Accentuate UK is looking to build on its History of Place programme, which aimed to improve representation of disabled people in both museum narratives and the sector's workforce

Surveys assess employment of deaf and disabled people in museums

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 06.03.2019
Research will inform work placement programme for deaf and disabled people
Two short surveys have been launched to identify areas in the museum and heritage workforce where deaf and disabled people are underrepresented, as well as areas where progress has been made.  

The research will be used to develop a work placement programme for deaf and disabled people in the museum sector. One of the surveys is aimed at museums and heritage sites, asking if and how they are approaching this issue and what support these organisations would find useful. The second survey is for deaf and disabled museum staff and freelancers, and asks about career progression and leadership opportunities. 

The surveys have been created by Accentuate UK, a non-profit organisation that aims improve representation of disabled people in the culture sector. They come in response to evidence showing that there are few deaf and disabled people working in museums outside of access roles, with a particular lack of representation in curatorial roles. 

The new programme will build on Accentuate’s three-year History of Place scheme, which came to an end recently. The scheme aimed to address both the underemployment of deaf and disabled people and their absence in museum narratives, and funded projects at institutions including Bristol’s MShed, the Museum of Liverpool and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

A spokeswoman said: “Accentuate UK, which has run a number of projects in the cultural sector to tell the stories of deaf and disabled people, is planning a work placement programme for deaf and disabled people in the museum sector. The most recent Arts Council England diversity figures show that only 4% of museum staff are disabled, against a background figure of 20% in the wider workforce.”

Each survey takes around five minutes to complete and the deadline for both is 15 March. Responses are anonymous.

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