In England, children who are in fostered local authority care are described as Looked After Children (LAC). These young people are sometimes vulnerable, hard to reach and can be left behind in the educational system and wider society. In many ways – their voices are not easily heard. They are overseen at local authority level by a ‘Virtual School Head ’. This is an officer in the local authority who is accountable and responsible for making sure the children and young people have every opportunity whilst in local authority care to achieve their potential.

As a group, there is a remains a ‘gap’ in educational attainment when compared to children who are not looked after. For example, just 15% of LAC (in Nottinghamshire) achieved expected standards at the end of KS2 (junior school aged 7 – 11). This compares with the total English school population of 55% achieving expected outcomes ( 2016). With such a significant gap, Nottinghamshire County Council embarked on an ambitious programme of support and challenge to improve the picture for those pupils in local authority care.

Working collaboratively with the children, home (the adults who foster/care for the pupils) and school, Looked After Children were offered an opportunity to ‘power-up’ their literacy through a multisensory programme of learning and confidence building.

The programme was developed by Dr Petula Bhojwani and Craig Wilkie for Nottinghamshire County Council, to motivate, engage and build confidence of the children through carefully selected literature, software and apps for their tablet and, resources such as puppets and props. The aim was to improve Literacy outcomes and boost speaking and listening skills in order to ‘close the gap’.

Key to this work was the ability to capture evidence and demonstrate progress. Bhojwani and Wilkie used RIX EasySurvey to capture and monitor progress throughout the intervention. EasySurvey is an accessible online survey tool that is easy to use and fun for children to engage with… Measuring data before and after the activities helped the shaping and evolving of the intervention and proved the benefits of the work by demonstrating positive changes in confidence, behaviour and engagement in Literacy skills of the children. RIX EasySurvey supported both summative and formative assessment.

EasySurvey screen
One of the questions used in the EasySurvey

Central to being a confident communicator is the concept of ‘audience’. RIX Wikis were used to showcase work that the children generated during the project. RIX Wikis are simple, easy to build websites that children and their families used as a digital ‘scrapbook’ to collect images, video and text of their literacy achievements. Through a simple secure sharing facility, the children and their parents shared these work showcases with the school, family and friends. RIX Wikis are the perfect tool – literacy is more than text it’s about making meaning and meaning making. It’s about making yourself heard and understood.

RIX Wiki screen
Picture of the RIX Wiki used in the project

The project outcomes contributed to the KS2 Nottinghamshire LAC outcomes rising from (pre intervention) 15% in 2016 to 30% in 2017 (post intervention). Whilst a gap still remains – the performance gains were indisputable and RIX software was the digital component that complimented the books and resources the children were given.
RIX software contributed specifically by:

  • Being accessible and easy to use.
  • Being good value, low cost, high impact.
  • Allowing children to be better understood.
  • Allowing children to be better understood.
  • Allowing children a safe space to share and show things they were proud to have achieved.
  • Being fun and motivational to use.
  • Building relationships between home and school through the online nature of Wiki websites.

The research and outcomes of the project, including details about the use of RIX EasySurvey and RIX Wikis is documented in the book; Power-Up Literacy, published by the UK Literacy Association. UKLA, 9 Newarke Street, Leicester, LE1 5SN. The book features resources, guidance and support to allow schools to replicate elements of the intervention themselves. ISBN: 978 1 910543 88 7.

Power Up Literacy book bover
Power Up Literacy book cover

To experience the benefits of the RIX Wiki for yourself and your students you can buy a RIX Wiki by clicking here

Get involved! We are particularly interested in hearing from Virtual School Heads and those with specific responsibility for Looked After Children to support our continued research and software developments. Contact us at:

On Monday 25th June the purpleSTARS, who work with the RIX team to make Museums more inclusive using sensory and digital interpretation approaches, visited Glenside Hospital Museum in Bristol. The museum is working with RIX and the purpleSTARS team engaging local volunteers with learning disabilities from the Bristol area.

The aim is to research and interpret objects that have been collected from Stoke Park house, which used to be an institution attached to Glenside, where people who were considered to have a learning disability used to live.

