Live attendance has increased, though disabled audiences remain cautious
The March 2021 findings show that attendance is growing among disabled audiences, as more events and venues re-open around the country. Two-thirds (65%) of past attendees who identify as disabled attended a cultural event recently (up from 28% in September 2020) and three-quarters (75%) are making plans to attend events in the near future.
In general, disabled audiences are slightly less confident than non-disabled audiences. For example, just 35% would be comfortable at an event with 100% seating capacity, compared to 50% of non-disabled audiences. Long-term, the proportion who anticipate attending events less often in future is higher than the proportion of non-disabled audiences (29%, compared to 16%).
Some disabled audiences mentioned accessibility challenges related to COVID-19 restrictions, such as mandatory mask-wearing. Many are conscious of complacency in relation to safety regulations and compared to non-disabled audiences, disabled respondents are more interested in how venues will be monitoring audience compliance (30% compared to 26%).
Disabled audiences are participating online to a greater extent than non-disabled audiences (57%, compared to 46%) and many plan to continue long-term. Attending an event online is the preferred format for 19% of disabled audiences (compared to just 8% of non-disabled audiences), highlighting the important role digital presentation is playing in widening access right now.
However, digital experiences are not suited to everyone with access needs and several respondents mentioned opportunities to the range of access options available. There are also opportunities to explore innovation in accessible formats such as offering experiences that do not involve screens (e.g. audio experiences).
Needing help to access experiences online is a more common barrier for disabled audiences (15%) compared to non-disabled audiences (8%). Offering telephone assistance and embedding access into ticket purchasing platforms will ensure that digital offerings are inclusive of a range of audience members with access requirements.
Download the Disability and Access Fact Sheet in two formats via the Patternmakers websit here.
The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.