Mutu design

A social enterprise commercialising designs by young artists with complex disabilities

How will the funding be spent?

Funding will cover:
- employment of skilled designers to support professional development of participants with complex disabilities
-purchase of computers & design software programs to support development of new skills
- disability support, administration and OHS costs to ensure the physical safety & mental well-being of participants throughout the project
Basic production costs & purchase of prototype merchandise
Development of website & online gallery for marketing with participants

How will the project be delivered?

Participants identify artistic, social & economic goals
Professional designers work with them to develop understanding of how to create artwork for tangible products using Adobe Suite
Artwork will be adapted for 5 products - tee-shirts, socks, stools, pins, mugs
Prototypes will be created for each product
Participants learn how to present in a professional manner - individually & as a team
Products will be marketed online & in person to selected stores, galleries & design markets

How many people will directly benefit from this project?


How will you measure the impact of this project?

The overarching purpose of MUTU is to ensure talented people with complex disabilities are living the lives they want to live, developing a sense of identity as an artist/designer and feeling part of a creative work community.

MUTU will offer a maximum of 25 participants with complex disabilities two days per week (2 X 6 hour sessions) over 42 weeks. Once accepted into the MUTU program participants will be supported to identify their personal technical, creative, social and economic goals as they work towards creating a body of design work ready for presentation to retail outlets and online. We will monitor these every ten weeks throughout the year in order to track progress.

Key impact measures include:
1) Participant wellbeing and connectedness. Throughout the project our research consultant will use a modified WEMWBS ( to measure this. WEMWBS will measure emotional wellbeing and connectedness, also difficult behaviour associated with anxiety/fear of failure common to people with complex disability
2) Attendance, level of engagement, and number of hours participants can work independently in a self-directed capacity will also be key measures. We would expect 80%+ attendance given medical conditions associated with disability. We would expect 85% engagement in either active group or self-directed learning and development of work and we will support participants to work independently to the extent that each person can.
3) Independent income generated from sale of designs or merchandise.
4) Sales figures, profitability and the number of local retail outlets interested in MUTU products
5) Surveys which recognise attitudinal changes in retail outlets, galleries and design markets.
6) Wider Interest in MUTU on social media, an in our online gallery
7) Buyer feedback about MUTU products in a competitive market
As the first social enterprise marketing products designed by people with complex disabilities the other purpose of MUTU is to raise awareness that disabled artists have the capacity to extend and redefine contemporary design in innovative ways.
In summary: we will be publishing outcomes from this project on our website and it will be available through Flinders University Disability Studies Unit. We will also seek to present our findings at conferences interested programs which enable people with complex disabilities to transition into open employment.

How will the project fit this year's theme of ‘Connect, Grow, Build, Belong’?

Social isolation is unacceptably high amongst people with complex disabilities. NDIS statistics highlight that currently 80% of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder stay at home and do not participate in any community once they reach adulthood. MUTU addresses the limited training and supported employment available to these young adults whose skills could enable them to generate an independent income doing work they love in a creative, accepting community.

Organisation details

Organisation Name

Tutti Arts

What does this organisation do?

Tutti Arts tackles the barriers that artists living with intellectual disability face in accessing conventional education, and the professional development and collaborative opportunities needed to generate independent income from their work. When artists are ready, Tutti supports them to discover pathways which enable the achievement of their artistic and economic aspirations.
MUTU ( a shortened version of the word 'mutual') has been chosen by potential participants in the project because it expresses a reciprocal partnership based on respect and understanding.


Comments closed

Karen Forde

26 Apr 2017

A great plan based on Tutti's excellent reputation in this area for creating safe, creative and accepting communities.
It will benefit many people who have been unable to access a quality art program which will allow isolated artists to connect and create income from their talents.