With Maria Vlachou

In recent years, cultural venues in different countries have started implementing access services to their programming for people with disabilities. By including interpretation in sign language, audio description or promoting relaxed sessions, these venues seek to create access conditions so that people with specific needs, as well as their families and friends, can enjoy the offer together.

When considering access, though, there is another, rather neglected, aspect: that which seeks to include people with disabilities and specific needs in the teams of cultural organisations or to regularly programme them as artists.

When diversity and inclusion and diversity are viewed in a more holistic way, multiple and diverse creative opportunities arise. With regard to cultural management, in this course we shall discuss the concept of disability and our attitudes towards it; we shall learn more about accessible environments and the implementation of access policies and services; we shall evaluate how each department within a cultural organisation (direction and artistic direction, curatorship, communications, production, education, front-of-house) contributes towards access.

Target audience

People working in the areas of Cultural Management, Production, Programming, Cultural Mediation, Artistic Direction


Maria Vlachou is a Cultural Management and Communications consultant. Founding member and Executive Director of Acesso Cultura | Access Culture, promoting access – physical, social, intellectual – to cultural participation. Author of the bilingual (pt/en) blog Musing on Culture, where she writes about culture, the arts, museums, cultural management and communication, access. She is the manager of the Facebook group Museum texts / Textos em museus and co-manager of the blog Museums and Migration. She participated in the European project RESHAPE – Reflect, Share, Practice, Experiment, having joined the trajectory “Arts and Citizenship”.

In the past, she was Communications Director of São Luiz Municipal Theatre and Head of Communication of Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciência Viva (Lisbon). Board member of ICOM Portugal (2005-2014) and editor of its bulletin. She has collaborated with different programmes of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Fellow of ISPA – International Society for the Performing Arts (2018, 2020); Alumna of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Washington (2011-2013); she has a M.A. in Museum Studies (University College London, 1994) and a B.A. in History and Archaeology (University of Ioannina, Greece, 1992).