The International Mobility of Disabled Artists and Culture Professionals

As part of its pluriannual program co-funded by the European Union, On the Move twice a year proposes Mobility Webinars to collectively investigate international artistic and cultural mobility. Together with partners, the network conceives these online sessions as knowledge building and peer-to-peer exchange, strengthening training activities, and inviting guest experts to share their lived experiences and views to help us embrace different perspectives on key transversal topics such as green mobility, inclusive and accessible opportunities, digital mobility, etc.

For this Cultural Mobility Webinar, On the Move builds upon the two large-scale studies it carried out for the British Council, as part of the EU funded project Europe Beyond Access, Time to Act: How Lack of Knowledge in the Cultural Sector Creates Barriers for Disabled Artists and Audiences (Baltà, Ellingsworth, Floch: 2021) and Time to Act: Two Years On, Data-led Insights on Performing Arts and Disability in Europe (Baltà, Ellingsworth: 2023). It follows recent online and in-person initiatives led by On the Move members to raise the awareness of the variety of specific conditions and needs of disabled artists and arts workers.

Today, an extensive literature of commitments, reports, case studies and toolkits is available to guide culture professionals in providing greater access—but these are not widely circulated, partly because they are often focused on a single country, or available in only one language. Moreover, they mostly focus on increasing access to disabled audiences but rarely tackle issues related to providing greater support to disabled arts workers.

Unsurprisingly, we observe gaps in addressing structured forms of guidance and training to support the international trajectory of disabled artists and culture professionals. Equal access to cross-border mobility, and its many opportunities to explore, create, learn, or connect, is yet to be achieved. Across art forms, the culture field needs to come up with concrete steps for disabled individuals to access creative research in another context, to access artistic production means at macro-regional, European or international level, to access new knowledge and skills away from their home country, or to connect with international peers.

Thanks to our panelists, this Webinar will allow us to take stock of the situation after the latest initiatives at national, European, and international levels and continue to propose steps to foster change.


Today we would like to exchange information to highlight how structural limitations, lack of knowledge, and awareness, generate inequalities in accessing international work opportunities in the arts and cultural sector.
The aims of the webinar are to: 
−    Analyze how inequalities in accessing transnational mobility impact the career development of disabled artists and culture professionals;
−    Identify the conditions offered in international open calls for residencies, presentations, funding, etc. that prevent disabled arts workers from collaborating transnationally and benefiting from fruitful mobility opportunities;
−    Contribute to outline recommendations to cultural operators and decision-makers towards more commitment and resources including for professional development, access to mobility information, and assistance tools in relation to making accessibility central.

*The conversation will be in English with live transcription.

Schedule (CET)

11:00    Welcome words

11:10-12:25    Panel discussion and exchange with participants:

Moderator: Jordi Baltà Portolés, Cultural Consultant and Researcher (Spain)

Panelists: Maria Vlachou, Executive Director (Acesso Cultura, Portugal)
                Onn Sokny, Senior Manager (Epic Arts, Cambodia)
                Lisette Reuter, Director (Un-Label, Germany)

12:25    Conclusions and perspectives

12:30    Closure of the Mobility Webinar

More Information on the Speakers:

Jordi Baltà Portolés is a consultant, researcher and trainer in cultural policy and international cultural relations. His areas of interest include local cultural policy, culture and sustainability, cultural rights, and cultural diversity. He is an advisor on culture and sustainable cities at the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and a member of the UNESCO Expert Facility for the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Jordi works regularly with Trànsit Projectes, a cultural management company based in Barcelona, and provides consultancy to a wide range of local, national and international organizations and networks. He teaches at the Degree in International Relations of Blanquerna – Universitat Ramon Llull (URL) and the MA in Cultural Management of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) and Universitat de Girona (UdG). He holds a PhD from the universities of Girona and Melbourne.

Maria Vlachou is a founding member and the executive director of Acesso Cultura (Access Culture). Author of the books What have we got to do with it? The political role of cultural organisations (2022, in Portuguese) and Musing on Culture: Management, Communication and our Relationship with People (2013, in English). Author of the bilingual (PT/EN) blog Musing on Culture. In the past, she was Communications Director of São Luiz Municipal Theatre and Head of Communication of Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciência Viva (Lisbon). Board member of ICOM Portugal (2005-2014) and editor of its bulletin. She has collaborated with different programmes of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Fellow of ISPA – International Society for the Performing Arts (2018, 2020); Alumna of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center in Washington (2011-2013); she has an MA in Museum Studies (University College London, 1994).  

Sokny Onn, the Country Director for Epic Arts and Obama leader, leverages fourteen+ years of experience to advocate for Cambodians with disabilities. She pioneers inclusion in the arts, empowering marginalized individuals through creative experiences. Sokny serves as an Advisor to the Cambodian Ministry of Fine Arts and Culture, where she utilizes arts inclusive education, community work, and social enterprise to drive positive change. She actively engages with policymakers, promoting inclusive policies that underscore the critical role of culture and arts in Cambodia’s equitable development. Sokny’s passion lies in cultivating leaders committed to serving people with disabilities and advancing social inclusion in their communities.

Lisette Reuter works since 2006 as project manager, trainer, curator and consultant in the international, inclusive art and cultural sector. She is founder and executive director of the social enterprise Un-Label based in Cologne, Germany. As an expert on inclusion, she advises and accompanies cultural stakeholders and organizations throughout Europe in the field of accessibility and equal participation. She is a bridge builder and border crosser. She is a coach, project developer, and master of networks. Her approach is always border-crossing, in every aspect. She sees inclusion not as a social project, but as a matter of course and as a normal part of art.

On the Move

On the Move is the international information network dedicated to artistic and cultural mobility, gathering sixty-nine members registered in twenty-three countries. Since 2002, On the Move provides regular, updated and free information on mobility opportunities, conditions and related funding and advocates for the value of cultural mobility. 
Co-funded by the European Union, On the Move implements an ambitious multi-annual programme to build the capacities of local, regional, national, European and international stakeholders for the sustainable development of our cultural ecosystems.

“Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”

About HowlRound TV

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based, peer-produced, open-access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and develop our knowledge commons collectively. Anyone can participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected] or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal. View the video archive of past events.

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