Working with Glenside volunteers
PurpleStars researchers exploring the history of the Stoke Park house

The team learned that the definition of ‘learning disability’ used back when Stoke Park was open was very different from our understanding about people with learning disabilities today. The Stoke Park collection is currently on display at the Glenside museum and the group is looking to explore how working on multi-sensory interpretation of some of the objects can make the collection more accessible and meaningful for visitors with learning disabilities. The shared goal is to share stories about people with learning disabilities and how they used to be treated in the UK and to improve understanding about how conditions can be changed.

The purpleSTARS travelled from London to Bristol to share their knowledge and expertise with the new Bristol volunteers, to help them progress on their project. The purpleSTARS shared some of their Wiki building work, particularly the WIKI produced as part of the Access All Areas’ ‘Madhouse Project’. This served as an excellent example of work around the history of people with learning disabilities and the way they were housed in hospitals and other large Institutions, like the Glenside Hospital site.

The team from Bristol shared their own work to date in which they have explored the history of Glenside Hospital and reflected on the way disabled people’s lives have been shaped by such institutions. This work included the production of poetry by volunteer Dave Pearse (Poet and Curator) that was inspired by what he had learned about Stoke Park:

The Mansion on the hill
The Mansion on the hill
A romantic ideal for many
But to some this was a symbol of sadness
Of children taken from family
To grow up institutionalised
Only as time progressed and minds opened
Was pleasure and kindness brought to these young colonists
From colony institution to communal home
A home of kindness and care.

Dave Pearse reading his poem
Dave Pearse reading his poem

Another volunteer, Heather Whitcher (Curator) shared some games that doctors used to use to assess patients’ intellectual ability and there was a discussion about making a replica version so that visitors could have a go themselves. Joshua Wrixon (Curator) shared with us an old head protector that was used for people with epilepsy. John Pimm (Volunteer and Trustee since 1993) has an extensive knowledge of Stoke Park as he used to be Stoke Park hospital Transport Manager. He shared a machine used to subject people to electric shocks as part of their treatment.

John Pimm
John Pimm talking about the electric shock treatments at the hospital

This collaborative work brings together people with learning disabilities alongside staff and volunteers from museums across the country to use digital technologies to re-interpret public culture, applying multi-sensory approaches to make collections more accessible for everyone. This builds on RIX Research undertaken as part of the Sensory Objects project with Reading and Leeds Universities, the National Trust, British Museum and the Museum of English Rural Life.

For further information see: and .

Our notes from the visit
Our notes from the visit

Ajay Choksi from the RIX team was there as part of the purpleSTARS. He commented after the visit, ‘I found Glenside Hospital Museum very interesting. I saw that they kept the objects safe in glass cases with ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs. They included drawings of residents from back in the days. They showed people with sadness, upset and illness. I saw clay models too of people supporting each other, holding each other, holding hands and not letting go. Here was a positive picture – if we let go it is more upset. Here was a positive story of our history.’


On Tuesday 17th of July 2018 I attended an interactive ‘Travelling Storytellers’ session at the British Museum. The session aimed to explore stories from India and it was run by Olivia Armstrong.

The session was attended by many people with learning disabilities including our friends from the Tower Project.

Olivia started the session by welcoming everyone using Indian words and welcome sign and invited everyone to participate.

Next, Olivia gave out copies of the 1690, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India painting.

After that, she took out different objects and materials that we all used to tell the story from the painting.

I really enjoyed the session as I was able to learn what was happening on the painting and the story helped me to understand the picture better.

I feel it is important to have interactive storytelling sessions as they help everyone to engage with galleries and museums. Other people with learning disabilities who attended the session where also able to take part no matter how severe their disability was.

At the end of the session I had an opportunity to have a quick chat about the session with Olivia Armstrong. Please see the video below.

Gosia Kwiatkowska and Ajay Choksi from RIX Research & Media showcased the RIX Multimedia Advocacy Method to academics, educators and practitioners from across the world at the latest Seminar of the EU ‘Social Inclusion for Learners – SOIL’ Project over three days this week, hosted by UEL at the Good Hotel on the Royal Docks. Delegates from Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Romania, Italy, Thailand and China were introduced to the innovative ‘Multimedia Advocacy’ approach to the education of learners with intellectual disabilities.

Dr Prapassara Thanosawan fro the SWU University in Bangkok, Thailand commented that the Seminar’s information about innovative applications of Technology in Special Education shared by RIX Centre Researchers “…has been very stimulating academically. As a Linguistics scholar I have found the ideas about Easy to Read use of language and the use of accessible media tools particularly interesting.” she said.

