCP and Shape win prestigious award for 'inspired' exhibition

Posted by pt91 at Dec 01, 2011 05:15 PM |
Re-framing disability, currently at the University of Leicester, wins Visual Arts Award 2011
AMIs 2011: RCP and Shape win prestigious award for 'inspired' exhibition

One of the pictures in the exhibition, Chang and Eng who gave us the term ‘Siamese twins’ to popular culture. © Royal College of Physicians

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 28 November 2011

Images of the exhibition are available from:

An exhibition currently being staged at the University of Leicester School of Museum Studies, has won a national award.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and partners, Shape, have won a top award for helping to build a more inclusive world for disabled people, with their ‘challenging’ exhibition of RCP portraits Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians.

The Ability Media International (AMI) award was presented at a glittering ceremony at the world famous London Studios. The packed event was attended by some of the UK Arts industry’s most influential and well respected players – including Downton Abbey actor Dame Maggie Smith, children’s TV pioneer Anna Home and filmmaker Mike Leigh.

The AMI awards, created by Leonard Cheshire Disability in 2009, identify outstanding creative projects that encourage a more inclusive world for disabled people.

Bridget and Tony collect AMI award 300
RCP project curator, Bridget Telfer and Shape Chief Executive, Tony Heaton, collect their award.

Heralded by the international panel of judges as ‘inspired’ and ‘challenging’, Re-framing disability won the ‘Visual Arts Award 2011’. The art exhibition, the result of a partnership between the RCP and disability-led arts organisation Shape, explores rare portraits of disabled people from the 17th to 19th centuries, uncovers their hidden histories, and looks at their impact today through contemporary responses from 27 disabled participants across the UK.

Royal College of Art Rector, Dr Paul Thompson, presented the award to RCP project curator, Bridget Telfer and Shape Chief Executive, Tony Heaton.

Bridget comments:

‘We are delighted to receive this award in recognition of the exhibition. One of the aims of this project was to reduce the cultural invisibility of disabled people in traditional museum displays and to empower disabled people to take control of their own histories and identities. It is the 27 disabled participants that I really need to thank for all their hard work. Only through their voices and views may we hope - in the words of one participant - to encourage an ‘acceptance and celebration of difference’.’

Tony comments:

‘In a climate of funding cuts and gloom this award is a great vote of confidence for Shape.  It confirms the innovation and value we bring to the creative and cultural sector with truly participatory arts projects like Re-framing disability.

Developing partnerships and creating employment opportunities for disabled people from the creative sector is a vital part of what Shape does and our collaboration with the RCP has helped us achieve these important goals.’

Re-framing disability was generously supported by the Wellcome Trust People Awards and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) Documentation Improvement Grant.

The exhibition is touring to venues across the UK throughout 2011-2012. It is currently on display at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies until the end of January 2012. Further details about touring venues and the online exhibition can be found on the RCP website at:

The AMIs support the Ability Media Centre. Set up by Leonard Cheshire Disability, the centre gives disabled and disadvantaged young people the training and skills they need to meet the demands of the media industries.


Notes to editors 

Media enquiries:

For further information on the AMI awards, please contact Ruth Somerville in Leonard Cheshire Disability’s press office on 020 3242 0389 or email Out of office 07903 949 388.

For further information about Re-framing disability: portraits from the Royal College of Physicians, please contact RCP communications officer, Andrew McCracken, on 0203 075 1354, 07990 745 608 or

Leonard Cheshire Disability supports thousands of disabled people in the UK and works in more than 50 countries. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. Visit

About the Ability Media International Awards

The Ability Media International Awards recognise and celebrate artistic excellence that promotes a more inclusive world.  The awards are run by Leonard Cheshire Disability and supported by a creative board of leading arts and media professionals.

Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is the oldest medical college in England. Since its foundation in 1518 by Henry VIII, the RCP has built up a magnificent collection of books, manuscripts, portraits and medical artefacts. Today, the RCP plays a leading role in the delivery of high-quality patient care by setting standards of medical practice and promoting clinical excellence. As an independent body representing over 26,000 fellows and members worldwide, it advises and works with government, the public, patients and other professions to improve health and healthcare.


Shape is a disability-led arts organisation working to improve access to the arts for disabled people. For over 30 years we have been working with cultural organisations, artists and audiences to develop disabled artists’ careers, help organisations become more welcoming to deaf and disabled people, and enable more diverse groups of people to participate in the arts. Shape is based in Camden, north London, and works locally and nationally.

Shape is supported by Arts Council England.

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