Survey results: deaf and disabled people in the cultural sector

We ran two surveys to gain a snapshot of how D/deaf and disabled people are represented in the museum workforce. Here’s an overview of the results.

Ahead of our new project, we ran two surveys: one for deaf and disabled people working in the sector to comment on their experience, another for museums and museum professionals in general to comment on what would improve the sector on these issues.

We are still digesting the comments, but have compiled some statistical headlines. Deaf and disabled museum workers who answered our survey were:

  • 67% were contracted to a museum, 33% freelance
  • 19% work in curatorial, 24% in learning or outreach, 33% said other
  • 67% said they felt career progression was open to them, 33% did not.

Among museums:

  • Lack of knowledge and lack of funding and resources were cited about equally as the main barrier to reinterpretation and display, and the main barrier to working with deaf and disabled people. Only 14% replied that they were doing these things already.
  • Funding was cited as a particularly acute barrier (55%) to ‘risk taking work…that could lead to significant positive changes’.
  • Existing deaf and disabled staff were most likely to work Front of House (23%) or in curatorial or marketing education (both 16%) – museum leaders and access officers were both at 8% and a high proportion (29%) were listed as doing jobs not in any of the other categories.

Read more about our new project to increase the number of D/deaf and disabled people in the museum workforce and involved in sector advisory groups

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