You can find out more about the SOIL project and it’s outcomes on the project website:

Listening to and Involving Young People

Free Webinar with live Q&A

Aired: Tuesday 6th June 2018, 13:00 – 13:30

Statutory guidance from the Department for Education states that local authorities and schools listen to and involving children and young people when considering how best to provide opportunities for them. Under section 176 of the Education Act 2002 they are required to consult with pupils in connection with the taking of decisions which affect them.

Involving children and young people is their right, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (articles articles 2, 3, 6 and 12). It is at the heart of RIX Multimedia Advocacy to provide children and young people with a voice and opportunities to express their opinion in matters that affect their lives.

Charlton Park Academy’s residential provision ‘Rainbow House’ has just achieved an Ofsted Outstanding report (2018). This is largely because of their commitment to self-advocacy and the use of RIX Wikis and the Multimedia Advocacy approach to encourage all students to become active participants in a democratic society by involving them in school councils, meetings and decision making processes, and helping them to develop their communication skills, co-operation and encouraging them to take responsibility.

We were proud to host this webinar with Kathryn Stowell, who leads this work at Charlton Park Academy. Ms Stowell shared with us how the school is using RIX Wikis and Multimedia to centralise the student voice in everything they do. Kathryn talked about the benefits of this approach and the impact that it has on increased confidence, self-respect, competence and an improved sense of responsibility, as well as increased motivation and engagement with learning.

An inclusive keynote speech opens proceedings at Communication Works 2018

Research & Media were at the Communication Works 2018 conference at Charlton Park Academy, showcasing RIX tools and projects alongside cutting edge leaders in the field of assistive technology. The event, which took place on 25th May, was a large gathering of organisations and individuals disseminating and celebrating technology that continually improves, assists, and includes.

 Representatives from RIX talked to conference attendees about our exciting work on the as part of which we are working with students at Charlton Park Academy testing the Mathisis software. The innovative software has a unique algorithm that has been developed to work with a camera to capture the ‘affect state’ of the learner and then adjust their learning tasks appropriately, with the aim that learning becomes individualized and more effective. RIX intern Ramsey Hufford generated a lot of interest for the project by demonstrating how the Mathisis application can be used to build and achieve learning goals.

RIX Wiki Master Ajay Choksi also walked people through his RIX Wiki, illustrating first-hand how it has helped himself, and others to become self-advocates. People really enjoyed exploring Ajay’s Wiki and being able to look at all the pictures,watch the videos, and hear the audio he uses on the Wiki to tell his story.

Ajay Choksi, and Jack Ansley talk to event attendees

Other exhibitors on the day demonstrated their assistive technology and ran breakout sessions showing how their technology works and can be adapted to individuals. Conference organisers CENMAC had set up a small museum exhibit showing the history of assistive technology since their organisation began in 1968. The museum was shocking, opening the eyes of attendees to the terrible conditions that people with any disability lived through. The museum showed how radically this technology has improved in the last 50 years, and it made us all hopeful for the changes to come. For example, Jim Bowen from C-Pens was presenting on how the C-Pen functions to assist people with dyslexia, or partial sightedness to read. The technology within that small device was astounding, and it is immediately clear how the device could assist everyone in a classroom and build their confidence with reading.

A Crick Software representative demos their AAC software to a classroom filled with educators

Multiple people presented on different types of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), ranging from applications to devices dedicated to the pre-installed AAC softwares. Companies like Crick Software Ltd, Smartbox, and Tobii Dynavox demonstrated how their assistive technology is able to empower people to communicate and instantly impact their quality of life.

In short, Communication Works 2018 brought together many organisations and individuals, creating a wonderful environment for learning about inclusive methods and tools and exchanging of ideas. A lot of exhibitors and attendees were excited to hear about the work of RIX Research & Media and we in turn were excited to learn about other projects that are using technology to empower and enable self-advocacy.

Article by Ramsey Hufford


Last Friday 20 April 2018, RIX Research & Media held a conference for the Social Inclusion of Learners (SOIL) project. The aim of the conference was to inspire and inform educators about new and innovative methods of inclusion in schools. The information was facilitated by a range of guest speakers from around the world who shared with delegates their methods and expertise. The conference was attended by educators from the UK and Europe.

