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International examples of access to the arts

This page provides links to articles about international arts and community development, and accessible arts practice. If you have read an interesting article, you may like to email us so we can post it on this webpage.

Accessibility in practice

Accessibility in the arts: a promise and a practice

This guide is focused on the capacity of small-scale arts organisations to meet the needs of disabled communities. It details ways that disabled people are excluded from cultural spaces and offers possible solutions to those barriers. This 36-page guide to accessibility, published in the US, says that sometimes organisations list access information in the “About” or “Info” section of their websites instead of featuring it prominently on the homepage. “The only thing more inaccessible than an inaccessible space is not providing information about how the space is structured.” Read more 

Arts in communities

Six creative ways artists can improve communities

From Community Supported Art in Canada and Gap Filler in New Zealand, to a Neighbourhood Postcard Project in Chile and a New York project that stages work in laundromats, Laura Zabel writes in The Guardian  about some of the ways artists and communities can pull together. Read more

Festivals

Access and inclusion at the Melbourne Fringe

Melbourne Fringe is committed to access and inclusion for all people. It runs a range of programmes and initiatives aimed at reducing barriers and supporting artists to deliver accessible events. Read more

Performance

Battersea Arts Centre becomes first relaxed venue

Battersea Arts Centre in South London became the world’s first relaxed venue in February 2020. The centre applies the principles that guide relaxed performances to everything it does. The result is a venue that is more accessible to everyone, regardless of their knowledge of traditional theatre etiquette. Read more

How relaxed performances allow more participation

A Canadian article gives varied examples of how relaxed performances are making its theatre scene more accessible for people with disabilities so they can participate in ways they previously weren't able to, and explains why this is so important and should be applied to the performing arts worldwide. Read more   

How relaxed performances are transforming theatre experiences

“Anyone who works in the arts really has to have a passion for what they do, and if you have that passion, I’d hope you’d want to share it with as many people as possible. Any time you design a performance that isn’t inclusive, you’re telling someone they’re not welcome … and unless we’re making art for everyone, we’re kind of making it for no one.” Read more

Making accessible theatre in Wales

Chloë Clarke is a Cardiff-based theatre-maker and audio description consultant. Frustrated at the lack of decent audio description on offer to her as a visually impaired audience member, she decided to do something about it. “Our intention is to produce new writing that incorporates creative access from the very beginning. Doing our first production, The Importance of Being Described…Earnestly? it has really hit home that the accessibility needs to be thought of from the outset – at the writing stage. What we’re essentially about is providing a platform and a true representation of disabled and other marginalised groups of people in an edgy young-ish way. Yes, it’s about access and inclusion but it’s also about making high-quality theatre." Read more

Theatres changing the world

Ramps on the Moon wants to change the world. It’s a consortium of six UK regional theatres and disabled-led Graeae Theatre Company, set up to increase opportunities for Deaf and  disabled people as performers and audiences. This film explores the journey of institutional change happening as a result of the initiative. Watch the audio described film on YouTube

Museums

Access to Opportunities programme at the Smithsonian Museum

Access to Opportunities is a Smithsonian Museum internship programme for people with disabilities, specifically young adults who are American citizens or permanent residents. It is a paid internship whose goal is to help young people transition from school to work. Read more

Most accessible museum in the world

EMP Museum Seattle, a building designed by Frank Gehry, sets an international benchmark for accessibility. It combines the music and history of Seattle musicians Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix, and all things sci-fi, horror and fantasy. Celebrity consultants and advisory board members Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and George Lucas promoted the museum’s inclusiveness and accessible public architecture. The museum includes six lifts just for wheelchairs, electric door openers and low 70cm counters, while the best seats in the house are the wheelchair-accessible seats. There is also an assisted listening system and captioning for Deaf and hearing-impaired visitors and complete audio narration for blind and vision-impaired visitors. Read more  

Accessible Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is fully accessible, with a wide range of programmes for disabled people, their friends and families. It has wheelchair access, and elevators and escalators throughout the building. For Deaf and partially Deaf people there are regular talks and lectures with FM-assisted listening devices as well as Real-Time captioning by request and Sign Language or sign language-interpreted gallery talks. For blind and partially sighted people, there are guided touch tours and a touch collection where visitors can touch sculpture and other objects, and verbal imaging tours where the guide describes works of art in detail. Read about these and other examples of its accessible practice and programmes

 

 

 

 

 
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