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Events and services at York Minster for World Autism Acceptance Week

1 Mar, 2023

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An exciting programme of events for World Autism Acceptance Week will take place at York Minster from Wednesday 29 March until Sunday 2 April. The theme for this year’s activities is ‘Spectrum Colour’.

Activities and events at the cathedral will focus on the needs of people living with neurodiverse and sensory conditions. Capacity inside the cathedral will be reduced at key times during the week to create a ‘Mindful Minster’ – a peaceful and calm visiting environment for people with these conditions.

York Minster’s five day programme includes creative art workshops, storytelling, dance, drama, singing and mindfulness sessions. The medieval Chapter House will be the venue for a sound installation on Saturday 1 April where visitors will be able to experience the waves of a sound bath. The cathedral will also trial British Sign Language Interpretation at two services of Choral Evensong during the week.

Hannah Parker, Head of Visitor Experience and Chair of York Minster’s Inclusivity and Accessibility committee, said:  “York Minster is pleased to be participating in World Autism Acceptance Week for the first time. We have worked with local partners to design an inclusive and accessible programme of activities and events for people living with neurodiverse conditions. To make this happen, we will reduce visitor numbers so there will be fewer people in the cathedral to create ‘relaxed hours’ – quiet times when noise in the Minster will be minimised to avoid sensory overload which can be disturbing and overwhelming for people living with these conditions.

“A big part of our mission at York Minster is to include, engage and inspire the people we welcome. By participating in Autism Acceptance Week we hope to provide a welcoming and inclusive space in the city and York Minster is proud to support that vision.”

For full details of York Minster’s programme for Autism Acceptance Week, see below or go to: www.yorkminster.org.


Mindful Minster

Wednesday 29 March, Thursday 30 March & Friday 31 March,

9.30am – 11.30am & 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Come and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and explore the building’s magnificent architecture, or simply take some time-out from busy, daily life with Mindful Minster. During these ‘Relaxed Hours’, visitor capacity will be reduced, with noise and light levels lowered so those with neurodiverse conditions can explore comfortably, away from the hustle and bustle of the general public.

Free with General Admission.


Choral Evensong with British Sign Language interpretation

Wednesday 29 March, 5.30pm & Sunday 2 April, 4.00pm

Two services of Choral Evensong will include British Sign Language interpretation to allow those with hearing impairments to join York Minster’s worship.

No booking required. The service on Sunday 2 April will also be livestreamed via our YouTube channel.


Hands Together: Creative arts for Mindfulness

Thursday 30 March, 9.30am – 11.30am & 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Be inspired by space, colour and light in York Minster’s Chapter House and create and decorate hands with York-based visual artist and writer Griselda Goldsbrough.

Free with General Admission.


Sensory Stories and Singalong

Friday 31 March, 7.30pm – 8.30pm

Visitors can experience York Minster’s medieval Chapter House draped in colourful fabric as they are immersed in story-telling and music. There will also be a chance to join a family singalong.

Tickets cost £2.50 per person, with a group ticket available for four people priced at £8.00.


Sensory Saturday

Saturday 1 April, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Discover the cathedral through singing, acting and storytelling. Families can explore a sound installation in the medieval Chapter House as they are bathed in the waves of a sound bath.  Throughout the day, interactive sessions will take place, with dance and sensory music making in the Chapter House, and storytelling in St Stephen’s Chapel.

Free with General Admission.

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