Throughout the day, information on different methods of inclusion were presented. John Galloway from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets presented on the history and advancement of technology, showing some advances that assist people with disabilities. John informed the group of amazing technology that is able to aid people with sight and hearing. He also crucially highlighted that there are barriers to people accessing the assistive technology they need. Luckily, assistive technology such as devices with environment control such as Amazon’s Alexa are being integrated in mainstream technologies making it much more affordable.

Presenters from the Austrian organisation atempo demonstrated mainstream applications that show great possibility to move towards inclusion in schools. One application that was particularly exciting was Plickers. It was immediately clear that Plickers engaged and motivated the delegates and could be used in a number of ways to tailor the classroom to the needs of the student.

Margret Rasfeld from Germany based ‘School on the Move’ gave an eye-opening presentation about her organisation and their ground-breaking educational methods. The presentation explained how the school is upending the traditional concept of a classroom environment and the roles of educator and student, and empowers students to learn in an effective way for themselves. The methods presented by Rasfeld, allow students to take control of and direct their own education through the use of ‘learning boxes’. Her presentation encouraged her fellow educators to consider the benefits of using these ‘new-age methods’.

Another group of presenters (Rufaro, Paul, Lee) from the Access All Areas theatre group presented their Madhouse RIX Wikiexplaining how the Wiki had facilitated and documented their research into life in a mental institution in the UK, and how it had also augmented their acting in a satirical play showing what life would have been like if they were stuck in a ‘MadHouse’ of the past.

Their Wiki presentation illustrated exactly the approach that RIX Research and Media champions – multimedia technology that supports people to organise their thoughts and ideas and enables people to speak for themselves and advocate for themselves. Prof. Andy Minnion, and Ajay Choksi explained Multimedia Advocacy and its importance to the group. In the RIX presentation, delegates learned about how selfies have become such a large part of today’s world and how those pictures can help you understand and define yourself, an idea Andy describes as ‘selfie advocacy’.

The conference was successful in bringing in people from across the world and teaching them about different methods and approaches to having inclusion in schools.

Story By Ramsey Hufford

Sixteen educators from Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Norway last week attended a five-day

‘Personalised Education with Tablets’ course in which they have learned how to apply Multimedia Advocacy and the Universal Design principles and use tablets in their classrooms to support all learners.

The Multimedia Advocacy approach, developed by RIX Research and Media, over many years of research, combines the principles of student-centred practice, universal design for learning and the self-advocacy framework. The course, which was delivered at the University of East London, was developed by RIX together with Austrian organisation ‘atempo‘ over the two-year long Erasmus+ funded research project ‘Inclusive Education with Tablets‘ (IncluEdu). The project saw the Multimedia Advocacy approach combined with and applied to latest developments in mobile technologies to further remove barriers to education for all learners.

On the first day of the course, the educators identified their personal learning goals for the week that they then worked towards over the five days. Most had already used tablets in their teaching and were interested in learning strategies for using them more effectively. For others, using tablets in their classrooms was completely new and they wanted to learn about a few apps and how to apply them in their teaching.

Teachers working on their learning goals for the week

The aim of the course was to introduce everyone to the Multimedia Advocacy Approach to personalised teaching and explore a range of apps to facilitate students’ learning. The programme included visits to a mainstream and a special school, learning in the park, reflections, self-directed study, app demonstrations, presentations, and workshops.

 The rapidly changing job market will require graduates to have skills to adapt to the unknown demands of new roles. Educating students is no longer preparing them for the known but for the unknown. The skills that young people must learn are those of creativity, adaptability, critical thinking and learning to learn. The course was delivered with, and therefore modelled for the teachers, the Universal Design for Learning approach, which cultivates and encourages exactly these skills of adaptability and self-directed learning.

The feedback from the teachers attending the course was really positive, with 100% of participants being satisfied with the course. The participants enjoyed all aspects of the course and returned to their respective countries with new ideas and inclusive strategies to apply to their teaching.

Forthcoming ‘Personalised Learning with Tablets’ courses will be delivered in Austria, Finland, Ireland, Germany and Cyprus as well as the UK. If you are an educator from the UK or Europe and would like to attend one of the courses, you can apply for an Erasmus+ mobility grant to cover the cost. Visit the IncluEdu website for information about the courses and how to apply:

Course participants exploring new technologies


The Social Inclusion of Learners project (SoIL) are hosting networking conferences and seminars across Europe to share our research findings and build a network of professionals.  RIX Research and Media are hosting the SoIL conference in London and we would like to welcome educators and teachers to join us from the 14th June – 16 June 2018.

