a hand of a dancer is in focus while background dancers are not in focus

Accessibility and Adaption: Disabled dancers’ lived experiences of Covid-19

Project team

Dr Kathryn Stamp

Funder

Coventry University (Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme and REDF)

Duration of project

19 April 2021 - 10 July 2023

Project overview

Dramatic changes to communication modes, working practices and teaching methods had to be quickly implemented to make work and study remotely accessible at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown. Many disabled artists and researchers advocated for using these new working practices as a catalyst for change, considering how ways of working, interacting and communicating can be more inclusive and prioritise accessibility.

The ‘Accessibility and Adaption’ research project investigates the intersection between dance, disability and the Covid-19 pandemic, exploring the lived experience of remote working for disabled dance artists and how this time of enforced contemplation triggered reconsideration of industry norms and dominant work practices. Through surveys and interviews with disabled artists, this research is exploring disabled dancers’ lived experience of touch, adaption and access. It will consider the idea of a ‘post-pandemic new normal’ and the notion, value and use of ‘lived experience’ for policy making and the future of the UK dance industry. 

Project objectives

  1. To document and evaluate disabled dance artists’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and remote working practices, considering their implications for the wider Dance sector.
  2. To investigate the concept of ‘lived experience’ and interrogate its meaning within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and disabled experiences.
  3. To disseminate the findings of this study with academic and non-academic audiences.

Impact statement

The findings from this research can be used as a catalyst to explore innovative ways of developing current and new ‘inclusive’ dance practices. This research will create a body or corpus of knowledge that will be significant for future researchers, as well as detailing the response of the dance sector to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of this for disabled dance artists. The focus on lived experience considers the extent to which ‘lived experience’ is a necessary condition for researching or influencing policy that will affect a particular community, thinking about how the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted this area of debate and implications of this for the future of the dance sector.

Outputs

  • Public project report
  • One-day research sharing event
  • Policy discussion paper
  • Peer-reviewed journal article
  • Project website detailing the findings, links and resources connected to the research.
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