Sarah Evelyn Marsh

Open doors, Manchester Art Gallery (2014 - 2017)

Open doors is an autism-friendly session at Manchester Art Gallery, UK. This project was initiated by Alex Thorp, Nadia Peter and Lorna from Autism for the Arts, I was commissioned as the lead artist to pilot the first session. After Alex left I managed and led the project until late 2016 .


Once a month, the gallery doors open early to allow families and carers to explore the gallery and artworks with their children in a relaxed and comfortable space. This sensory-focussed workshop supports open-ended play and learning through sensory-inspired materials and activities.

For 2.5 years I ran the sessions as lead artist and temporary Family Learning Manager. The observations I made in the session transferred into the installations and environments I designed for the Clore Art Studio, Manchester Art Gallery and Clore Learning Studio at Tate Liverpool.

This research has provided me with a heightened awareness of the sensory needs many people require, and an interest in the development of creative language through the connections we make with our surroundings.


This strand of work has developed into leading and consulting on autism-friendly holiday workshops at Tate Liverpool. In March 2017 I presented my ideas at the  at the Why & How conference, Royal Academy of Art  with an experiential workshop for delegates.

In 2017 I worked with the learning team at Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk to implement autism-frindly strategies into their programme, you can read about here.