Conference details:
Date: 14/06/18 – 16/06/18
Location: Good Hotel London


Picture from the SoIL conference in Bratislava, October 2017


The Social Inclusion of Learners project (SoIL) is a collaborative project funded through the European Commission’s Erasmus + programme. SoIL is a cooperation of six partners bringing together their respective inclusive, individualised learning methods and expertise. The objectives of the project are to:
  1. Evaluate inclusive, individualised teaching methods in the classroom.
  2. Foster the inclusion of disadvantaged learners (including children of newly arrived migrants and people with disabilities) whilst preventing and combatting discriminatory practices.
  3. Empower teachers to be able to address the needs of all learners and understand the diversity of learners.
  4. Build a network of experts, educators and policy and decision makers to disseminate information and progress.
  5. Create open access resources to empower educators.

The seminars will present innovative inclusive practices that are tried and tested and proven to be helpful in promoting inclusion. During the three days seminars you will have an opportunity to learn:

  • How to empower learners by using the ‘learning office’ – which promotes peer learning approach
  • How to motivate and engage all learners using the Multimedia Advocacy and the Universal Design for learning approach
  • How to make learning fun for all learners using a range of digital, easily accessible tools and apps
  • How to communicate in the diverse classroom using the Easy to Read – Capito approach

Teachers, teaching assistants, teacher trainers and others involved in children or adult education who are interested in receiving training in the above mentioned methods and are keen to try or implement them in their practice are welcome to register. Please note that these seminars are free but places are limited The seminar takes place over three days:

Thursday 14th June 10am – 4pm

Friday 15th June 10am – 4pm

Saturday 16th June 10am – 1pm

If you would like to attend but are unable to do so for the whole event, please register then let us know which days you are unable to attend by e-mail:

Image from the SoIL conference in Bratislava, October 2017

6 weeks after the seminar you will be asked to complete an evaluation questionnaire with your feedback on implementing the tools within your practice.

We would like to welcome teachers from all over the UK to attend our seminar. If the travel costs will be barrier for you attending we have a limited budget to assist teachers’ travel costs. Please contact us on for more information.

Keep up to date on the SoIL project by following our Facebook page:
Charlton Park students Charlie & Harry work together on Harry’s Wiki

We would like to wish huge congratulations to our friends and co-developers at Charlton Park Academy for achieving a rating of ‘Outstanding’ in the recent Ofsted inspection of their residential school provision.

RIX Research & Media have worked closely with Charlton Park Academy, a residential special school in South–East London, for many years. Our UEL Social Work students are placed at Charlton Park as part of their ‘Readiness for Practice’ module. They work with young people at the school with the aim of developing their self-advocacy skills.

To enable this communication the young people develop RIX Wikis, on which they capture important information they want to share and can use to rehearse their message in preparation for reviews. This helps the young person to then advocate with confidence and take a more active part in their own review meeting.

Charlton Park Academy are trailblazers in their innovative use of technology to assist communication and person-centred planning. They run an annual conference for assistive and inclusive technology called ‘Communication Works’.

The school have been working with RIX Wikis since 2012. As early adopters of the Wiki system they have played a critical role in its development and refinement. Charlton Park have pioneered the integration of Wikis into the curriculum and became the first school in which every student has their own RIX Wiki. This practice was commended and the benefits highlighted in the ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report:

Students have access to the latest technology to assist their communication. This has led some to make remarkable achievements in how they can communicate with others and express their preferences. All students continue to make very good use of their personal ‘wikidiary on tablet computers. This provides students with a safe platform to communicate their wants and needs and to share their experiences. Parents and staff can also contribute to this. This ensures that students have a voice and that adults listen to them.’

Charlton Park Academy Social Care Inspection Report

A Charlton Park Student’s Wiki

You can find out more about how students at Charlton Park use their Wikis by watching Charlie’s case study video.

The Ofsted report also highlighted the student-centred focus at Charlton Park, the outstanding leadership and overall experience of children and young people, as well as the effective actions taken by the school that ‘contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences’ for them.

We hope that we can continue building on our work with Charlton Park Academy and learning from our valuable co-productive relationship with this innovative and person-centred school.

Students at an Oxfordshire College have kicked off a year-long research project in which they will use their Wiki skills to mentor and support learners from local schools as they make the transition to College. The ‘Mainstreaming’ project, based at Abingdon & Witney College, combines use of the RIX Wikis with added secure social media and personal organiser tools to help provide peer support and mentoring for the school leavers and make their transition to further education easier.

The students at the College have been working with Wikis for two years as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Wiki Start Up programme. They have already produced a Wiki called ‘Transitions’ that provides guidance and encouragement for their younger peers by sharing their own memories of leaving the comfort of the familiar school setting and engaging with the wider community at College. The college students call this ‘mainstreaming’ – and they recall finding the transition a challenge; “I was a bit nervous” explains Kieran in a video clip on the Wiki, “But now I am really brave about coming to college” he says, “…and it’s good!”

RIX Research & Media is working in collaboration with multimedia advocacy software company, Multi Me on the project, alongside staff and students from the College and 5 local schools.

Our shared research goal is to trial the potential of adding more accessible online tools to the RIX Wiki and to explore the new system’s potential to facilitate peer support for young people with learning disabilities. The ‘WikiMe’ software created as a prototype for the project features secure multimedia social networking, with additional goal setting, calendar and diary tools. College students will link up with the school leavers, share stories and message each other in the run up to the new academic year in September. The students are learning to mentor and advocate for their younger peers and friendships are being built online that will help make the transition easier for the school leavers. School and College students are acquiring valuable digital skills on a secure online space where all can learn how to use social media safely and in a positive way that can help others face the challenges of adulthood.

Early feedback from the college staff and students has been enthusiastic. Veena, a Teaching & Learning Assistant at the College, posted a comment on the WikiMe network after the first session, “I can see that this is a nice safe place to have a conversation or just show an opinion in a very simple way. Ideal for our students.” Student Connor gave ‘thumbs up’ too and singled out the Goal tool, which he found helpful as it set out the day’s work into step-by-step tasks so that he could get on with his work at his own pace – which is very swift!


The Social Inclusion of Learners project (SoIL) are hosting networking conferences and seminars across Europe to share our research findings and build a network of professionals.  RIX Research and Media are hosting the SoIL conference in London and we would like to welcome educators and teachers to join us on the 20th April 2018.

Conference details:
Date: 20/04/18
Location: Good Hotel London
Time: 9am – 5pm

Picture from the SOiL conference in Bratislava, October 2017
The Social Inclusion of Learners project (SoIL) is a collaborative project funded through the European Commission’s Erasmus + programme. SoIL is a cooperation of six partners bringing together their respective inclusive, individualised learning methods and expertise. The objectives of the project are to:
  1. Evaluate inclusive, individualised teaching methods in the classroom.
  2. Foster the inclusion of disadvantaged learners (including children of newly arrived migrants and people with disabilities) whilst preventing and combatting discriminatory practices.
  3. Empower teachers to be able to address the needs of all learners and understand the diversity of learners.
  4. Build a network of experts, educators and policy and decision makers to disseminate information and progress.
  5. Create open access resources to empower educators.
RIX Research and Media are hosting the SoIL conference in London and we would like to welcome educators and teachers to join us on the 20th April 2018.
By attending, you will find out about:
  • Apps and tools that you can use in your teaching practice
  • The principles of Multimedia Advocacy
  • Tips on making information more inclusive and ‘Easy to Read’
  • See the impact of the ‘School on the Move’ and meet students who are part of it
  • Meet other professionals and share ideas
Margaret Rasfeld, Founder of the ‘School on the Move’, Germany
Margret Rasfeld is the founder of the Schule im Aufbruch (School on the Move) and she will be joining us in April to deliver a one hour lecture on the approach and its impact on education.  Margaret will also facilitate a workshop with students from one of her schools. This presentation will be of particular interest to the UK teachers.
Prof Andrew T. Minnion MBE, University of East London, UK
Athina Tempriou, University of East London, UK
Debbie Kilbride, University of East London, UK
John Galloway, Tower Hamlets, London Local Authority, UK
Tina Gazovicova, CVEK, Slovakia
Stana Schenck, Schenck Consultants, Germany
Gosia Kwiatkowska, University of East London, UK
Keep up to date on the SoIL project by following our Facebook page:
Project Partners: RIX Research and Media from London, Schule im Aufbruch from Germany (School on the Move), aTempo from Austria, CVEK form Slovakia, Gemeente Maastricht from Netherlands, Casa Corpului CCD – Didactic Centre by the Ministry of Education in Romania and Schenck Consultancy from Germany.

