Time to Act report, European wide research on the barriers that disabled artists and audiences experience.

With out these reports people won’t act, because policy makers need facts and figures to actually listen, to start dialogue that becomes politics, that becomes policy and then legislation. But still when policy and legislation are in place it still does not mean that it is TIME TO ACT.

British Council and On The Move publish more in-depth Europe-wide research on the barriers that disabled artists and audiences experience, with responses from artists and policymakers.

Two years on from the groundbreaking Time to Act report, British Council has commissioned On the Move, the international cultural mobility network, to conduct a follow-up report looking further into the knowledge gaps in the cultural sector that contribute towards inequalities for disabled artists and audiences.

This new report reveals data-led insights into the accessibility, inclusion, international mobility and professional development of disabled artists in the European performing arts sector, as well as the progress made over the past few years. The report combines a regional focus, covering all the countries participating in the EU’s Creative Europe programme (as well as Switzerland the UK), with more detailed analyses of the progress made in three of the countries where Europe Beyond Access has operated – namely, Italy, Poland, and Sweden.

In this live online event the research team will share the key research findings, and disabled artists and policymakers will share their responses to the report.

British Council.

The following are the notes I made along the way. Each person shared there response to the report, with their hopes for the future, challenges to overcome and positives highlighted from the report.

Data led insights on Performing Arts & Disability in Europe. 51 percent of respondents said they were not familiar with works of European disabled Artists. And 62 percent interested in programming disabled artists in to their arts venues.

Jordi Baltà, Researcher, On The Move spoke first he shared.

Postive Trends

Increasing recognition of agency of artistic value to disabled artists.

Increase in National events rather than European.

Accessing info on a National level.

European funding available across boarders.


Over dependance on disabled artists to be agency for information regarding disability artists, this creates added pressure, when professional organisations should be filling this gap.

Accessibility for disabled audiences.

There is a difference in perceptions of disability from West and North more aware and proactive than Southern and Eastern Europe.

Massimiliano Smeriglio / MEP and Rapporteur to the European Parliament’s Culture + Education Committee

Massimiliano spoke about the fragility of systems, but from awareness comes politics and then legislation.

Southern Europe culturally and operationally needs greater attention of better social representation of disabled artists and accessible for audiences.

First major barrier is accessibility to art education starting in schools, local communities and institutions.

To educate about a career in the arts as a disabled artist. This message can not come from above but grass roots.

Local school systems to demonstrate to culture sector the neccessity to do things differently.

To testify polices and announcements for discussions with stakeholders.

A choice at a local level to engage in the arts for everyone.

How do we open this up with other countries? integrate approach for countries with different barriers. To generalise policy, a job between social and creative productions, who encounter gigantic boundaries and the job of the European parliment is to remove them.

Stéphane Segreto-Aguilar / Network Coordinator, Circostrada

Stephane’s response to the report.

Italy, Sweden and Poland the report has created more awareness, more curiosity and more willingness to act.

He was asked ‘his wish for the future?’ for another report.

Ben Evans / Project Director, Europe Beyond Access

Head of Arts and Disability British Council

Ben’s response to the report ” Feels more urgent”

Awareness of disability arts is 52 percent poor knowledge about disabled artists.

Major issue in awareness in lack of programming disabled artists.

Every disabled artist becomes an advisory to much on the artist, this impacts dedicating time to making art.

Different parts of Europe are performing better than others.

Availability of policies and budgets to make change.

Looking to the future, What are the key things we should be measuring?

More info on the obstacles of accessibility, better representation in venues and festivals.

Implications of different disabilities.

Report recognition.

Judith Videcoq / Head of Unit, Creative Europe European Commission

The report records observation around the cultural landscape, responding to disparates, challenges, barriers and knowledge gaps.

How can Europe Creative bring down the barrier? Network, best practice, info access venues, training, online platforms

International network for contemporary performing arts


Disparity with North/West and South/East Europe. With North/West leading in disability arts best practice, awareness, accessibility etc.

Recognition of value of disabled artists, raise awareness.

Big challenges lack of action to better cultural education.

Lack of disabled artists expertise in organisations and lack of representation.

Kaja Tvedten Jorem / Senior Adviser, Infrastructure and Diversity, Arts & Culture Norway

Urgency for structural change.

Education lack of understanding in welfare.

Huge knowledge gaps and welfare system that recognise the welfare sector.

Norway is collaborating with Welfare sector.

More recruitment of hiring disabled artists, changing structures and mindset.

Top must be on board to have affects.

Christos Papamichael, Founder and Director of Liminal Greece

Positive aspects of report, growing interest between inclusion.

Huge interest but no knowledge, lack of resources not just money but no access to information.

Disabled artists struggling to access info for art education.

Lack of accessibility to buildings this stops possibilities of creativity.

Greece is broadening it’s horizons to learn from other countries. Gain European knowledge, to develop best practice, awareness, connection and over come challenges.

Awareness of disparity between North/West and South/Easter Europe

Filip Pawlak / Artist, Producer, Activist, Poland


The report provides Data to help lobby for change.

Interest across disciplines especially, academia.

Lobby access for audiences, human rights respected, with particular movements such as Me Too, grounding breaking for theatre and performance.

Why is there such a disparity of North/West Europe compared to South/East is it due to under funding?

The report shows that perhaps disability arts is not so important in the East but being in Poland himself, he knows that people believe it is important. Countries such as Poland can use the report for change, facts are important. He compares the movement and awareness of disability arts similar to the LGBTQ movement that happened in Poland which was ground breaking and is excited for this new movement of Disability Arts and what it will bring to Poland.

Marie le Sourd: Director, On The Move

The report is a signify of change.

From this report data is collected to criticise, challenge, mentor and develop stories of change.

Be aware of the disabled artists to be an enabler of change. To re think the way we create.

Time to Act report, two years on, can be found here

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