Our work at Cohere Arts seeks to address inequalities and barriers to access to arts, culture and health. We champion accessibility in all that we do, providing marginalised communities with opportunities to engage with artistic and heritage activities. This can include D/deaf, visually impaired and mobility-challenged people, as well as those who have not previously considered themselves creative.
Our ever-broadening freelance team includes artists living with disabilities and a variety of health challenges and reflects a diverse range of skills and backgrounds. We ensure our activities are either free or highly subsidised to allow everyone to participate.
We know that access can mean different things to different people. As we grow, we continue to learn about accessibility from the people we are working with, and are committed to sharing this knowledge.
“Many organisations however well-meaning have left me feeling more disabled than ever. Cohere Arts has been so different and refreshing, allowing me to express myself freely on a level playing field.”Project participant
Integrating accessibility into the creative process
In 2021, Cohere Arts Artistic Director Amy Mallett was awarded a DYCP grant from Arts Council England to investigate how accessibility can/should be integrated into the creative process of artists, from an idea’s inception to its production or presentation. This involved a series of interviews with arts practitioners, as well as practical exploration and audience consultation, documented in the blogs below:
Integrated Accessibility in the Performing Arts
Jenni Elbourne on audio description, accessibility and authenticity
Jenni Elbourne on how to improve accessibility in the performing arts
Kate Collier talks about interpreting music for the deaf and hard of hearing
Video specialist Jim Horsfield talks about the role technology can play in making performing arts accessible
Nathan Geering on finding a new aesthetic that works for everybody
Nathan Geering on making accessible performance work: feeling the fear and doing it anyway
In 2022, with access funding from Arts Council England, we were able to provide the additional support needed to enable visually impaired performer Clare Burman to take the leap from community performer to being part of the professional cast of our music theatre production Witchfinder.
“With sight loss, it is easy to feel isolated and marginalised in society, hovering on the outside looking in. During this project however, I have never felt so involved and connected to ‘my’ community.”Clare Burman
The short film below tells the story of the production from the perspective of cast member Clare and director Emma Bernard. Within the film they discuss accessibility, disability and the importance of representation within the performing arts.