How do Digital Technologies Break the Barrier to Accessing the Arts for Young Disabled Young People?

This afternoon I attended Shape Art's event, and followed their discussion on providing opportunities and support for disabled artists.

How do Digital Technologies Break the Barrier to Accessing the Arts for Young Disabled Young People?

Entering the workshop midway through the presentation, discussion was in full flow between facilitator and audience. The purpose of the workshop was to sound the injustices faced by young disabled people, and how technology can enable their participation. The room came with a screen subtitling the speech, ensuring that the event was accessible to all.16cb853c9f81dff47277a3687a9308c68fba54f6.jpg

The audience spoke of their own experiences and soon a conversation ensued. One woman, a trainee teacher, spoke of her dissatisfaction with inclusion in schools, her particular facility sporting 40 iPads but a lack of knowledge for accessible apps. A sense of community filled the room; a BBC employee highlighted the importance of diversity and why those with disabilities should not be classed as a separate group. A topic dominating the event was employability and the ignorance of some presuming they are unfit to work. With the correct technology available, those with disabilities should be able to seek employment. More and more theatre's, for example, are providing subtitles during their performances. One example would be Dundee Rep's production of 'Blood Wedding' whom did so, and also cast a wheelchair bound actress as the protagonist. The group spoke of how essential inclusion is and how pivotal the Arts role is in helping to build confidence within discriminated against individuals.

I spoke with arts enthusiast Gilles whom told me of his involvement with The Guardian. He exuded charisma as he told me of the benefits technology such as his smartphone and ipad has on him; allowing him to pursue everyday tasks like any other.

Overall I feel this workshop was extremely encouraging towards the progress of inclusion. I met some exceptionally creative people with a lot of potential who refuse to accept social injustice dictating what they can and can't do.

For more information of Shape Arts work, you can visit their website.


Tara Glenn

Tara Glenn Voice Reporter

As well as being a Reporter for Arts Award Voice, Tara is a member of the Young Company at Dundee Repertory Theatre. She has trained on numerous short and full time courses at institutions such as Edinburgh College, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Scottish Youth Theatre. As well as theatre, Tara has an interest in film. Her own short gaining recognition at the Into Film Awards in 2015, and recently assisting with the programming of the London Short Film Festival 2017.

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  • Isis Sky

    On 31 October 2016, 09:29 Isis Sky Voice Reporter commented:

    Sounds like a fantastic discussion. People with disabilities can participate in the arts as part of expressive therapy, but only when opportunities are actually there. However I think that when art works well with technology we can enhance these activities, so the disabled are not, as you mentioned, classed as a separate group and still have the same open doors as everyone else. We need to be promoting increased access to the arts for all disabled artists and audiences, as much as we can :) Events like these are a brilliant way of informing, sharing, and spreading awareness of issues between disabled young people and the arts; I love what you've written, Tara!

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