Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.
Opening your doors and your programmes to disabled people is sometimes only half the story. For some disabled people, knowing that a space is accessible or that a service is provided is still not enough to entice them to join up, to become an audience member or a participant.
The effects of years of discrimination on some people reduces their confidence and can leave people thinking that the arts are just ‘not for them’. To reach these people, arts organisations need to reach out – making direct contact with groups and individuals. There are many excellent examples of education and outreach work throughout the country that is making a real difference in breaking down these barriers, but don’t also forget the simple things – where do the presentations about your organisation tend to go? What links do your staff already have with voluntary groups and statutory care provision? Build on what you have, where you can.
Here is a link to Arts Council England’s new audiences website which contains extensive reporting on hundreds of projects designed to generate new audiences www.newaudiences.org.uk try searching for the new audiences archive for education or outreach projects focusing on disability.