Disabled people working across the creative industries have formed a new alliance to campaign for "an inclusive cultural recovery" following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Founding organisations of the emergency campaign, which uses the hashtag #WeShallNotBeRemoved, include Graeae Theatre, Candoco Dance, Drake Music, Hijinx Theatre and Touretteshero.
Other founders include Access All Areas, Disability Arts Cymru, poet Jamie Hale, playwright Vici Wreford-Sinnott, theatre directors Nickie Wildin and Amit Sharma and actor Jamie Beddard.
The aims of the alliance are to ensure a sustainable future for disability and inclusive arts in the UK during and after the pandemic and to amplify the voices of D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled creative practitioners and arts organisations during the crisis.
#WeShallNotBeRemoved also aims to promote greater intersectionality within disability arts and to provide a new space for D/deaf and disabled creative practitioners to contribute ideas, initiate conversations and signpost opportunities using a dedicated Slack platform and monthly Zoom meetings.
There are already 150 members - including individual practitioners as well as inclusive arts organisations - of the alliance.
Andrew Miller, UK government disability champion for arts and culture said: “Coronavirus threatens not only the existence of our national culture as we’ve known it but also the health, creativity and civil rights of disabled people.
"Many of us face long-term shielding and therefore risk invisibility to wider society. So it is essential we come together as one creative disabled community to ensure we are not left behind, but instead shape and reset the coming cultural recovery inclusively."
Jenny Sealey, chief executive and artistic director of Graeae Theatre, said: “It’s being said we are all in the same storm but not on the same boat.
"Some disabled people feel they have no boat. So it is vital we work collectively to support each other through and after the storm of Covid-19 and ensure that our community is at the heart of evolving arts policy and practice."
Membership of #WeShallNotBeRemoved is free and open to all individual D/deaf, neurodiverse and disabled creative practitioners and disability focused organisations across the UK’s arts, museums and film sectors.