Study Details Deaf and Disability Arts Practices in Canada

Hill Strategies released a report published by the Canada Council for the Arts based on interviews and focus group sessions with 85 artists and cultural workers to identify challenges and best practices to increase inclusivity in arts. Some of the findings include:

  • Funding: Funding processes that are not accessible are therefore discriminatory. For example, an emphasis “on written materials puts Deaf artists at a disadvantage”. The report suggests “implementing equity measures” as well as “providing qualified mentoring and sensitive administrative support”.
  • Accessibility: For Deaf people, accessibility challenges “impede full cultural citizenship”. Specific hurdles include “a lack of interpreters, of information in LSQ or ASL, of subtitles or picture-in-picture interpretation boxes in videos”. The report recommends that “the accessibility of training, production, and dissemination venues” be improved and that awareness of ableism and audism be raised.
  • Cultural representation: Depictions of Deaf and disabled peoples are rare in the arts and culture. Those that exist are frequently stereotypical, overly negative, and lacking in complexity. The report suggests the development of “an ethics of cultural representation by including Deaf and disabled people in scriptwriting and validation of media content”.
  • Communications: Complexity of the language of funding applications can be a significant challenge, “particularly for artists who are Deaf, neuro-atypical or cognitively impaired”. A participant noted that many people with intellectual disabilities are “structurally excluded from post-secondary education”. The report recommends that information be distributed “in simple and easy-to-understand language”.