MA-MA project

The MA-MA project (Motivation by Art – Art as a Motivation) has been an interdisciplinary artistic project (18-30 y.).  This project was based on a creative exchange between artists  and mentally or physically disabled persons. The project ran from the end of 2010 until June 2012 and finished with a performance in Madeira.

The main idea of this project was a mutual learning experience: In this partnership we wanted to link art and handicap, and propose some active exchanges where the handicap is in the center of a creative learning process, and where the artistic experience will be open to many artistic forms, in the meaning of an “art without borders”.

We wanted to create an innovative exchange of practices, learning to learn from artists as well as from handicapped people, giving a mutual motivation and developing an efficient awareness about the creative potentiality in each of us.

A double DVD of the project and its results has been produced by art aspects. These films relate the whole working process over 2 years (2010-2012), the several workshops and meetings between the diferent countries, the work on the final performance and the presentation of the performance in the theater “Centro das Artes” in Madeira, with the Dancing with differences group and all the partners and target groups of the project.

This DVD is a experimental, artistic documentary work about the project. It shows a huge panel of artistic tool and creative way of working with mix-ability groups. It can be used as pedagogic tool in several fields of work (education, artistic, social and therapeutic field…). This work and its development aims to give a new perspective of human relation and learning experiences.

The double DVD contains:


Endless performance, Madeira (75 min.)

Final Interviews with the partners (60 min.)

Interview with the public, theater “Centro das Artes” (4 min.)


Lithuania, music and songs (18 min.)

Germany, action painting (23 min.)

Poland, dance (42 min.)

Estonia, tissue and silk (25 min.)

Portugal, rehearsals of the final performance (50 min.)

To get the double DVD of the ma-ma project, please contact us on:


Project description

The MA-MA project (Motivation by Art-Art as a Motivation) is an art project, initiated by Michael von Erlenbach and Sandie Brischler. It is a Grundtvig Learning partnership project within the Lifelong Learning program, supported by the european commission.

The MA-MA project is an interdisciplinary artistic project for disabled young adults (18-30 y.) This project is based on creative exchanges between artists  and mentally or physically disabled persons. Five organisations of five european countries are participating to this project as a partner. The partners organisations are working in different ways and in different artistic fields (dance, visual art, video, music),  and/or are more spezialised in the work with disabled persons.

The main idea of this project is a mutual learning experience: In this partnership we would like to link art and disability, and propose some active exchanges where the disability is in the center of a creative learning process, and where the artistic experience will be open to many artistic forms, in the meaning of an “art without borders”.

We would like to create an innovative exchange of practices, learning to learn from artists as well as from disabled people, giving a mutual motivation and developing an efficient awareness about the creative potentiality in each of us.



There is in our societies a huge need of awareness, concerning our vision on disability -and all kind of handicapped or limited people- who are normally underestimate, if not just rejected. There is also a fear of them.

This conception needs to be changed, or to be developed for more objectivity, and for a more integrative way to think and to act with differences. Our society needs skills to learn how to take down the discrimination and the prejudice, and how -on the contrary- to use the weakness into a force, to increase the value of each person in any condition, to give to this person a right place in the society and specially to become aware that each one have to learn from each other.

Disabled people have a very special intuitive way to express themselves in the artistic field, and to consider it. Through their handicap (or even “thanks” to it), they have a different approach of the creativity and the artistic process, and they are able of another understanding of the artistic work and its meaning. An artist is a person who is looking for more understanding of himself and of the world around him, through the artistic experience and its sens. Artists plays therefore an important role in our society, and belongs to it in a quite special way. Art is also a research of the limits, to understand oneself. In this meaning, artists and handicapped people are connected.

The project takes place in this “reciprocal need” of the experience of each other, to give a new impulse in artistic as in social fields, as well as an efficient support and motivation for disabled persons in the society. This innovative approach of the artistic work will be a very stimulated learning experience in Europe, for all the participants, and also beyond the project itself.



  • Giving a reciprocal motivation:  Awareness of  an efficient capacity to be creative

The main objective is to give back a reciprocal motivation, through an innovative exchange of persons, artistic practices and learning process, between artistic organizations and organizations for disabled persons (and specially between artists, learners, educators, trainers, trainees or teacher…).This project proposes to develop and to broad some creative behavior in our societies and between the people, as well as the understanding of the artistic activity as a way to be active, responsible, independent and creative of its own everyday-life. This common and creative work will be a substantial factor for motivation.

  •  Development of creative and innovative teaching methods

Trying a communication through the artistic work, exchanging creative working methods and new approaches (in the field of learning and teaching) will be also an objective between the participants of this project, as well as a reflexion about the understanding and the use of art. It will also be the occasion to develop some pedagogic actions or programs, in the frame of organizations for disabled persons as well as artistic education.

  •   Encourage an art without borders

The artistic practices in this project will be mixed for an “art without borders”, to advantage the creative process of each participant, and its understanding of it. It will be the place for promotion and use of different artistic languages as an element of social inclusion of people with disabilities and other.

Different forms of expression will be inserted in the artistic, educational, and therapeutic process fields, and will be used without any restrictions, in a performative way including visual and free art, but also the body, movement, voice, rhythms, improvisation, theatre, puppetry, experimental dance, meditative work, choreography…

Working together with disabled people, in some innovative way

Each visit and transnational meeting will be the occasion of an exchange between different learning methods and various target groups. One partner will propose a workshop for the target group of the host institution and for the other partners, in order to get to know with an creative practice unused in the host structure, and based on a specific artistic way of expression.

