Art & Accessibility 2016 Museums and projects for people with disabilities

The Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi has built up a distinguished track record over the years, at both the national and international levels, in the field of museum accessibility projects.
In the wake of its two With Many Voices seminars devoted to people with Alzheimer’s in 2012 and 2014, Palazzo Strozzi plans to host a new international conference in November 2016 with presentations and workshops devoted to interaction between museums and disability.

Recent years have witnessed a gradual but persistent change in the role performed by museums and exhibition centres. These institutions are turning increasingly from conservation and exhibition spaces into venues that devote attention to their visitors and to the ways in which those visitors experience art – a change which has redefined their role in relation to society, bolstering their nature as places for meeting and participation. The driving force behind this redefinition process is the inclusion principle, which demands that they tackle the theme of diversity.

The Palazzo Strozzi conference, which sets out to provide an opportunity for debating these themes, will be attended by representatives of some of the leading European and American museums involved in the field, together with experts in museum accessibility issues.

The first day will consist in a number of speeches and workshops illustrating some of the main projects developed in museum contexts, both in Italy and abroad, to make art accessible for people with Parkinson’s disease, autism-related disorders and other physical and cognitive impairments. These initiatives, designed to facilitate the inclusion of visitors often debarred from cultural life, have the added merit of helping to shine the spotlight on society’s broader perception of disability.

The second day will focus on projects for people with Alzheimer’s, underscoring both the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi’s ongoing commitment to the issue and the Regione Toscana’s leading role in the sphere. A number of Tuscan and international institutions will be holding seminars and workshops to illustrate the main schemes being implemented on the ground in Tuscany and to permit comparison with other examples being developed in the rest of the world.

The two-day conference aims to offer professionals in the museum, health and social fields, educators and also patients’ relatives a chance to share their experiences, to take stock of new working methods and to discover a new horizon of possibilities and experiences with and through art.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to place projects, approaches, successes and challenges on line through examples of best practices at the international level, so that they may serve as a model and a stimulus on a regional and national scale to rethink the world of culture in an inclusive vein.

Download the conference programme

Photo gallery

To underscore the importance of sharing and building networks, we would draw your attention to a international seminar entitled “Una Relazione di Senso: patrimoni culturali e Alzheimer” organised by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan on 24 November.