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

Deadline 3 June 2024

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:

To arrange an informal discussion about the brief in the first instance please contact Louise Wildish – Head of Inclusion at People Dancing [email protected]

The Working Group

Candoco Dance Company, Corali, People Dancing, Stopgap Dance Company & TIN Arts are co-collaborators in a shared enquiry and Working Group to challenge ourselves and others to increase and sustain the presence and representation by disabled people in the dance workforce and its leadership. 

We mean business. The Working Group will act with focus and solidarity through long-standing shared histories and collaborations to: 

  • Strengthen & renew connections, practices, and shared project activities. 
  • Amplify diverse voices and engage widely in dialogue. 
  • Catalyse change, influence and activism with new thinking, critical reflection, and tangible actions. 

The Working Group 
September 2023 

Working Group members are all National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) of Arts Council England. 

For the purposes of this document when using the term ‘disabled people’ we mean this to include but not be limited to, people who define as D/deaf, disabled, neurodivergent, or who are chronically ill, have a learning disability or live with impairments or mental health conditions. We also understand that our terminology and language may not fully represent or be the preferred descriptive definition for all individuals who define as having a disability, condition or impairment. 

Leadership in Action: Amplifying and advocating learning disabled dance leaders

Wednesday 26 June 2024
Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester
10.30am – 4.00pm

People Dancing and Corali Dance Company are delighted to present this one day in person event for learning disabled dance leaders and their supporters.

Led by supporting partners Anjali Dance CompanyDanceSyndromeStopgap Dance Company and TIN Arts, the day, a first of its kind, supports the coming together of learning disabled dancers and dance leaders in one space.

To find out more about this event, please click here.

Heart to Heart

Commissioned by the North East North Cumbria Congenital Heart Disease (NENC CHD) Network and produced by TIN Arts, “Heart to Heart” is a short film exploring the hopes, challenges, and dreams of five resilient young souls living with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD).

“Heart to Heart” is now available to view here: Heart to Heart

Writer Laura Lindow and filmmaker Laura Degnan, regular collaborators of TIN Arts, were invited to lead the project and to work with the young people to bring to life a new work that reflected conversations and meetings held between the young people and the artists.

At the heart of this project are the five extraordinary young people, who have generously shared their unique perspectives. “Heart to Heart” is their voice, their narrative, and their opportunity to convey their message directly to the world. What has emerged is a manifesto, a pledge, a promise to themselves, their peers and the wider CHD community.

On the 8th of November 2023, there was a private preview for the young people involved and their families before the film premiered at the British Congenital Cardiac Association conference in Bristol on the 14th of November 2023. 

There have been many people involved in the creating and making of Heart to Heart who deserve massive thanks and praise.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Kaye Walsh from the CHD Network for commissioning this film and for her invaluable expertise and insights throughout the journey. Special thanks are due to Laura and Laura for their outstanding creative contributions, dedicating countless hours to bring this vision to life.

Animator Sheryl Jenkins and composer/performer Katie Doherty have both brought their brilliance to the process and elevated the work to a whole new level.

Last but certainly not least, we extend our deepest gratitude to the young people who have shared their stories and experiences with us. This film truly belongs to them. Witness for yourself how bright they shine and the deep significance their words hold for the CHD community and beyond.  

Welcome Back

We’re looking forward to welcoming back our GeTIN2Dance participants from 11th September.

We hope everyone has had a great summer break and is looking forward to getting creative in our dance studio again.

We would like to share our participant handbook with you to help you get ready to come back to TIN Arts. Please follow this link to our handbook: 2023-2024 Handbook

See you soon!

Artistic Journeys: A Closer Look at our Best Foot Forward Performers

Our Durham University summer interns, Rachel and Verity, interviewed four of our GeTIN2Dance participants: Laura, Alumbeni, Catherine, and Alex. We wanted to find out more about their personal experiences of being performers at Best Foot Forward, TIN Arts’ annual showcase performance featuring work created and performed by artists with a learning disability or who are autistic.

The four articles give first-hand accounts of the performers’ journeys from rehearsals to the performance itself, as well as showing the support they received from their families and from TIN staff. To read more about these talented individuals, please see the links below:

Launch of new ‘Giving Back’ Campaign

TIN Arts are launching a new ‘Giving Back’ campaign to raise vital funds for the charity and to celebrate our 25th anniversary, which will take place on 13 January 2024.

‘Giving Back’ starts officially on 10 June 2023 when TIN Arts Executive Director, Martin Wilson MBE, takes on a 200km ride from Durham to Dunbar in one day. Starting off at first light, Martin and friends from Paradise Bank Cycling Club have a deadline to catch a return train from Dunbar at 19:20 that eveningso the challenge is on for them to reach their destination on time to make sure they can get home! 

Anyone connected to TIN Arts is invited to support the ‘Giving Back’ campaign in any way they would like. You can donate, volunteer your time, attend an organised event or create an event of your own: we would love to find a way to help you to commemorate this special period for TIN Arts.

You can donate in support of the Durham to Dunbar ride here:

There are lots of planned events in the pipeline, including a fabulous Fundraising Ball on Saturday 13 January 2024 at a ‘soon to be revealed’ location in Durham.

Keep an eye on this blog page for news on more events soon.

If you would like to organise an event to raise funds for TIN Arts, please get in touch via [email protected].