For the partner responsible of the workshop, working with another target group (than his usual learners) won´t be seen as an hitch, but rather a possibility to enrich the creative work. It will be also a way to “break the ice” and to get in contact with the target group and to know each other, in order to prepare our final project.

For the target group, it will be the occasion to meet some people and to discover some new practices, and new ways of expression that they maybe never know before. The various artistic approaches during this workshop will give a huge spectrum of expressive ways: Free art, drawing, action painting, performances, dance and theatre, work “with” and “on” the body.

European added value…

-Intercultural experience: The bilateral exchanges will enable a rotation between the different country and the different learning methods received from abroad, increasing the innovative practice of adults learners, and the teaching experiences of each organisation.

-It will give the possibility to enlarge, to improve or to adapt a learning method, in the context of another culture, and a target group of another country.

– Through their different cultures, our European societies have also many different views on the handicap, and different way to understand, to integrate or to dismiss it. This partnership will contribute to enlarge and to change the regard normally brought on handicapped learners, and reassert the value of difference and handicap in Europe.

-The cooperation with organisations from other countries in the field of art and handicap will create a common base of experience and of resources, and will give some new ways to involve disadvantaged people in our society, as well as in informal education.

art-aspects (Berlin), Coordinator of the project

Sandie Brischler, assistant art aspects

art-aspects has been choosen as coordinator for this Life Long learning Project. Sandie Brischler, assistant during that time at the art aspects art society, has been responsible for all meetings.

Michael von Erlenbach, art-aspects director

Michael von Erlenbach has been responsible for the whole project as the director of art aspects.
He supported the work during the two years administrating and took part in the end of the project on Madeire.

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Põltsamaa Art Association (Estonia)

Ethel Hakkaja

Põltsamaa art schooloffers different art trainings for people interested in developping his own creative process. We offer 5 year course for getting in-deep training concerning painting, drawing, composition, stained glass, ceramics, photography and lectures about art. Currently we offer also photography, using image processing programs in computer, and language courses. Courses are held once a week during October to May. Our actions concern disabled and non-disabled persons, participants with specific needs (light until middle mentally handicapped), persons under risk of social exclusion, but also anyone who wants to develop his creative skills.

Ethel Hakkaja, Heli Järv

We encourage our group of disadvantaged people also to get involved in a social life, by fulfilling their capacities. Very often they appear to be quite talented, but they lack in skills. When they are in Põltsamaa Art Association, they find an additional place to express oneself and to find suitable activities.
more infos:

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Ventos Socialines Globos Namai (Lithuania)

Grazina Baniene

The main goal of Ventos Socialines Globos Namaiis to satisfy biosocial needs for young people with mental disabilities.  Our target group is young handicapped people, between 18 and 30 years old. The workers of this organisation are teaching social skills, and giving self-support skills for young mentally disabled people, through different social and artistic activities.  

Simona Litviniene

Our regular range of activities are : Social care of young adults all day, orphans care, preschool , special education.

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CARITAS , Center for Disabled Persons “Divine Mercy” (Poland)

Krzysztof Siudziński, director

Caritas in Mikolow – Borowa Wies is an act of Caritas of Katowice Archdiocese. The non-governmental centre from 1990 implements government and local government tasks in the domain of social welfare, rehabilitation and re-validation of handicapped children and youth. The mission of the centre is to ensure the complex support for people with mental and physical disabilities.

Dariusz Latos, Grzegorz Kiciak, Damian Stefanski

The tutelary and therapeutic work is performed on the ground of catholic social learning, pedagogic and humanistic psychology. It promotes and puts into life ideas of education, motional activity, artistic activities, occupational rehabilitation, access to culture and social integration. The centre performs its activity based on principles of social welfare, education, protection of physical health, rehabilitation and employment of the disabled.
more infos:

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Dancing with differences group (Portugal) “Associação dos Amigos da Arte Inclusiva – Dançando com a Diferença”

Henrique Amoedo

The innovation and boldness, between others, are characteristics of Contemporaneous Art and consequently they are present in this work. Not in a fortuitous and inconsequential way, but with an attitude that we can only contribute to the change of the social image of handicapped people, if we know the issues intimately and present them to the public in a way that we can confront them with this reality.

Luisa Aguiar

This ample project with educational, artistic actions, and therapeutic support, works with seventy nine people, which range from children, young people, adults, and the elderly, and we intend to continue growing and extend our participation whilst working competitively within the “dance market”, because we work with dancers that dance “with the body” and not “despite the body”.
more infos:

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Planning and Program

15-17 nov. 2010: First general meeting in Berlin

20-22 june 2011: Meeting in  Lithuanie, workshop about creative music and songs with learners of the target group of Ventos Socialines

27-29 sept. 2011: Meeting in Germany, action painting workshop with learners of different target groups in Berlin

22-24 nov. 2011: Meeting in Poland, dance workshop from the partner of Portugal with learners of the target groups of Caritas

17-19 april 2012: Meeting in Estonia, creative clothes and handicraft worshop with learners of the target group of Mental Health Daycare Centre in Võisiku

7-13 may 2012: Meeting in Madeire, common performance project with all target groups (13.05.2012)

13 may 2012: Final evaluation of the project

We plan to make a film as a result of the whole process during this project: Work in progress, workshops, common creative works and final performance.