EUROPE BEYOND ACCESS (EBA) is Europe’s largest and most influential transnational initiative to focus on the active participation of artists with disabilities in mainstream dance and theatre. Since 2018 the programme has supported dance and theatre artists with disabilities to break the glass ceilings of the contemporary performing arts.
Today, Project Arts Centre is pleased to announce that the second generation of Europe Beyond Access, which will run for 4 years from 2024 to 2027, has been awarded €2m from the European Union – a sum which will be matched by the EBA consortium.
The new programme announced today will:
- Commission and present dozens of new dance and theatre works created by artists with disabilities. 3 major international co-productions will be accompanied by 19 other new locally commissioned works, and 20 presentations of existing touring works – presented across 10 countries.
- Support artists with disabilities to internationalise their innovative artistic practices, and reduce the geographic and artistic isolation uniquely experienced by artists with disabilities. Hundreds of artists from across Europe will participate in Residences, Workshops and multi-national Artistic Laboratories.
- Develop a network of leading European mainstream organisations with a commitment to present and commission dance and theatre artists at the highest level of artistic practice. The core 10 partners of the project will work with dozens more mainstream cultural institutions to present works and share best practices.
- develop tools and understanding in the wider performing arts market – sharing our belief that the European cultural sector must urgently reduce barriers experienced by artists with disabilities.
Project Arts Centre is one of ten leading European cultural organisations that form the EBA consortium. In this we join Skånes Dansteater (Sweden), Holland Dance Festival (Netherlands), Onassis Stegi (Greece), Oriente Occidente Dance Festival (Italy), Kampnagel (Germany) CODA Dance Festival (Norway), Zamek Cultural Centre (Poland), Mercat de les Flors (Spain) and Culturgest (Portugal). We are joined by Associate Partner British Council (UK), which initiated and led the first Europe Beyond Access programme from 2018-2023.
Orla Moloney (Executive Director), and Cian O’ Brien (Artistic Director) of Project Arts Centre said:
“Project Arts Centre is hugely excited to join a programme that has proved that some of Europe’s most exciting and innovative dance works are being made by artists with disabilities. We look forward to continuing to build our relationships with artists in Ireland and abroad, to work with them to build their artistic practice, and to bring exciting, provocative, and beautiful dance works to our audiences.”
Mira Helenius, Artistic Director of the consortium’s lead partner, Skånes Dansteater, located in Malmö, Sweden said:
“Skanes Dansteater is proud to be leading the EBA consortium in what will be a remarkable journey. We are grateful to the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union for the support they have given – allowing the project to remain one of the largest Arts & Disability programmes in the world. We are grateful to our predecessors, the British Council, for passing on the baton to us as Project Leads on a project with such a deep impact in Europe’s cultural sector. But most of all we are grateful to the artists and cultural professionals who continue to trust us to support and encourage their remarkable works. It is time to move forward and let the disabled community take the lead!”
Ben Evans, Europe Beyond Access Project Director said:
“In the perfect world projects like Europe Beyond Access would not be necessary: artists with disabilities would have the same opportunities to learn, develop their artistic practice and present their works as any other artist; cultural venues would be accessible to audiences with disabilities but also to artists and cultural workers who identify as disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse or Chronically Ill; and critics, audiences, and arts decision-makers would truly acknowledge the excellent and often radical work of disabled artists.
But this is not the case.
With this funding from the European Union, Europe Beyond Access will continue to challenge the whole cultural sector to broaden access to disabled people as artists, as cultural workers and as audiences.”
Collaborating with the four-year programme are key European networks and transnational institutions – committed to widening cultural access across Europe. These include:
Creative Europe Networks
- IETM International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts
- European Dancehouse Network
- European Festival Association
- On the Move
- Big Pulse Dance Alliance
Other European Networks
- ELIA: European Network of Higher Arts Education
- Flanders Arts Institute
- UnLabel – Transnational & German Performing Arts Company and Policy Exchange specialist
More information on Europe Beyond Access can be found at the Project website: https://www.disabilityartsinternational.org/europe-beyond-access/ There you can find examples of artists supported by the project, films exploring artistic ideas explored by EBA artists, and learning resources aimed at three target groups: Mainstream Cultural Managers, Arts Policymakers, and disabled artists.