Andrew Miller MBE on inclusivity for disabled people in the arts sector

Andrew Miller MBE, is a cultural consultant and commentator, recognised as one of the most influential disability advocates in the UK. He champions creative disabled people, using his significant influence to democratise our national culture. Andrew joined CVAN London in 2020, during the pandemic, as the UK Disability Champion for Arts and Culture and one of the founders of the We Shall Not Be Removed,  an intersectional UK Disability Arts Alliance formed as an emergency response and campaign to the pandemic.

Andrew discussed the endemic ableism in the arts sector before Covid. Ableism is behaviour that excludes or discriminates against disabled people. He  called upon the arts sector to actively deal with this problem and think about making arrangements inclusive of disabled visitors. The pandemic magnified existing inequality in the arts sector and disabled people felt overlooked during the pandemic despite accounting for two thirds of coronavirus deaths in the UK. The campaign advocated for an inclusive recovery in the arts.

The 7 Inclusive Principles were created for the arts sector to support them in this. The principles offer practical guidance to support audiences, participants and employees who are disabled. They were created as the campaign felt insufficient attention was being paid by UK government to disabled needs. They cover ideas like making information available in different formats and offering free companion tickets. The principles are endorsed by Arts Council England, the Museums Association, UK Theatres and other bodies. Since pandemic restrictions have ended, it is important to look critically at how inclusive the recovery in the arts truly is.

Arts Council England has tools to help build more inclusive organisations:

Logo: #we shall not be removed