The Paralympics, in addition to being a celebration of sporting prowess, was supposed to be the biggest showcase for disabled arts and culture ever seen. The four-year Olympiad included over 800 disabled and deaf artists, producing everything from short films and outdoor circus to dance and multi – sensory art installations. However, One Year On finds that while the ‘elite’ of disabled artists whose work was commissioned as part of the Cultural Olympiad received a huge boost, the silent majority of disabled people missed out.
This report captures the concerns of a Symposium that brought together the views of those involved in the cultural Olympiad, including sports and cultural practitioners, disabled artists and Paralympians, academics and disability policy experts. In addition to the worries over elitism, it argues that cultural legacy of the Paralympics remains overlooked, with much of the focus on improving disabled peoples access to sports or on the perception of disabled people more generally. It also perceives a missed opportunity to increase the participation and employment of disabled people in the UK’s cultural life.
The report marks the start of a more in-depth study by Accentuate to understand why disabled employment in the cultural sectors is so poor, and what stops disabled people engaging in the arts more generally.