Report launch: ‘Disabled artists in the mainstream: a new cultural agenda for Europe’

Download the report here or read it on Issuu. The report is also available in French and Polish.

Launching in Athens at Onassis STEGI’s Interfaces conference on Friday 6 March is our new report outlining how access to the arts for disabled people as artists, audiences, and arts professionals needs to be at the heart of Creative Europe’s successor programme.

Disabled artists in the mainstream: a new cultural agenda for Europe’ emerges from the first European Arts & Disability Cluster meeting in The Hague on 30 November 2019, hosted by two of the core partners of Europe Beyond Access, British Council and Holland Dance Festival. The cluster represents the first time that EU arts & disability projects have gathered in order to shape policy and cultural change.

Working towards raising awareness of the barriers that disabled artists and audiences continue to face when accessing Europe’s cultural institutions, the report heralds a clear call to policymakers and funders to seriously reduce the cultural exclusion of disabled people.

Co-authored by Betina Panagiotara (dance researcher and journalist, Greece), Ben Evans (Head of Arts & Disability, European Union Region) and Filip Pawlak (artist and producer, Poland), it outlines one major policy recommendation for a new European cultural agenda and six proposals for the forthcoming 2021-2027 Creative Europe programme.

The proposals emphasise the urgency for and the huge benefits that would come from a European cultural programme that actively seeks applications that support greater cultural engagement of disabled people. It covers how to improve funding structures and design budgets that don’t discourage arts organisations from working with disabled artists, and how to ensure that theatres, venues and arts projects are actively welcoming more diverse visitors.

The group of 30 gather around the illustrated meeting notes with 'Arts & Disability' at the centre.

The EU Parliament stresses that it recognises access to culture as a fundamental right of all citizens (European Parliament, 2018), and there are 42 million disabled people aged 15-64 across Europe (Eurostat). However, research on regional audiences find that 79% have been put off buying tickets to cultural events due to problems booking access and 73% have felt discriminated against when trying to book access (Attitude is Everything on UK audiences). It is clear that this fundamental right is not currently being met.

The Interfaces conference is hosted by Onassis STEGI, another core partner of Europe Beyond Access and leading cultural institution in Greece that has delivered a dance and disability programme since 2012.

The Arts & Disability Cluster represents nine current and recent Creative Europe / Culture Projects, four Erasmus+ Projects, and four transnational projects for disabled artists, with representatives spanning 18 countries: Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Serbia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey, UK, Armenia, and Switzerland. Europe Beyond Access is the largest Arts & Disability programme in Europe and is coordinated by the British Council.

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