Richard Lohan from Camden presenting

Our RIX Community Event on Tuesday 27th February may have taken place in blinding snow blizzard, but everyone attending walked away from the day with a clearer vision of how they can use Wikis to make information easier to understand and more person-centred.

The aim of the day was to go back to basics and re-calibrate people’s ideas about what makes a high quality Wiki.

Richard Lohan, Accessible Information Officer for the London Borough of Camden, shared Camdens’ Wiki portal of accessible public information Wikis. Richard explained his working approach to making & maintaining this exemplar set of Wikis that provide information about council services and local activities in Camden.

Follow the link to see how Richard’s consistent ‘one image, one sentence, one idea’ and use of photo-symbols and sound make information that is extraordinarily clear and easy to understand.

Richard delivered a workshop where he gave practical tips and guidelines on how to make information better for everyone. Perhaps the most vital point Richard stressed was that since the 2010 Equality Act, “making information easier to understand is, in fact, a legal requirement” and a reasonable adjustment that is the responsibility of all local authorities and education organisations to make.

Other presentations included Judith Appiah & Michal Tapps from the PurpleSTARS Project, who demonstrated how Wiki can be a useful tool for researchers & co-researchers alike.

RIX Co-Director Gosia Kwiatkowska also made a presentation that brought the focus of Wiki use clearly back to the principles and approach of Multimedia Advocacy. Breaking down the components of self-advocacy Gosia explained how “without putting these principles into practice, the Wiki is just a tool like anything else“.

Richard’s accessible information workshop


Gosia presenting

The adverse weather conditions (and perhaps the looming April deadline for transition to EHCP) meant for a smaller than usual attendance, however the smaller group gave us the opportunity to deliver a highly person-centred community event that really addressed the needs of everyone who came.

All attendees were asked to identify individual learning goals in the morning and by the end of the day had successfully met their learning objectives!

Actress Sally Phillips was hosted by the RIX Research & Media team this week and introduced to our RIX Wiki software, when she made a public appearance at UEL on Monday to talk about her career and her advocacy work for people with Down’s.

Sally is well known for her role in TV and Film, including Smack the Pony, Miranda and Bridget Jones Diary. She is also a mother of Olly, who has Down’s Syndrome and is a passionate advocate for people with Down’s. Sally produced and hosted a BBC Documentary called ‘A World Without Downs’ in 2015, which challenges the whole set of assumptions behind the pre-natal screening for Down’s and what this reflects about the way our society and the medical establishment views people with this condition. Ms Phillips received an honorary doctorate from UEL in November 2017, in recognition of her high profile advocacy work for people with Down’s.

Following her presentation, which was chaired by the RIX Director, Professor Andy Minnion, Sally joined the RIX team and some of our Wiki Champions at the RIX Centre and learned about our work. Ms Phillips met with RIX staff and RIX Wiki Champion, Claire Watts, whose son Alfie also has Down’s Syndrome. Alfie has learned how to build his own RIX Wiki and this helps him to share his life, his interests and achievements and communicate his needs and aspirations with teachers and the various other professionals that work with him.

Claire used her son’s Wiki to present Alfie’s story to Ms Phillips and show how the Wiki helped to improve the way in which her son is supported and perceived as an individual. Her presentation clearly resonated with Sally and echoed some of her own experiences.

Ms Phillips was impressed by the RIX Wiki tool and said that she felt her son Olly would love to have one of his own. We look forward to seeing how Olly, his mother and his family get on with RIX Wikis over the coming months. Watch this space!


Re-set your Wiki Button!

RIX Wiki Community Event

Tuesday 27th February 2018 – 10am – 4pm

RIX Research & Media, University of East London Docklands Campus, London. E16 2RD

Calling all Wiki Coordinators! The next RIX Wiki Community Event is going back to basics:

  • Rethinking Wikis for Information
  • Making images work for you
  • Gearing up Easy-to-Read with Multimedia
  • Re-focusing on Multimedia Advocacy – Putting it into practice with Wikis

We’re gathering together great models of best practice that we’ve found out about, that we want to play back to you our community of Wiki users.

