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In spite of the barriers they face, disabled artists have, particularly in the last decade, begun to appear more widely in arts programming, and many have had breakout success in theatres, galleries, film, and TV, in the UK and internationally.
It’s no question that there is excellent disabled creative talent to recruit or support. However, this does not mean that such artists do not require continued access support, and it does not mean the barriers have all come down - far from it.
This resource is aimed at people working in the arts and cultural sector with some responsibility for commissioning new work. It assumes the commissioning organisation is not disability-led, but wishing to engage more widely or fully with disabled artists, and disabled people in general.
By 'artist,' we mean someone working in any creative discipline. By 'commission,' we mean organising some form of structure involving payment/reward that engages someone to deliver a particular outcome, such as an artwork or creative project.
It outlines a few scenarios that can be useful for thinking through the process in a holistic way, then ends with a few suggested steps to take. It is not intended as an exhaustive guide, but to outline ways of working consistently to achieve the desired results.