Campaigning cultural organisations We Shall Not Be Removed, Ramps on the Moon, Attitude is Everything, Paraorchestra and What Next? have joined together to create a new guide for the arts and entertainment sectors to support disability inclusion.
Seven Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations working safely through COVID-19 (available in multiple accessible formats) complements the suite of guidance documents already issued by UK Governments and sector support organisations.
The focus of this unique initiative, which has been broadly welcomed by the sector, is to ensure deaf, neurodiverse and disabled people are not discriminated against as creative work begins again and as venues re-open. The Seven Principles offer practical guidance to arts and cultural organisations to support disabled artists, audiences, visitors, participants and employees.
The Principles highlight the importance of: legal obligations, combating ableism in the sector, consulting directly with disabled people, comprehensive public information on Covid measures, remapping the customer journey, engagement of disabled artists and celebrating disability in the workforce.
The Seven Principles are applicable across all art forms and across all 4 UK nations and come with endorsement from a wide range of leading sector bodies including: British Council, British Film Institute, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Museums Association, Royal Philharmonic Society, Equity and UK Theatre.
The Seven Principles are:
- All organisational activities must comply with the requirements of The Equality Act (2010) and make reasonable adjustments to operating practice that ensure disabled people are not unlawfully discriminated against
- All actions relating to disabled people should be undertaken in accordance with the Social Model of Disability and aim to combat and eliminate ableism
- Co-production with disabled people: disabled people should be consulted when organisations develop bespoke operating or re-opening plans, and undertake Equality Impact Assessments before making decisions
- Organisations need to provide clear, accurate and comprehensive information about Covid-19 measures to enable disabled artists, employees, audiences and participants to assess their own levels of risk, and be prepared to adapt to specific enquiries or requests
- The customer journey for disabled audiences should be thoroughly mapped, ensuring it is equality impact assessed, clearly communicated in multiple formats to the public, and prioritises free companion tickets to maintain essential access
- Disabled artists are an important cultural asset in the UK and their engagement in all new creative projects should be prioritised
- Organisations should ensure they celebrate diversity, embed anti-ableist principles to support and protect disabled people, and should demonstrate due care for the disabled workforce when making decisions about redundancy, restructuring and new ways of working
Andrew Miller, UK Government Disability Champion for Arts & Culture and co-founder of #WeShallNotBeRemoved said:
“Disabled people’s continued participation in culture at all levels has been severely threatened by this pandemic. The Seven Principles offer an essential new resource to promote an inclusive cultural recovery and to ensure the UK remains a global leader in disability and inclusive arts through and after Covid-19”.
Jacob Adams, Head of Campaigns at Attitude is Everything said:
“The arts sector is a vital positive force in the UK, strengthened immensely by inclusive practice and the participation of Deaf and disabled people at every level. Attitude is Everything is proud to have joined this initiative to support the sector as we rebuild a better and more accessible ‘normal’ together.”
A wide range of organisations from across the arts, museum and film sectors have welcomed the Seven Principles initiative. Here are quotes from a small selection of them:
“Arts Council England welcomes and fully endorses the Seven Inclusive Principles announced today which incorporate the social model of disability at their core and ensuring disabled people are directly informing plans to reconnect with Creative Practitioners, Colleagues and Audiences. The principles provide a strong catalyst to combat and eliminate ableism supporting our ambition to develop a more inclusive and relevant sector that offers everyone equitable opportunities to enjoy and participate in culture and creativity”.
– Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England.
“The Arts Council of Wales offers its unreserved support to this new set of Inclusive Principles for the UK arts & cultural sector. The adoption and implementation of these principles will make a huge difference to disabled people in Wales as they once again engage with arts as participants, audience members and creatives. A fair and equitable approach of this kind is essential to ensure that ALL people enjoy the same opportunities in the arts and cultural sector in Wales.”
– Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive of The Arts Council of Wales.
“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland offers its full and unconditional support to the Seven Principles announced today. They provide a practical and meaningful tool for all cultural organisations in Northern Ireland to ensure disabled people are at the centre of decision-making processes as we navigate our way out of these difficult times”.
– Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
“The BFI wholeheartedly support and endorse these important principles that give such clarity and structure for cultural venues to work to. They lay helpful foundations for the whole sector, to enable us to re-open our venues safely and inclusively for all cinema lovers.”
– Jennifer Smith, Head of Inclusion at British Film Institute.
“We wholeheartedly support the Seven Principles which are a timely reminder that museums need to work hard to support disabled staff, visitors and community members; and that we need to be inclusive now more than ever”.
– Sharon Heal, Director, Museums Association.
“Equity welcomes the opportunity to endorse the call for the creative and cultural industries to adopt the Seven key Principles for a recovery which engages with D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences. We look forward to supporting this initiative as part of the union’s own focus on activity to support a diverse, inclusive sectoral recovery”.
– Dr Ian Manborde, Equalities and Diversity Organiser at Equity.
“It’s essential that work to reopen the music industry considers access and inclusivity from the very beginning. We have the opportunity to rebuild a sector that works for all musicians and the Seven Inclusive Principles help enable us to facilitate that”.
– Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians Union.