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News from ActionAgainstCruelty

Improving access to the arts, museums and galleries: seminar report

Improving accessibility for people with learning disabilities and difficulties

3 December 2014, Camden Arts Centre

In December 2014 Lemos&Crane held a free seminar to discuss the preliminary findings from our work on improving access to the arts, museums and galleries for people with learning disabilities. Over the last six months Lemos&Crane have been conducting a review of the current landscape of accessibility to the arts and museums for people with learning disabilities as well as the work done by specialist arts organisations and how these interact with the arts sector as a whole. This has taken the form of a call for good practice among arts organisations and museums in London and adult social care organisations from further afield, as well as in-depth discussions with a range of arts organisations working in this area. The results from this research have been compiled into a report due for publication in January 2015.

Forty delegates attended the seminar, which was held in the Artist Studio at Camden Arts Centre. Attendees were primarily from both mainstream and specialist arts organisations, galleries and museums. Gerard Lemos presented an overview of our research findings and conclusions which were then responded to by Moira Sinclair from Arts Council England and Jo Reilly from Heritage Lottery Fund, before the discussion was opened up to the floor to share their own responses and experience. Gemma Wright from Camden Arts Centre presented a short film about their longstanding work ‘Get the Message’ and its offshoot ‘How Can Art?’.

The day was an opportunity for people to share their experience and ideas for improving access, both to groups of people with learning disabilities and for individual visitors attending public events. Conversation explored the importance of pooling experience and information, learning from other organisations and forming networks of local organisations able to support creative projects. Delegates shared and discussed concerns around capturing the impact of a project for an evaluation, the relative difficulty of providing for adults as opposed to children and the importance of role models and mentors with learning disabilities for those interested in the arts.

The event was a valuable opportunity to discuss some of the concepts and concerns that have emerged during the course of our research, and contributions from the discussion will be reflected in the report itself, which is due to be published in January 2015.

Many thanks to all those who attended and contributed to the event. If you would like more information about this project please get in touch by emailing Sarahf@lemosandcrane.co.uk

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