Disability Arts

Access to Work: A Guide for the Arts and Cultural Sector

A begin­ners guide to Access to Work spe­cif­ic to the arts and cul­ture by Dis­abil­i­ty Arts Online and Cathy Waller.

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Photograph of a paper form with the title Access to Work, and a pen

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is a Department for Work and Pensions resource that helps to create a more accessible work environment. It provides grants to remove barriers that disabled people face in undertaking paid employment.

Disability Arts Online, in partnership with Cathy Waller Company, has written a guide to interpret the Access to Work rules and official guidance with specific advice for the arts and cultural sector.

There are many different types of work within the sector, artists and creatives tend to be self-employed and those working for organisations are usually employees.

The guide has three main sections:

  • Self-Employed
  • Employees & Company Directors
  • Employers

The guide also contains:

  • A glossary
  • Case studies
  • Several downloadable resources to support you to apply and use Access to Work

Each section of the guide includes accessible versions.

About Disability Arts Online

Disability Arts Online (DAO) is a UK-based charitable arts organisation led by disabled people. They serve artists and arts audiences who face disabling barriers and, in doing so, enable social change. DAO occupies a unique global position with their website showcasing disability arts content, artist development programmes, partnership and consultancy work, accessible events and a vibrant community of disabled creatives.

Their mission is to champion disability arts and culture by nurturing creativity, connection and critique. Established in 2004, DAO has a rich history of challenging dominant narratives from a disability-led position in order to support sector change. They recognise that disability is an intersectional experience that can be isolating. Through their work, they create empowering opportunities for marginalised voices to be appreciated and understood. DAO’s work is supported by Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. https://disabilityarts.online

About Cathy Waller

Cathy is an award winning Choreographer and Movement Director, working for over 15 years in contemporary dance, theatre and film. Alongside her artistic work, Cathy works as a consultant within the sector supporting strategy, growth and access action.

In May 2024, Cathy Waller Company in partnership with Disability Arts Online developed Decode, an agency that provides 1-1 support for creatives applying to Access to Work whilst offering training and education to employers within the Arts and Culture sector. www.cathywaller.com

The Guide to Access to Work for the Arts and Cultural Sector was funded by Arts Council England, and fact-checked by the Department for Work and Pensions and Arts Council England in June 2019. The Guide was updated in full in March 2024 with further support from Arts Council England.