Throughout 2017, and with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Access Culture organized meetings in all the Intermunicipal Communities of the country, with the objective to promote a reflection on what constitutes a barrier to cultural participation. At the same time, it was an opportunity for us to get to know better the realities lived on the ground.
Today, thanks to the continuous promotion of accessibility and to legislation, culture professionals are more aware of the existence of physical barriers to cultural venues. It is also true, though, that our thinking regarding access accessibility does not go much further than the physical aspect and, in this case, beyond the need for ramps and adapted bathrooms.
In a sector that has become accustomed to thinking and asserting that there is no interest in culture in Portugal or that the Portuguese are little “cultured”, it is urgent that cultural agents take a more holistic view of what constitutes ‘accessibility’ and become aware of the barriers, social and intellectual, that they themselves create.
These meetings allowed us to reach every region in Portugal and to promote a joint reflection on access and cultural participation.