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7. Culture for All

The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities binds States Parties to
 “…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:

a) Enjoy access to cultural materials in accessible formats;
b) Enjoy access to television programmes, films, theatre and other cultural activities, in accessible formats;
c) 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.” (Article 30)

The duty to preserve heritage for future generations is often seen to be in conflict with the cultural rights of disabled people, and, more often than not, overrides these. A growing number of heritage sites and monuments have been made accessible through successful adaptations which reconcile their outstanding character with accessibility requirements.

Under this theme we will examine the progress that has been made in cultural heritage policies, design and standards for physical accessibility, information, management and tourism services.
Presentations may address one or more of the general issues mentioned above. For example:

  • Identify what governments are doing to reinforce the right to access to culture.
  • Show what progress has been made in creating access to tangible and intangible culture for all, in different countries and settings (examples of good practice).
  • Evaluate if cultural funding agencies leverage their public or private fund-raising efforts to promote accessible culture and tourism.

More specifically, presentations may address examples of good practice under one of the following four sub-themes:

7.1 Urban Heritage, Heritage Sites and Monuments

  • Identify challenges and solutions regarding access to heritage cities, sites and monuments, illustrated with examples of good practice.
  • Development of policy guidelines for making UNESCO World Heritage Sites accessible for people with disabilities and other visitors with specific access requirements.
  • The contribution of accessible heritage sites and monuments to tourism development.
  • Training of tourist guides in accessible cultural heritage interpretation and orientation.
  • Advances in the provision of on-site information and guidance in accessible formats.

7.2 Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions and Attractions

Worldwide, most new museums, financed by public funding pay little attention to accessibility beyond physical access, while participation in the museum experience and the encounter with collections and exhibitions is why people visit them. The best museums and attractions, small and large, integrate access into their everyday work.

  • Discuss the awareness and understanding of the concept of tourism and accessibility for all in destinations and levels of achievementin specific cultural venues (e.g. museums, concert halls, galleries).
  • Identify best practices in adaptations of exhibits or expositions for visitors to enjoy the experience through all the senses.
  • Share experiences of disabled artists, regarding initiatives taken for facilitating, supporting and promoting their exhibitions or other artistic work.

7.3 Cinema and Theatre, Music, Dance and Opera Venues

Entertainment and performance arts venues, which provide audio description, Sign Language Interpretation, subtitles and program performers with a disability reflect the diversity of the community.

  • Identify best practices in theatre, cinema or performance arts to enable all visitors to have a fulfilling experience.
  • Share experiences of disabled performance artists, regarding initiatives taken for facilitating, supporting and promoting their work.

7.4 Events and Festivals

Events and festivals for small and big groups of people are an important part of the atmosphere of being away from home for leisure, cultural, social, political and religious purposes. They can all be designed to enable participation of people with disabilities.
We therefore wish to identify good practices and innovative ways of ensuring inclusive experiences in:

  • Conference Tourism
  • Religious Tourism
  • Festivals and Outdoor Events
  • Sports Events

Subjects can include environmental and facilities design, management and programming, communications, assistive technologies, assistance and volunteering, safety and emergency planning, and other services.