Reopening: ACE warns ‘caution’ on disabled inclusivity

Arts Council England has warned arts organisation to exercise caution as coronavirus restrictions are removed next week, especially in respect of the disabled and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

“We, and our sector, have committed to inclusion and that we must give disabled and CEV colleagues, performers and visitors the support and flexibility they need to take advantage of reopening like everyone else” said an ACE statement today. “Now that the law has changed and is offering organisations more discretion, we are expecting organisations to take steps to ensure this is the case.”

The statement sets out measures cultural organisations need to be aware of to ensue against discrimination.

“As the lights are switched back on in venues the principle of inclusivity must be applied in organisations” said Nicholas Serota, the ACE chair. “Our ambition is that the sector that emerges from the pandemic is one that offers talent from all quarters the chance to succeed, one that embraces audiences from all backgrounds, and one that endeavours for its performance and exhibition spaces to be accessible to all.”

Andrew Miller, co-chair of ACE’s disability advisory group said the recent UK Disability Art Alliance survey showed the full fragility of the disabled creative workforce’s confidence returning to live events was at an all-time low, and he welcomed the approach to lifting of restriction which “requires the arts sector to demonstrate inclusive values and to combat ableism”.

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