First disabled arts champ named
The arts producer and strategist Andrew Miller has been appointed the first champion for the disabled in arts and culture.
“We know that disabled people are often under-represented in arts and culture, both as customers and as employees” said the minister for the disabled, Sarah Newton. “By showing businesses the importance of making disabled customers a priority, our new arts and culture champion will help to ensure disabled people can enjoy activities that many others take for granted.”
In the 1980s Miller, a member of Arts Council England, was the first disabled presenter on mainstream television, and he went on to produce and direct arts and music documentaries. A former head of preforming arts at ACE, he is executive producer of the current Russia 17 Season in Wales, a cultural festival marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution featuring the national arts companies of Wales.
There are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households – “the purple pound” – is almost £250 billion, but many arts and culture businesses are missing out on this potential customer base by not ensuring that their facilities are fully accessible for disabled people.
“Attitudes to disability are being transformed across the cultural sector, but my appointment to this role signifies more needs to be done” Miller said. “I am looking forward to working with the Minister, artists, cultural organisations, umbrella bodies, funders and HE institutions to address outstanding access issues, improve training, increase levels of employment and disabled leadership, and to ensure there is no place left for discrimination to hide in this sector.”