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Invisible Disabilities: Second Hand Dance Release Report On UK Festivals

The resulting report, Invisible Disabilities: Festivals and Showcases will be available to download from the company's website from 10am on Saturday 3 December.

Invisible Disabilities: Second Hand Dance Release Report On UK Festivals

This World Disability Day Second Hand Dance will shine a light on invisible disability with the release of research the company has carried out into how it impacts professionals attending arts festivals. The resulting report, Invisible Disabilities: Festivals and Showcases will be available to download from the company's website from 10am on Saturday 3 December.

Research from the US indicates that 74% of the billion people worldwide living with disabilities do not have a visible impairment that immediately identifies them as disabled. Their challenges are less evident and therefore understanding their needs can be problematic.

In response to this, Second Hand Dance were commissioned in 2019 by dance showcase Surf the Wave to carry out research into this area and how it impacted on practitioners attending festivals in the UK. The company conducted in-depth interviews with individuals across the cultural sector in UK including Artists, Festival Directors, Producers, Directors of development agencies, Choreographers and Chief Executives.

As a result of the research, Second Hand Dance have been able to make a number of recommendations that those putting on arts festivals and showcases can put in place to improve access for disabled attendees, particularly those with invisible disabilities.

The importance of considering the access needs of disabled festival participants is particularly important to Second Hand Dance as a company whose Artistic Director Rosie Heafford has an invisible disability and has experience of the challenges faced as both a presenting company and an attendee at festivals and showcases.

The recommendations are outlined fully in the report and include things to consider at all stages of planning a festival, from get-in times through to networking events. These include releasing schedules at least 6 weeks in advance so delegates and artists can plan adequately and apply for funding to cover access needs, building in rest times for both artists and delegates as part of the schedule and offering quiet rest spaces.


Speaking about the report, Rosie Heafford "Our research and its recommendations are a starting point from which more can be done to understand and improve the accessibility of festivals and showcases. Having lived with invisible disability, and with festivals and showcases such an important part of my working life, I hope that event organisers take note and put accessibility and inclusion on their agenda."

Established in 2013, disabled-led Second Hand Dance create beautiful, sensory dance experiences (both live and digital) that are accessible and welcoming to all bodies, working locally, nationally and internationally from their base in Surrey. The company's way of working is centred on co-creation and collaboration with audiences and artists from many disciplines, with the vision of creating a world where dance, empathy, play and exploratory movement are central to the lives of children and adults.



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