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Out of the Shadows Exhibition at Midlands Arts Centre

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Words and pictures tell powerful story
A free exhibition at Birmingham's Midlands Arts Centre focuses on people with learning disabilities or autism who have ended up in prison or locked up. Out of the Shadows: the untold story of people with autism or learning disabilitiesruns from September 8 till November 11, 2018.

Out of the Shadows, Autism, Learning Difficulties, Midlands Arts Centre, Polly Braden, Sally Williams, Multistory, Exhibition, Photography
'Lindsey' (pic: Polly Braden)


Based on a book of the same name, by photographer Polly Braden, journalist Sally Williams and Sandwell-based company Multistory, it tells the stories of 10 people with learning disabilities or autism, through photographs, stories and first-person accounts. The exhibition tells what happened to them after being locked up or imprisoned, and reveals the human cost behind the statistics of people who fall through the gaps in our system.

Around seven per cent of people in prison are thought to have learning disabilities or autism, they are seven times more likely to come into contact with the police than the general population and account for just under a third of young people in custody.

Out of the Shadows, Autism, Learning Difficulties, Midlands Arts Centre, Polly Braden, Sally Williams, Multistory, Exhibition, Photography
'Roy' (pic: Polly Braden)


Out of the Shadows follows the award-winning book and national exhibition, Great Interactions, which captured images and stories of the everyday lives of people with learning disabilities and autism in educational and care settings. Photographer Polly Braden wanted to explore what would happen if individuals did not receive the right support, and this led to a new collaboration with Sandwell-based arts organisation, Multistory in July 2016.

The book, Out of the Shadows, is published by Dewi Lewis, and contains powerful photographs by Polly Braden, seven in-depth stories by Sally Williams and three first-hand accounts.

Out of the Shadows, Autism, Learning Difficulties, Midlands Arts Centre, Polly Braden, Sally Williams, Multistory, Exhibition, Photography


The exhibition coincides with the ten-year anniversary of Jenny Talbot's Prison Reform Trust report, No One Knows, which presented the findings of a major survey of prisoners with learning disabilities and learning difficulties and explored their experiences of the criminal justice system.

Polly Braden will talk about the exhibition and conduct a guided tour at 6.30pm on September 25.
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Why? Insight into a forgotten element of the criminal justice system
When: September 8 - November 11, 2018
Phone: 0121 446 3232
Where: Mildands Arts Centre, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH
Cost: Free
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