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Founder and Artistic Director, Karen Anderson, Awarded MBE

by | Jun 24, 2021 | News, Updates

A photo of Karen above, with member John, at our Hoppin in Harlem fundraiser at Cottiers, 2017

Here at Indepen-dance we have some amazing news to share.

We are absolutely delighted and honoured to announce that our Founder and Artistic Director, Karen Anderson, is to be the recipient of an MBE in this years (2021) Queen’s birthday honours list. A huge congratulations to Karen on her MBE.

Karen said on receiving her MBE:

“I’m honoured to be nominated to receive an MBE, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity in my working life to integrate my love of dance and the privilege of caring for people. This inspired me to create Indepen-dance which I’m proud to say is one of the leading inclusive dance development companies in Scotland. Many people have been part of the organisation’s success and I’m grateful for that. There is not a week that goes by where I am reminded of the joy our company offers to our participants and the incredible talent of our dancers. A big thank you goes to all those who nominated me”.

Mairi Brackenridge, Chair of the Board of Indepen-dance said:

“I am delighted to hear about Karen’s MBE.  It is richly deserved; she is an inspirational leader whose achievements in the field of inclusive dance has changed life for the better for so many people”.




Karen speaking at a fundraiser in 2017

To celebrate the wonderful news of Karen’s MBE, we would love to share some quotes from those connected with Indepen-dance on Karen and what she has achieved. 

Here are some quotes from parents of Indepen-dance members:  

“Thanks to Karen my son has had access to ongoing professional dance training, something which would never otherwise have been open to him. He has performed with the company to audiences in theatres from Paisley to Paris, a fact which only a few years ago I would never have dreamed possible.” – Parent

“Karen has been instrumental in giving individuals with a disability so many other opportunities, socially, professionally and developmentally; providing a positive input into his life both inside and outside of work.” – Parent

“She has been a source of support, encouragement and wisdom, not just to {member} but to the whole family. She has been our champion, quietly, but with determination, refusing to accept that disability should be a barrier to dreams and ambition.” – Parent

“There will be a hundred other tales of lives changed by Karen’s dedication, warmth and generosity. She goes out of her way to enrich the lives of people affected by disability, giving them the opportunities the rest of us take for granted. Without complaint she turns her hand to whatever needs doing, from collating costumes to collecting cast members; from rattling cans to completing massive funding applications.” – Parent


Karen teaching an inclusive dance workshop in 2019

Quotes from members of staff and partners of Indepen-dance:

“My job covers a lot of areas which gives me an insight to what Indepen-dance has done to improve the lifestyle and happiness of the hundreds of participants passing through our classes.  This was made possible by Karen’s vision of giving everyone the opportunity to dance, including providing the opportunity for those with ability to perform alongside professional dance companies and gain professional dance training.” – Member of staff

“Karen has changed lives by simply providing a company with inclusivity as its focus! And a motto that “everyone can dance”!! – Member of staff

“Indepen-dance has become one of Scotland’s leading inclusive dance development companies and as Artistic Director Karen provides a practical and creative framework and her role is pivotal for the continued success and development of the company.” – Partner

“Karen works tirelessly to engage with and promote dancers with learning disabilities to fulfill their full artistic potential. Her leadership of Indepen-Dance is an inspiration. Indepen-Dance’s work is down to Karen’s tenacity in delivering the company’s mission of ‘Opportunity through integration’.” – Partner

A blast from the past above, as Karen helps lead an inclusive dance workshop in the late 1990’s

Quotes from a Friend of Indepen-dance and a Board member: 

“Karen is an inspirational leader whose ethos and approach to work has demonstrated again and again that disability is not a barrier to participation in the creative arts.  She has created a company that is an exemplar of what inclusion and integration can mean in practice and provides  a role model for what is possible if society is to provide real equality of opportunity.  What she has achieved has simply transformed people’s lives.” – Board member

“Karen is a remarkable person who created a Company that over the past 25 years has offered opportunities that have been life changing for people with learning disability and physical disability, their families and carers.  Her belief that disability should not be a barrier to inclusion has made untold difference to people’s lives.” – Friend of Indepen-dance

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