Programming Disabled-led Work

Disability Arts – work produced and led by disabled people, and reflecting disabled peoples culture – is increasing in popularity in Wales. Many established disabled artists throughout the UK tour their work, and there are a growing number of Wales-based disabled artists and performers.

The importance of Disability Arts is that it puts the arts into a whole new perspective – disabled peoples voices have seldom been heard in this way before. Disability Arts is another aspect of cultural diversity.

Disability Arts events tend to do better in towns and cities, where there are more disabled people, and where transport is likely to be better. However, disabled people will travel to an event in rural areas if it is well marketed, and if access to the event is good.

Action points

Be clear about the difference between Disability Arts, Arts & Disability and Arts in Health

Which artists?

  • Talk to other arts organisations who have programmed the kind of performers or artists you have in mind.
  • Contact disability arts forums across the UK – ask for recommendations
  • Contact Disability Arts Cymru

Plan ahead

  • Book the artists well ahead to allow enough time for audience development
  • Find out what kind of audience the performers usually attract
  • Take time to develop your contacts with relevant groups and organisations, particularly those in your usual catchment area

Access

  • Check access requirements of artists and likely access requirements of audience
  • Allow time to make any necessary changes to access; often, quite small changes to access can make a big difference. Failing this, find an alternative accessible venue.

Training

  • Ensure staff receive appropriate training and information

Publicise

  • Publicise in disability arts networks and disability press. Many of the disability arts organisations in the links below have regular newsletters and / or e:mailouts
  • Update contacts with disabled peoples organisations in Wales, particularly in your catchment area, and publicise the event in plenty of time
  • Disability Arts Cymru can help with marketing, and may be able to offer advice on access and various issues around the practicalities of organising the event

Still not sure?

Consider working in partnership with a disability arts organisation or disability organisation

Disability Art Forums links (most have e.mailouts to members)

Arcadia (Disability Arts in North East of England) www.arcadea.org/

Arts and Disability Forum (Belfast) www.adf.ie/

Arts & Disability Ireland www.adiarts.ie/

Disability Arts Cymru’s website www.disabilityartscymru.co.uk

DASh’s website (Disability Arts Shropshire) www.dasharts.org.uk/

General Disability Organisations links

Disability Wales’ website: www.disabilitywales.org

United Kingdom Disabled Peoples Council website www.ukdpc.net/

Publications / information

Disability Arts Online: www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/home

Disability Now – monthly. Disability Now’s website: www.disabilitynow.org.uk

Mailout – (Valuing Participation) e-news: mailout.co/category/news/

What’s On – bi-monthly. Disability Arts Cymru’s website: www.disabilityartscymru.co.uk/whats-on/

Disability Wales – e-news: www.disabilitywales.org/

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