Exploring barriers to social inclusion for disabled people: perspectives from the performing arts
Although the potential of arts to promote social inclusion is recognised, barriers to social inclusion for disabled people in the arts is under-researched. Based on 34 semi-structured interviews with disabled people and those without disability from four arts organisations in Australia, the paper identifies barriers for social inclusion for disabled people within performing arts across four dimensions: access; participation; representation and empowerment. Findings highlight barriers are societal, being created with little awareness of needs of disabled people, supporting the social model of disability. Findings have implications beyond social inclusion of disabled people within the arts, demonstrating how the arts can empower disabled people and enable them to access, participate and represent themselves and have a voice. Our framework conceptualises these four barriers for social inclusion for disabled people for management to change.