In 2017, Acesso Cultura, with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, held a series of meetings with culture professionals, called “Beyond the Physical: Barriers to Cultural Participation”, in all twenty one Portuguese Intermunicipal Communities and the two Autonomous Regions.
We believe that, thanks to the continuous promotion of accessibility and the legislation in force, professionals in the cultural sector are more aware of the existence of physical barriers to culture. However, in addition to the legislation not being applied, it is also true that the reflection on access does not go much further than the physical issue and, in this case, the need for ramps and adapted bathrooms.
In a sector that has become accustomed to thinking and stating that there is no interest in culture in Portugal or that the Portuguese are uncultured, we felt it was urgent that cultural agents had a more holistic view of what constitutes ‘access’ and be aware of the barriers – physical, social and intellectual – that they themselves often create to access to culture.
Through this report, we intend to leave a record of what we learned and what the participants shared with us – through surveys and evaluation sheets, but also in the discussion that took place in the meetings. These data are complemented by six interviews with those responsible for projects that developed in various parts of the country.