Barriers to Progression and Employment in Dance for Disabled People – Research Tender

We are pleased to announce the Working Group, a cohort comprising Candoco Dance Company, Corali, People Dancing, Stopgap Dance Company and TIN Arts, have opened a new research opportunity aimed at identifying the barriers to progression and employment for disabled people in the dance sector.


In 2019/20, the Diversity Data Report of Arts Council England revealed that disabled people made up just 5% of the workforce of core funded Dance organisations, the lowest percentage against all other artforms.

The Department for Work and Pensions estimated that for 2020/21, 24% of the population identify as disabled/have a long-term health condition. In more recent Arts Council England released data for 2020/2021 – 2022/23:

●  Only 9% of the workforce are disabled, with 8% being artists.
●  Only 8.5% of National Lottery Project Grant applicants in dance are from disabled people, compared to 15.6% in theatre and 15.3% in visual arts (2022/23)

The Working Group aims to change this through a new research programme, and by doing so increase disabled representation in dance.

Disabled people will continue to have prominent roles as leaders, managers, and artists through our respective companies, but inclusive dance organisations like us cannot work alone to change this landscape. It is our belief that our sector colleagues must implement a meaningful, long-term change programme in better collaboration with us and with each other.

To inform this change programme the Working Group wishes to appoint an independent disabled researcher/s (or co-led with a disabled or person/s with lived experience researcher/leader) or organisation or agency which has a disabled person within the team, to undertake a nationwide investigation that brings together individuals, groups and organisations in the sector to identify systemic barriers that prevent disabled people from entering, sustaining and progressing their careers in the dance sector.

This research is supported by Arts Council England and the overall aim is to gather and analyse current data and evidence so that we can identify and prioritise changes that the sector needs, and develop collaborative and impactful actions, leading to further research and/or projects that will monitor progress of sector change.

For full details of the brief, accessible translations and how to apply, please visit the People Dancing website.

To arrange an informal discussion about the brief in the first instance, please contact Louise Wildish – Head of Inclusion at People Dancing:

To learn about the Working Group and its commitments, please read the full Working Group Statement.

Ballet dancer wearing a tutu. They are standing on stage with arms wide open. The photo is captured from the back.

Black Swan – 11 Million Reasons to Dance – Dancer Sian Green, photographer Sean Goldthorpe, commissioned by People Dancing

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