The open letter, addressed to British ministers with cultural portfolios, asserts that the pandemic has “magnified inequalities for disabled people working in the creative industries and that many are facing long term shielding, loss of income and invisibility in wider society”.
This could yet be exacerbated further, according to Andrew Miller, the UK Government’s disability champion for arts & culture. He says the speed of planning for a recovery from Covid-19 “risks excluding many creative disabled people”. It is therefore essential that the decision makers ensure cultural renewal is “planned inclusively with creative disabled people at its heart”, Miller urges.
The open letter was instigated by the recently formed UK Disability Arts Alliance, which is uniting people behind #WeShallNotBeRemoved on social media. The Alliance is ‘led by disabled people for disabled people’ working across the UK’s creative industries and was established last month as an emergency response to the current situation.
The #Disability Arts Alliance #WeShallNotBeRemoved has today sent an open letter to Culture Ministers across the UK warning that the pandemic has magnified inequalities for disabled people working in the creative industries & demands renewal be inclusive https://t.co/H3TObXkTkV pic.twitter.com/GCcS2Ouyfc
— Andrew Miller (@AndrewM_Arts) June 9, 2020
#WeShallNotBeRemoved has been conceived as a forum to represent and support D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled creative practitioners and organisations during and after the Covid-19 crisis.
Joining the 350 strong membership is free and is open to all individual D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled creative practitioners as well as disability focused organisations within the UK’s creative industries.
The Alliance’s key aims are to ensure a sustainable future for disability and inclusive arts in the UK and to amplify the voices of its members at a time of great uncertainty.
The letter, which is available here, was sent to:
Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for digital, culture, media & sport
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs in the Scottish Government
Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas, deputy minister for culture, sport & tourism in the Welsh Assembly
Deirdre Hargey, Northern Irish minister for communities
Jo Stevens, shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media & sport