Colourful Umbrella Project returns to Aberdeen this summer

The umbrella installation on Shiprow, Aberdeen

ABERDEEN is in for a brolly good show as the colourful Umbrella Project returns to the city this
summer to both celebrate and raise awareness of neurodiversity.

A stunning canopy of multi-coloured brollies will be unfurled on Shiprow from May through to
September in tribute to the “umbrella” term of neurodiversity, which includes ADHD, autism,
Tourette’s Syndrome, dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia.

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As part of the hugely-popular project, local schools and businesses are also being invited to
create their own mini-installations by Aberdeen Inspired, which is bringing the campaign to
the Granite City in partnership with the ADHD Foundation and headline sponsors Harbour
Energy as well as TMM Recruitment.

A call has also been made for local neurodiversity organisations to find out how they can
become involved in the Umbrella Project.

The announcement of the return of the Umbrella Project to Aberdeen comes during
worldwide Neurodiversity Celebration Week, which is running from Monday, March 18, to
Sunday, March 24.

umbrellas in place in Shiprow for the Umbrella Project – Photo by Aberdeen Inspired

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The Umbrella Project is one
of the most colourful and most important of Aberdeen Inspired’s many projects and we are
proud to be part of this celebration of neurodiversity.

“With one in five people being neurodiverse it is something which touches all our lives –
either for ourselves, our families, our friends, or our colleagues. The Umbrella Project
reflects that and raises awareness of the importance of inclusivity in every walk of life.”
Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of the ADHD Foundation, said: “These different minds –
dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism – are now recognised for their genius,
innovation, and inventiveness in a variety of roles.

“One in five of us think differently and the neurodiversity Umbrella Project in Aberdeen
celebrates the unique contribution made by this ‘hidden 20%’ to our local economy, our
workplace, and to our families and friendship groups.”

Mavis Anagboso, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Harbour Energy,
said: “Harbour Energy is once again proud to be the principal sponsor of this worthy cause to
promote neurodiversity awareness in Aberdeen City. We are delighted to be partnering with
Aberdeen Inspired and the ADHD Foundation.”

Amanda McCulloch, chief executive of sponsors TMM Recruitment, said they were
delighted to support the Umbrella Project.

She said: “Since the Umbrella Project was launched in Aberdeen three years ago it has
raised awareness of neurodiversity and challenged misconceptions about neurological
“It’s important to maintain this momentum, I hope we can build on the work so far and move
the conversation on from celebrating the importance of thinking differently to valuing
neurodivergent people as their whole selves, not a diversity and inclusion statistic.”

The return of the Umbrella Project has been welcomed by Mary Martin, owner of the
Douglas Hotel and a key partner in the Shiprow Village project. She said: “A resounding success in previous years, the bopping umbrellas always brought an instant smile. With constant enquiries about their return, we can’t wait to see the vibrant rainbow of colours dazzle our street once again.
“It’s not just an installation, it’s a wonderful cause, and we’re excited to continue supporting it
here at Shiprow Village.”

The success and joy of the Umbrella Project will also extend beyond Shiprow, with schools
and businesses asked to take part and create their own mini-installations to celebrate the
intelligence and ability of every human being.

Previous years have seen displays on show at a host of restaurants, cafes, and centres of
education, as well as corporate offices of leading businesses.

The Trinity Centre has previously hosted mini-installations as part of the Umbrella Project
and says it will take part again this summer. Trinity Centre unit manager Kenneth Bruce said: “Trinity Aberdeen has over the past few years been delighted to help Aberdeen Inspired in support to raise awareness of neurodiversity by hosting an installation of umbrellas. This creates a vibrant and colourful
display within the centre and helps celebrate and raise awareness in the local community.”

Adrian hopes to see a flood of other venues joining Trinity Aberdeen in hosting mini-
installations this summer. “The positive messages they represent mean these installations are hugely popular and have encouraged people from all walks of life to come into the city centre to embrace the joy of these colourful displays,” he said.

“We also want to celebrate and include as many local neurodiversity organisations as
possible, and I would encourage them to get in touch to find out how they can take part and
raise awareness of their work and the people whose lives they touch.”

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