How do people with disabilities access arts education? What are the obstacles that keep them from learning, practicing and developing their own body of work? As society moves from considering art for disabled persons as therapy, towards seeing it as a way for them to become included and autonomous citizens, there is a need for mapping, tools, support systems and legal framework.
CIAE (Creative Inclusion in Adult Education) was a 2-year Erasmus+ project coordinated by the Cope Foundation (Ireland). The working plan included:
- a review of EU framework in inclusive art education for adults
- a collection of best practices in arts and inclusion
- creation of guidelines for educators, art practitioners and cultural centres
- creation of an online website/knowledge centre accessible for people both with and without intellectual disabilities.
The first phase of the project focused on gathering guidelines, practices, stories and recommendations. The partners then developed and tested the Inclusive Arts website that will be used as an "online toolkit" for disabled and not disabled people. They also regularly brainstormed with two groups of disabled participants from Associazione Scuola Viva Onlus (Italy), and the Cope Foundation (Ireland), on identifying best practices and sharing individual artistic experiences from the field. One important topic was discussing what real barriers ((educational, physical, financial, structural, and others) prevent disabled students from accessing high-level artistic schools.
The project concluded with an international conference in Cork, on October 31st 2019. This final event presented an overview of the projects results, a wealth of good practices and information on legal framework, and saw the official launch of the website/online toolkit. The partners, as well as Senator John Dolan and Denise Shanon on behalf of the Erasmus+ programme, also awarded certifications to several 'Promising Practices in Adults Arts Education' - including the ABBA Sign and Sound Theatre project, in which the ENCC is also a partner.
The CIAE project produced many interesting tools, resources and recommendations for both for practitioners working on inclusion and disability, and for disabled people to know the legal framework and stand up for their cultural rights. Find the CIAE resource collection here.
Cope Foundation (Ireland; coordinator)
European Association for Service Provides of Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) (Belgium)
Associazione Scuola Viva Onlus (Italy)
Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland)
European Network of Cultural Centres