Editorial | We all need to be less ableist - Museums Association

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Editorial | We all need to be less ableist

Editor Simon Stephens introduces our third themed issue of Museums Journal
Anti-ableism
Disability Pride Flag
Look for this symbol on all the articles in our themed anti-ableism issue
Guide | Anti-ableism glossary

Anti-ableism is the third themed Museums Journal after climate justice last year, and Museum X, the team behind the Black British Museum, in 2021. 

Our focus on anti-ableism should be seen in the wider context of the work that the Museums Association (MA) is doing to address inclusion, access and representation.

One of our key goals is to develop an anti-ableism campaign that will support people to make meaningful change. Like all our campaigns, this will be a long-term project that will be created in consultation with the sector. 

One of the things that will support our learning and knowledge sharing will be our November conference in Newcastle-Gateshead, where there will be lots of sessions related to access, equity and inclusion, particularly disability rights.

These include a talk on the Sensational Museum, a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council that aims to transform access and inclusion in the sector by putting disability at the centre of museum practice and acknowledging the diversity and differences of all visitors.

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The MA is among the organisations that is supporting the project and will play an active part in its development. 

We are also aiming to make our conferences as inclusive and welcoming as we can. To help us achieve this, we are being supported this year by Sam Bowen, Richard Sandell and Tony Heaton, who have advised on this issue.

Esther Fox, the strategic lead on Curating for Change – which creates strong career pathways for D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse curators, and features in this edition – has also been supporting us with our conference plans. 

So, what do we hope to achieve with this issue of the journal? We are committed to changing our practice going forward and have worked hard with our eight editorial advisers to bring new voices in.

We hope that their knowledge and ideas inspire you to reflect on your own practice and to take action to support anti-ableism work. 

Overall, we want everyone to understand more about ableism, which often goes unrecognised by non-disabled people. And we also want to encourage the whole sector to be more equitable, inclusive and accessible. 

Simon Stephens is the editor of Museums Journal 

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