50 signatures reached
To: Museums directors; Cultural workers; Policy makers; Stakeholders; European Commissioners
The problem to be addressed is the lack of accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities in the field of cultural heritage. Currently, there is limited understanding, knowledge, and practical implementation of accessibility measures in museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions across Europe. This leads to exclusionary environments that do not cater to the needs of people with disabilities, preventing them from fully enjoying and benefiting from cultural heritage.
What needs to change is a shift in mindset and practices within the cultural heritage sector. There should be a recognition that accessibility is not just a matter of compliance with regulations but a fundamental human right. Museums and cultural institutions need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the needs and preferences of visitors with disabilities. They must strive to create inclusive environments by implementing necessary changes and improvements, both in terms of physical accessibility and attitudinal barriers.
Moreover, there is a need for interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing among various fields such as museology, special education, pedagogy, cultural heritage interpretation, archaeology, history, art, architecture, inclusive and universal design, and ICT. These disciplines should work together to develop common teaching practices and approaches that address the accessibility needs of people with disabilities. Currently, these disciplines often work in isolation, leading to a lack of cohesive strategies for accessibility.
To bring about change, the CURABILITY project aims to address these issues by:
Helping museums develop a better understanding of the needs of visitors with disabilities and implementing necessary changes and improvements to make their environments more accessible.
Sharing best practices and enhancing the skills and competencies of cultural workers in working with people with disabilities.
Proposing innovative accessibility solutions that enable people with disabilities to fully benefit from cultural heritage.
Involving people with disabilities as advisors, co-designers, and evaluators of accessibility solutions to ensure their needs are properly addressed.
Developing pilot projects that serve as examples, raising awareness, stimulating ideas, and inspiring other stakeholders to take action.
Why is this important?
As a consortium working on the CURABILITY project, we strongly believe in the importance of accessibility and inclusion in cultural heritage. Our commitment stems from a deep understanding of the transformative power of cultural experiences and the fundamental rights that every individual should enjoy.
We have witnessed firsthand the profound impact that cultural heritage can have on people's lives. It can inspire, educate, and foster a sense of identity and belonging. It connects us to our past, shapes our present, and influences our future. However, when cultural institutions fail to provide equal access to everyone, a significant portion of our society is left out and denied the opportunity to engage with their cultural heritage.
People with disabilities have long faced barriers and limitations when it comes to accessing cultural experiences. The physical environment of museums, galleries, and heritage sites often presents obstacles that restrict their participation. Attitudinal barriers, such as misconceptions and stereotypes, further compound the issue. This exclusion not only denies individuals their right to enjoy cultural heritage but also perpetuates a society that does not value diversity and inclusivity.
By promoting accessibility, we aim to break down these barriers and create a society that celebrates the richness of human diversity. Accessibility is not merely an obligation; it is a way of embracing equality, respect, and human rights. When cultural institutions become inclusive spaces, they not only benefit people with disabilities but also enrich the experiences of all visitors. It fosters a sense of empathy, understanding, and interconnectedness among individuals from different backgrounds.
Moreover, accessibility in cultural heritage aligns with the broader goals of the European Union and its member states. It contributes to the achievement of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which emphasizes the importance of accessibility and equal participation in all aspects of life. By ensuring that cultural heritage is accessible to all, we uphold the principles of social cohesion, non-discrimination, and cultural democracy.
Through the CURABILITY project, we strive to make a tangible difference by promoting understanding, sharing knowledge, and inspiring change. We believe that every person, regardless of their abilities, should have the opportunity to engage with their cultural heritage, explore their identity, and contribute to the cultural fabric of Europe. Together, let us build a future where accessibility is not an afterthought but an inherent part of our cultural institutions, empowering individuals with disabilities and enriching our shared cultural heritage for generations to come.