Award-winning University arts centre features on new English Heritage website

Posted by pt91 at Dec 31, 2012 08:40 PM |
Embrace Arts features on website detailing history of buildings that tell the story of disabled people’s lives

Issued by Embrace Arts on 6 December 2012

The Richard Attenborough Centre, home of Embrace Arts – the University of Leicester’s arts centre, features in a new English Heritage website launched earlier this week.

The new Disability in Time and Place website, which went live on Wednesday 5 December, details the history of hundreds of buildings telling the story of disabled people’s lives, from medieval churches built with ‘Lepers’ squints’  to meeting places for the first disabled self-help groups in the early 20th century.

The Richard Attenborough centre is cited on the website as “an outstanding example of universal design” with a photograph of the building at

It is one of only two purpose-built accessible arts centres in the East Midlands for the promotion of arts and disability. The winner of a Royal Institute of British Architects’ award for Arts and Health, it is fully accessible with a design that promotes equality rather than separation or difference with all visitors and users sharing the same entrances and rooms.

Originally known as The Richard Attenborough Centre for Arts and Disability, it was created as a result of a campaign championed and led by Lord (then Sir Richard) Attenborough, and was officially opened on 27 May 1997 by HRH Diana, The Princess of Wales as one of her last public engagements before her untimely death.

Built on land on the main University campus donated by the City of Leicester, the capital cost of the building was funded through the arts lottery capital fund, Foundation for Sport and the Arts, charitable trusts and individual donations. Its current operations are funded by the University of Leicester and income from its own programme, with support from Arts Council England and project funding from charitable trusts and other sources.

Today, as the home of Embrace Arts with Lord Attenborough as its patron, it is an active multi-use inclusive public arts centre and committed to the promotion and encouragement of engagement in the arts by disabled people as artists, performers, learners and audience.

Open to all, it houses a 120-seater performance area, three studios, and a small exhibition gallery and is currently fundraising to build an extension to develop its visual arts exhibition and community education space, with the support of Arts Council England. Embrace fosters inclusive arts practice for artists, audiences and participants across all its performing and visual arts programming, both within the venue and in its outreach activities, and currently engages with more than 45,000 people annually from the city, county and further afield.

Embrace Arts is located at the Richard Attenborough centre on Lancaster Road near the fire station (LE1 7HA).


Notes to Editors:

Further details on this release are available from Gillian Garratt, Marketing Manager, Embrace Arts, email, tel 07973 188898.

Embrace Arts

As the University of Leicester’s arts centre, Embrace Arts offers opportunities to everyone to participate without barriers in ways that challenge and inspire. Its welcoming 120-seater performance area, dance and art studios, gallery and bright foyer space enable people to engage with the arts as audiences, performers and learners. 

Purpose-built to provide inclusive access to all, Embrace Arts provides a focal point for cultural life on campus and in the wider community. It is currently fundraising to match a £900,000 capital grant from Arts Council England to extend its existing gallery space for the display and interpretation of contemporary visual art and increase access for disabled people.

More information is available at

Embrace Arts, Richard Attenborough centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 7HA. Box office: 0116 252 2455; e-mail:

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Share this page: