We must tackle disability prejudice if all young people are to enjoy the arts

Young people face many barriers that can hinder their access to the arts and culture, such as a lack of family support, a low-income background, preconceptions of what the arts are and who they are for, as well as an individual’s concept of identity.

How is this different for young people with disabilities?

Disability is a complex arena of diverse behavioural, physical and emotional needs. To propose a one-size-fits-all solution is misguided, but there are some common challenges people with disabilities experience.

The most obvious is physical access to venues. A recent survey by BBC Breakfast of the 10 largest music venues in the country found that, of the seven which responded, fewer than 1% of their seats were accessible for wheelchairs. A lack of railings and lifts combined with an over-dependence on steps are physically stopping those in a wheelchair from accessing the arts.

In addition to physical barriers, Arts Council England reports that disabled people are much less likely to participate in cultural activities because of negative attitudes and prejudice, inflexible ways of working, exclusion from education and lack of transport.

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