We will be sharing the outcomes from our 2017 RIX Wiki Impact Evaluation, as well as talking about Wikis for Local Offer and really zooming in on how to support people to make great Wikis & make your information Wikis even better.

Click HERE to download the flyer or to book your place email

How Do RIX Wikis Impact the Effectiveness of SEND Service Delivery?

Free Webinar with live Q&A

Aired: Wednesday 19th February 2018,  13:00 – 13:30

Andy Minnion MBE discusses findings from our research, which included nine Local Authorities, showing the impact of RIX Wikis in making SEND provision more efficient.


Key Findings discussed:


  • How Efficiencies and Cost Savings are being achieved through streamlining personalisation, improved administration, a reduced need for meetings and paperwork and less litigious negotiations.
  • How RIX Wikis have improved Communication between providers and families, meeting SEND Reform aspirations for less adversarial interaction between families and local authorities with reduced disputes and tribunals.
  • How Local Authorities are using RIX Wikis to provide Accessible Information, signposting people to services and information to complement and improve the Local Offer.


Links referred to in the webinar:

Camden’s RIX Wiki information portal:


RIX Wiki’s embedded into the Camden local offer website:

Sensory postcards at Tate Modern

On the 24th and 26th of January this year, the PurpleSTARS mounted a ‘Pop-Up Museum’ at the Tate Modern to highlight the group’s innovative approach to making public culture more relevant and engaging for people with learning disabilities. The Pop-Up was featured as part of the Gallery’s Tate Exchange programme designed to provide educational experience themed around their Art Exhibitions.

Our Pop Up Museum was inspired by a show at the Tate Modern by the Kabakovs, celebrated artists from Russia who use different formats and materials to explore the relationship between art exhibits, their audiences and the authorities that commission art and influence what is deemed to be worthy of putting on public display. The PurpleSTARS were particularly inspired by an installation by Ilya Kabakov called ‘The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away’, made in 1996 and based on an imaginary character who had collected all of the ordinary items and rubbish he gathered throughout his life and then labelled and displayed them in his apartment. The Pop-Up Museum provided a way for visitors to the Kabakovs’ Tate Exhibition to rethink their own throw-away items in the same way, share their own stories of daily life and take part in a re-worked version of a public installation.

Visitors to the Pop-Up Museum were asked to donate a personal object to share any memories and stories associated with their contribution. The PurpleSTARS team guided visitors through the process, supporting and encouraging them to reflect on the sensory dimensions of both their objects and their memories. In this way the Pop Up Museum provided visitors with a cluster of multi-sensory experiences, making the Museum accessible for visitors of all ages and with different abilities. One visitor who created a display featuring pair of used theatre tickets with her mother said of her visit to the Pop-Up, “What a wonderful way to build a memory and story around an object I thought I had very little connection to. Awesome to sit with my Mum and make something together. Thank You”

The PurpleSTARS effectively co-curated their pop-up Museum on the spot at the Tate with its visitors. The team ran creative arts and media activity; using interactive postcards to make labels for the collection and interviewing visitors about their objects on video, running a photo shoot lit with purple light – and building a Sensory Pop-Up Museum Wiki on the spot with all the contributors.

On Friday, Judith, Rafaro and Kate from the Purple Stars delivered a ‘Ten Minute Tate Talk’ about the Pop-Up in front of Kabakov’s installation – making a piece of history as the first ever ‘Tate Talk’ to be delivered within a paying exhibition!

The Pop-Up Museum’s Wiki serves as a permanent Archive for the temporary Museum, providing a way to share the work of the PurpleSTARS more widely and inspiring other Exhibitions and Museums to consider adopting the creative approaches developed by our Enterprise to make their own collections more inclusive.

The ‘Pop Up Museum’ is to be one of a set of Training and Consultancy packages that the PurpleSTARS will offer UK Museums and Galleries when the Enterprise launches later this year. You can visit the PurpleSTARS website at

This project is the latest focus for the RIX Research & Media’s collaborative work with artists and technologists from Reading University and people with learning disabilities affiliated with RIX, who have developed skills and expertise in making public culture more inclusive. The PurpleSTARS sensory specialists are based at the Tower Project in East London and have been developing their professional service offer for Museums and Galleries with RIX as an inclusive enterprise in collaboration with Reading University and Tower’s Jobs, Enterprise and Training programme (JET). The project is supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as a Follow on Project for the three-year Sensory Objects Research Project that the partners completed in 2016.