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Disability Access Information Service

Artsline in the 21st Century

Twenty eight years on from our foundation Artsline finds itself facing challenges, some new, others familiar. In the 1980's concepts of accessibility and inclusivity in The Arts were not established, battles were fought by ourselves and many other organisations to convince both venues and funders of their importance. Today a greater understanding has been achieved about the rights of disabled people but we can not become complacent in this matter. Artsline's specialist access auditors will continue to audit and assess accessibility in new and existing venues, providing detailed information not only for our users but for the venues themselves to give them the opportunity to develop best practice.

Artsline's commitment to supporting disabled people remains reflected in our employment practices. Where possible, we will employ or engage disabled people who have personal and professional experience of disability; people uniquely placed to provide specialist input. Although we will continue to develop our state-of-the-art database we understand the importance of maintaining our telephone service to answer queries from those without computers or access to them.

Artsline has begun to establish itself as a source of research-based evidence on access issues, we aim to continue repositioning ourselves as the prime organisation providing guidance and information to national and regional policy makers, development agencies, forums and committees relating to access issues facing disabled people. We envisage that, as an end result of this developing role, Artsline will become one-stop shop for access information to culture and the arts.

Artsline believes that disability is the effect upon the lives of people with impairments created by discrimination, inequality of opportunity and inaccessible environments. Therefore disability is the experience of barriers. Attitude is Everything (AiE), our highly successful stand-alone project has achieved radical improvements in access to live music for disabled people, not only ensuring accessibility for audience members but providing opportunities for disabled people to work backstage and as performers. In partnership with a range of organisations we are actively developing projects which will replicate AiE's ground breaking achievements in other areas of arts and culture.

Natalie Sirett, Vice Chair
Council of Management 2006-2008

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