Ahead of the International day of Disabled Persons 2021, Deaf Explorer collaborated with Culture Central to co-host their pilot Access & Inclusion Seminar.

The free event was aimed at artists and organisations, giving them opportunity to discuss, listen and understand ways in which we can make our activity, organisations and programmes more accessible.

Hosted by Kiruna Stamell and Gareth Berliner, the seminar included presentations from:

Maral Mamaghanizadeh, Deaf Jewellery Maker & Visual Artist
Twitter: @maral.mamaghani

Rachael Lines, Artistic Director of FRONTLINE Dance
Twitter: @FRONTLINEdance1

Billy Read, Deaf Dancer & Dance Theatre Maker
Twitter: @DefMotion
Instagram: @defmotion

Aiden Moseby, Artist, Curator & Writer
Twitter: @TextArtist
Instagram: @aidanmoesby

Matthew Gabrielli, Writer
Twitter: @Mr_Gabrielli

Karen Newman, Artistic Director of BOM
Twitter: @BOMlab

BJ Edwards, Writer and Theatre Maker

Robyn Surgeoner MBE, Disabled Artist and Access Consultant
Twitter: @ukdpctogether  

Mary Jayne Russell De Clifford, Deaf Actor and Theatre Director

Luke Greenwood, Jake Jarvis and Richard Hayhow, Actors and Theatre Makers part of Open Theatre www.opentheatre.co.uk 

Luke Greenwood and Jake Jarvis spoke about their experience of Open Theatre as an accessible talent empowering organisation.

During the event, the following questions were raised through provocative discussions:

  • What do Deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse artists want to change in the cultural sector, regionally?
  • How can the sector be more welcoming and improve access?
  • How could the cultural sector improve access for Deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse artists and audiences?
  • How can the cultural sector be more transparent and make networking  more accessible for Deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse artists?
  • How can the cultural sector work together to support Deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse artists to move beyond scratch nights and R & D’s into production and touring?
  • How can we remove/reduce tokenism and specialist commissioning?
  • What does specialist commissioning achieve in the short term and long term?

What do we plan next? For visually impaired and blind audience members, we understand that the event was not accessible. We also received feedback that for the audience on zoom there were a lot of technical problems with sound. We will endeavour to improve this next time.

“It was a very insightful program into the challenges artists face with access to arts organisations and performance spaces.”

Access & Inclusion Seminar Attendee.

Overall however, we had a terrific response with people hungry for more depth and detail and of course quick solutions so they can be a better arts organisation. Deaf Explorer calls for organisations to be braver, take risks, and demonstrate this by commissioning Neurodiverse artists, Disabled and Deaf artists. Let’s improve the governance of arts organisations with the representation of Disabled people at the board level.

In the coming months we plan to host more Access and Inclusion Events in order to kick start a road map for change.

Interested in speaking at a future event? Get in touch by completing the contact form below: