Disability under-representation in museums is an issue that continues to evade real progress. It’s only by examining ableism that we can challenge this status quo.
The term anti-ableism is perhaps not universally understood. Ableism is about prejudice, inequity, stigma, injustice and bias (unconscious or not).
A new campaign led by the Museums Association (MA) aims to support museums and their funders to work in an anti-ableist way. It will focus on ethical practice; communities and audience; workforce and governance; and collections engagement and access.
We encourage all museum professionals to find out more about the social model of disability, as this is the foundation stone on which to build an anti-ableist approach.
Work with disabled people to change attitudes and environments. And check your bias. Is there an ableist assumption that disability is a minority interest or that it relates to deficit and stigma?
Consider disability narratives and disabled people’s lived experience as a chance to discover insights that will enhance your organisation.
Explore policies such as making recruitment and entry-level jobs more accessible, or supporting disabled people in leadership.
Join the MA in its fight for justice – help us bring about meaningful change.
Esther Fox is head of the Accentuate Programme at Screen South and will speak at the Museums Association Conference (7-9 November, Newcastle-Gateshead)