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People with Learning Disabilities and Access to Mainstream Arts and Culture: A Participatory Action Research Approach

GRATTON, Nicola (2019) People with Learning Disabilities and Access to Mainstream Arts and Culture: A Participatory Action Research Approach. British Journal of Learning Disabilities. ISSN 1468-3156

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Abstract or description

Arts and culture have proven benefits. However, access to arts and culture is not consistent. For people with learning disabilities, arts and culture is often considered a therapeutic activity and therefore the needs of people with learning disabilities in accessing mainstream arts and culture are often overlooked. This research explores how people with learning disabilities experience culture, the barriers they experience in accessing it and how cultural sector organisations can improve access to their activities and events.
A participatory action research approach was adopted for the study. Interviews and focus groups were conducted. The findings were analysed and resulting themes discussed with the peer research team. The group codelivered a workshop aimed at representatives from the cultural sector to share their findings.
The results from the focus groups and interviews indicted that for people with learning disabilities, community is central to their experience of arts and culture. The study found that transport, cost and needing support to attend cultural activities were barriers to access, whereas consideration of physical access and ‘emotional access’ needs improved access for people with learning disabilities. Recommendations include improved consultation with people with learning disabilities about cultural opportunities and the formation part of cocreated training delivered with people with learning disabilities to support cultural sector staff to offer a warm and safe environment.
The findings from the study provided useful learning for cultural sector organisations. However, both the findings of the research and the process of participatory action research were noted as being significant for how the cultural sector can build an ethos of inclusivity to ensure their offer is relevant and accessible to people with learning disabilities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arts Culture Participatory action research People with learning disabilities Collaboration Coproduction of research
Faculty: Research, Innovation and Impact Services
Depositing User: Nicola GRATTON
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 11:23
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:57

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