This week we want to highlight an awesome network that Spinn has the privilege of being part of, by the name of Universell Scenkonst. This network is an initiative for spreading knowledge about accessibility in the performing arts. It’s a regionally based mix of institutions, free groups, county/municipality and other initiatives in the world of performing arts.
We had a talk with Malin Aghed from the Gothenburg Opera House, one of the driving forces inside the network:
“I don’t think any of us knew exactly how amazing this would feel. We were a group that felt a need to highlight accessibility within the performing arts, by the simple reason that we believe that art is made better if everyone can be part of it. It’s easy, when speaking of accessibility issues, to get stuck in a kind of “pity” swamp. This is not what we’re doing here. We want to emphasize that the quality of the art itself will actually benefit from being created and shared by more people.”
The name Universell Scenkonst (Universal Performing Arts) is inspired by the concept universal design. Which means that everything from products, environments and services should, as far as possible, be accessible to everyone, without the need for special adaptions. The goal of this network is the creation of performing arts that everyone can experience. This means creating new performances and activities, but also adjusting existing performances to make them more accessible.
“The way I see it, there are currently only two groups in our society that doesn’t really have any platform to express themselves; children, and those with functional variations – people who can’t speak in the radio, write letters to editors, or for that matter even know that’s something they would want to do. We all need to help create a platform for these people.”
Other participants in the network are Regionteater Väst, Dansakademin, Förvaltningen för kulturutveckling, Danskompaniet Spinn, Kulturskolan Göteborg, the performing arts collectives Språng and Konstra, and the performing arts cooperative Big Wind.
“Within this network we want to use a friendly tone. Friendly, but decisive I should say. Many are afraid of even discussing these issues, in case they say the wrong thing. There are many landmines to step on in this field. We want to create a space where you can make mistakes, and then correct, evolve and learn, not be instantly judged. We have an open-door policy – everyone’s welcome to get in touch with us to and to take part of our knowledge and experience.”
Are you curious to learn more about Universell Scenkonst? Recently the network did a digital seminar at the cultural conference Folk & Kultur, where they talk more about what they do and the issues of accessibility in the performing arts. Below you can watch a short trailer or go straight to the complete 35-minute seminar!