A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 19 June between the British Council, Arts Council Portugal (DGARTES) and Acesso Cultura | Access Culture. It is a partnership for the provision of training courses aimed at artistic entities and cultural agents in the performing arts field in Portugal. The training will focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities and access to both the creation and enjoyment of performing arts in Portugal, based on good practices in the United Kingdom, as well as in Portugal.
This MoU is the result of three visions that combine and complement each other. The initiative came from the British Council, which proposed the implementation of a programme in the area of arts and disability, where Portugal is the “focal country”. One of the conditions for being a “focal country” is the need to establish a partnership with an organisation specialised in the areas to be developed (arts and disability), as well as the obligation to include the state entity in the area of culture of intervention in the arts.
Thus, DGARTES is the governmental partner whose objectives include promoting equal access to the arts, ensuring the diversification and decentralisation of the creation and dissemination of artistic creation and production, and encouraging the development of mechanisms that stimulate and facilitate access for different audiences.
At the invitation of the British Council, Access Culture becomes associated as a specialised organisation with a privileged knowledge of existing national companies that work in the areas of social and cultural minorities and artists with disabilities.
The three partners intend to focus on capacity-building for entities related to the performing arts, either in the inclusion of disabled artists or in the design of performances that make these accessible to people with disabilities, through specialised training aimed at artists, artistic directors, programmers and managers. Training will also be directed at DGARTES staff, as they are the evaluators of artistic projects, enabling them to become more aware of the specific features of artists and people with specific needs.