Since the ratification by Member States and the conclusion by the European Union of the UN CRPD, a paradigm shift has occurred in terms of how society views people with disabilities, accompanied by a wider understanding of the adaptations which society must make in order to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are vindicated. For service providers the requirements enunciated in the UN CRPD call for a re-shaping of how services are provided, the development of new services not currently available to meet new and changing needs and/or the integration in the services of a person centred, inclusive, participative and individualised approach, adopting the new human rights model of disability.
The enjoyment and fulfilment of the right to participate in culture requires an enabling environment and a legal framework that offers a solid basis for the protection of rights related to cultural actions. A society that demonstrates an interest in nurturing cultural needs in conditions of liberty has a greater chance of developing a sense of social responsibility among its members. Accessible and inclusive culture is one of the priority areas for the culture and creative sector, as stated in the Work Plan for Culture adopted by EU Council of Ministers in 2014, which also highlights the contribution of culture to social inclusion. In line with the Work Plan for culture, the Creative Europe Programme establishes the need to reach new and enlarged audiences and improve access to cultural and creative works in the Union and beyond, with a particular focus on children, young people, people with disabilities and under-represented groups. Civil society organisations and cultural associations play an important role in facilitating access to culture for vulnerable groups but there is a need to reach out other cultural and art actors and operators to make progress on the implementation of article 30 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Culture and art should be considered as levers to participate in the society while also contributing to our lives.
Article 30- Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part on an equal basis with others in cultural life, and shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities:
- Enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats;
- Enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, in accessible formats;
- Enjoy access to places for cultural performances or services, such as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries and tourism services, and, as far as possible, enjoy access to monuments and sites of national cultural importance.
2. States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.
3. States Parties shall take all appropriate steps, in accordance with international law, to ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials.
4. Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and deaf culture.
5. With a view to enabling persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in recreational, leisure and sporting activities, States Parties shall take appropriate measures:
- To encourage and promote the participation, to the fullest extent possible, of persons with disabilities in mainstream sporting activities at all levels;
- To ensure that persons with disabilities have an opportunity to organize, develop and participate in disability-specific sporting and recreational activities and, to this end, encourage the provision, on an equal basis with others, of appropriate instruction, training and resources;
- To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sporting, recreational and tourism venues;
- To ensure that children with disabilities have equal access with other children to participation in play, recreation and leisure and sporting activities, including those activities in the school system;
- To ensure that persons with disabilities have access to services from those involved in the organization of recreational, tourism, leisure and sporting activities.
EASPD’s Interest Group on Arts and Culture provides a platform for the exchange of information and good practices in supporting the participation in cultural life and access to arts (addressing barriers such as the lack of accessible formats that inhibit persons with disabilities to access artistic and cultural activities, materials and places for performances and services such as theatres, museums, cinemas) and supporting artistic careers (artistic education, training for persons with disabilities and support in mainstream sector).
The main tasks of the Interest Group on Arts are:
- to bring expertise and engage in EASPD’s policy and research pillars;
- to follow-up in a pro-active way the relevant policy issues at European level by e.g. participating in internal and external consultations and taking proactive measures to raise awareness as needed
- to act as a rapid reaction force and as a spokesperson for EASPD towards the European Commission or others, if mandated to do so by the EASPD President or Secretary General;
- to assure the information flow on topics that are identified as important at national or regional level and require more European-wide focus (or the other way around);
- to discuss strategic and practical ways to implement Article 30 of the UN CRPD
- to support the development of instruments facilitating participation in cultural life and access to arts and supporting artistic careers.
- to exchange experiences, showcase best practices on inclusive art.
The main objectives of the IG are to:
- Implement and monitor Article 30 of the UN CRPD.
- Information sharing and exchange models of good practice in the field of inclusive arts and access to cultural life.
- Develop new European project ideas
- Provide inputs to relevant policy issues.
Serve as a platform to showcase Art works and promote inclusive art initiatives
EASPD IG on Arts includes members with an interest in Visual Art, Music, Dance, Drama, Theatre, and Technology in Arts or Art Therapies. The members commit to be available and engaged in the work of the Interest Group for a period of 2 years. Their mandate has to be approved by the EASPD Board. The IG shall respect gender balance and have pan-European coverage. In addition to EASPD-related members, a few external experts, with particular relevant expertise on Arts and Culture, may be involved in the work of the IG.
The Interest Group shall be composed by 4 members minimum:
- 1 Chairperson, appointed by the EASPD Board. The Chair shall coordinate the work of the group together with the Vice-chair and the EASPD coordinator. In particular the Chair will be responsible for the following:
- developing the yearly work programme of the IG
- implementing the work programme of the IG.
- 1 Vice-chair, appointed by the EASPD Board. The Vice-Chair shall collaborate with the Chair and the EASPD coordinator in defining the main activities of involvement of the IG. In particular the Vice-chair will be responsible for the following:
- assisting the Chair in developing the yearly work programme of the IG
- assisting the Chair in implementing the work programme of the IG
- replace the Chair whenever the Chair is not available to perform his/her duties.
- 1 coordinator from the EASPD office, who contributes to the work of the IG with a European perspective.
- 1 to 15 permanent members, who engage in the work of the IG for at least 2 years. Preferably organisations joining the IG should be represented by the same person, wherever possible, to ensure continuity in the discussions and commitments taken.
The EASPD members can apply for involvement in the IG by nominating a representative from their organisation. Participation in the IG requires a clear commitment of the member in terms of availability. In addition to the meetings, whenever necessary and possible, IG members will be consulted on an ad hoc basis to provide expertise, share information and shape EASPD policy.
The executive powers of the IG are with the Chairperson and EASPD coordinator, who act after preliminary consultation of the EASPD President and Secretary General.
IG meetings take place twice a year in concomitance with the EASPD annual conferences. The Chair and Vice-chairs are involved in the day-to-day follow up of the work-programme, in cooperation with the EASPD coordinator. In order to guarantee a smooth follow-up of the work-programme, up to 4 online meetings will be organised as well in addition to the face-to-face meetings.
The agenda for the meetings shall be prepared by the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the IG in cooperation with the EASPD coordinator. A first draft will be distributed one month prior to the bi-annual meetings. IG members can request the addition of one or more items up to 2 weeks prior to the meeting. After that, the final agenda will be confirmed and sent to the members, together with any supporting discussion paper referred to in the agenda.
- The IG shall work in open discussion and by consensus. Decisions shall be formally approved by vote. The strategic direction and major decisions shall be approved by the EASPD Executive Committee and/or by the EASPD Board as well.
- A decision within the IG can only be made when 1/2 of all IG members are present or represented at the meeting. If 1/2 of the votes are positive, a decision is approved.
- Members absent for more than 3 meetings in a row without written apologies sent before the start of the meeting will lose their membership to the group and their right to vote.
The work-programme shall be discussed at the 1st meeting and shall have a 2 years term. At the end of the 1st year an assessment on the progress made will be carried out to take any additional action to allow the fulfilment of the programme. At the end of the 2 years term a new work-programme will be discussed.
The Work-programme shall be adopted by the EASPD Board.