Disability Awareness Training

23 June 2017

With our wealth of experience in the arts and disability, Culture Shift has devised a new Disability Awareness training offer for creative and cultural organisations wishing to understand their obligations and improve their practice.

Who is it for?

This training is aimed at:

  • Museums, heritage organisations, arts and cultural organisations, and entertainment venues looking to diversify audiences
  • New National Portfolio Organisations getting to grips with their diversity obligations
  • Well-established arts organisations who wish to ‘raise their game’ around disability and deepen the engagement of disabled people in their work

Our approach is based solidly in our own experience of creative practice and delivery, for example our highly successful Arts Connect programme.  Training is structured to be varied and challenging, creating a safe space for group working, learning and shared experience acknowledging the knowledge in the room.

What does the training cover?

Attitudes about disability: Exploration of how our attitudes are influenced by our personal experiences and by exposure to portrayals of disability in the media, news coverage etc.

Language and communication: Open and sensitive exploration of negative and positive terminology relating to disability.  Consideration of the medical and social models.

Legislation: Examination of the implications of the Equality Act 2010 and the requirement of the Act for service providers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to provide access for disabled people in 3 areas;

  • Provisions/practice (what service you offer and how you deliver it)
  • Physical features
  • Auxilliary aids and resources

Potential barriers for disabled people in the arts and cultural sector: Consideration of the specific and general barriers for active and meaningful engagement and strategies for overcoming them.

Good practice: Examples of existing good practice and how to develop this further and identify areas for improvement at an individual, organisational and sector level.

Action points: Collaboratively creating some tangible, action–based outcomes to implement in the short term based on collective agreed terms and longer term aspirations.

Who delivers the training?

Training is delivered by Julia Roberts. Julia is programme manager for Arts Connect, our learning disability arts programme, and delivered the inclusive Every Sort of People Festival working with a team of community partners.

She is regularly engaged by clients across the public, voluntary and arts and cultural sectors as a consultant and trainer specializing in disability and the arts.

She has previous experience as an actor, singer and director, television Production Manager and arts manager in the context of many artistic and educational organisations. She was Programme Manager and Live Arts Creative Producer for Carousel, a disability arts organisation based in Brighton.

Julia also works closely with a team of learning disabled adults (our Arts Connect Ambassadors) who are available to act as ‘mystery shoppers’, providing a wealth of valuable intelligence for arts organisations on their current offer to disabled people.

Feedback from participants:

I most enjoyed discussing and clarifying how to approach visitors with accessible needs.


I will be even more aware of how we can be more accommodating.


I loved the social model, it helps to put the issues in a positive perspective.


I feel this is the start of a process, not an isolated workshop.


The workshop has given me more confidence in making decisions about disability.


The workshop was well structured, with freedom to talk and permission to explore.