GTG marks World Autism Week with a new Social Story for visitors


This week is World Autism Awareness Week 2020 and to mark this important event the Golden Thread Gallery is launching our new Social Storyon our website. We’ve designed it to help make visiting the gallery, and engaging with visual art, easier and more enjoyable for young visitors on the autism spectrum.

Thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, we’ve been able to develop and create this new step-by-step guide to exactly what visitors can expect when they come to the Golden Thread. It’s available to view and download free of charge on our website here and at the bottom of this page too.

Once the current public health situation has improved, and we’re advised that it’s safe to re-open the gallery, we will also be making free printed copies of the guide available, both in the gallery and to organisations who work with and support young people on the autism spectrum in Northern Ireland.

Our unique Social Story™, ‘My Visit to the Golden Thread Gallery’, was developed using the pioneering model first created by Carol Gray in the 1990s, alongside research into current best practice in the international arts and cultural sector.

Creating the guide has helped the GTG team to take a fresh look at the gallery ourselves, and to consider accessibility from a new perspective.

We are always working to make the gallery as welcoming as possible to all visitors. We hope that we will welcome many new visitors and their families once we are open again!

GTG Junior Gallery wins ‘Best New Gallery’ Audience Delight Award!


We’re delighted that our Golden Thread Junior Galley has been awarded Best New Gallery in the inaugural thrive Audience Delight Awards, announced today!

The Junior Gallery was designed and created by GTG’s Lisa Malone, who has lead our free family art workshops.

“After every workshop we had wonderful freshly painted artworks drying on the gallery floor. Artists and visitors to the gallery started to admire them, and we knew we wanted to celebrate all the imagination and great work of our junior artists. So we decided they deserved their own space!”

Our family workshops are often themed around the exhibitions in the main gallery space and the Project Space, inspired by the ideas or techniques of artists whose work is on display. We supply the art materials free of charge to our junior artists of all ages, and parents get involved too!

GTG installed the Junior Gallery right at the front of the gallery, in our dedicated family area, so that it’s one of the first things that visitors see when they walk in the door. Our goals as an organisation include making sure that everyone who visits feels welcome and comfortable in a gallery space. We try to break down barriers to engaging with visual art wherever we can. We want our young visitors to feel confident and proud in exploring their own creativity, and to understand that art is for everyone. We think displaying their brilliant work alongside our other exhibitions is an important part of that!

Everyone at the Golden Thread Gallery would like to thank thrive for this wonderful award, and a special congratulations and thanks to Lisa Malone!