We want to make sure that everyone has the chance to access art and culture. It’s a priority across everything we do, from how we have designed our website, to where and how we present our shows.
When it came to getting our new website designed, we started by looking for an agency with expertise in accessible design. We chose the brilliant team at Cog, and they made sure that our website was built to offer the best experience to all users.
They checked our brand colours for contrast levels, built the feed and menus to be used in a variety of ways (with keyboard only navigation, refreshable braille readers and screen magnification software, for example). They used Aria landmarks and tags to make the site more navigable for screen readers. They made sure links are not duplicated but appear just once in an easy-to-use button. And our team received training to make sure we can continue to keep our website accessible.
When we’re choosing the artists, productions, and venue partners we want to work with, accessibility is an important factor in our decisions.
By carefully selecting the venues we collaborate with, we can make LIFT productions accessible to everyone. From buildings that are wheelchair accessible to shared values around providing accessible performances, we make sure we find venue partners who are as focused on making art accessible as we are.
For every show we produce we explore the best access options. We programme audio description, live captioning, relaxed performances and British Sign Language interpretation as appropriate. We work closely with our artists and venue partners to make sure that we can provide detailed access information for every LIFT show. This information can be found on each event page on our website.
Diversity and inclusion
Diversity makes us stronger. At LIFT, we believe everyone should have access to culture. We’re very aware that in London and the UK, arts and theatre audiences do not reflect the diversity of the population. We really want to change this and are committed to doing all we can to increase diversity in the arts.
We are currently trying to do this in a few different ways:
- We are looking at how ticket pricing and partnerships can support this goal. For our 2022 festival we introduced a £5 ticket scheme for people experiencing barriers to accessing theatre. We’ve got some ideas for how to build on that experience and improve it for our next festival in 2024.
- We’re constantly on the lookout for insights from across the cultural industries that can help us to improve the diversity of our audiences. From outreach programmes to ticket schemes, we try to keep our eyes wide open.
- We help the international artists we work with connect deeply and locally in London. We are committed to working with a greater number of artists from the Global South, and to programming for audience groups that we want to engage with. At LIFT 2022, we introduced events curated by and for people of the Global Majority or from the Global South. They were designed to reach people we know are not currently represented in our audiences. These were our first steps towards developing ways to reach audiences who might feel like LIFT is not for them. Because LIFT is for everyone, and we want to make sure that is felt. We will keep working on this side of our programming to make it as impactful as possible.
Marketing and communications are an important part of the picture. We’re focused on making sure that our strategy, the things we design and write, are checked for both accessibility and diversity of representation. Everything we create should support our aim of increasing diversity in the arts.
The way we recruit our team, freelancers, and agencies we work with is designed (and is continually being improved) to reach diverse candidates who share our values and are motivated to help us achieve our vision. This year we joined the Parents in Performing Arts (PiPA) charter partnership and are working to improve how we support the parents and carers we work with. We’re also Disability Confident committed, which means we make sure our recruitment process is inclusive. We interview all applicants who identify as having a disability and meet the criteria for the role. This commitment includes supporting existing employees who acquire long-term health conditions or disabilities, so that they can stay in work.
We know that achieving access to and equity in the arts is an ongoing process that will require continued attention, evaluation, and willingness to change and improve.
We really value your ideas and feedback. If you notice something that could be done better, have any questions or would like more details about access, please get in touch for a chat. You can reach our general manager Tom on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 7968 6800. He will be able to share your feedback or connect you to someone in the team who can help.