About the Cultural Inclusion Manifesto

The Cultural Inclusion Manifesto was developed in 2018 in response to a lack of access to artistic and cultural opportunities for disabled children and young people.

Many SEND and Arts and Culture organisations had been setting a path towards greater inclusion of young people with disabilities in arts and culture for some time, but final inspiration for the Manifesto was The West London Inclusive Arts Festival. Supported by John Lyon’s Charity, four Special Schools worked alongside two cultural partners - The Wallace Collection and The Lyric theatre in Hammersmith - to deliver a high-quality cultural and arts events with inclusion and inclusive practice at their core.

The Manifesto, created by Paul Morrow and Rachael Christophides, was officially launched in Parliament in January 2019 by Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Art, Craft and Design in Education.

Individuals, organisations and schools have since been asked to sign up to the principles within the Manifesto and to commit to working collectively to ensure sustainable access to, and participation and representation in, arts and culture for disabled children and young people.

The Manifesto has attracted signatories including disabled children and young people, their families, schools and teachers, arts and cultural organisations, disability charities, SEND organisations and funders.


supporters of the manifesto

Between 2018 and 2021 the Manifesto was incubated by Every Child Should, a campaign to ensure that a broad and balanced curriculum is an entitlement for all. During this period the Manifesto gained traction largely through word of mouth and social media. Signatories showed their support and three high profile events, hosted by the Cultural Inclusion Manifesto, were well attended.

Interest in the Manifesto has grown, and it has established its place in the arts and culture sectors. Aiming to build on its support, and convert the power of its signatories into tangible change, the Cultural Inclusion Manifesto became a Community Interest Company in 2021. As an independently constituted organisation it will secure resources and push on with cross sector transformational change programmes that lead to sustainable participation and representation in arts and culture for children and young people with disabilities.

Our vision is: A World where all children and young people with disabilities have equal access to a broad range of artistic and cultural experiences.

We believe that inclusion, representation, and participation in artistic and cultural experiences is essential to human dignity and to the exercise and enjoyment of human rights. For children and young people with disabilities it has the power to transform their lives and make a real difference to their education, health and wellbeing.

We will bring together a range of individuals and organisations to work collaboratively towards increasing disabled children and young people’s engagement with arts and culture by identifying and sharing best practice, encouraging and supporting strategic partnerships, providing a range of online and offline tools and ensuring that inclusion is central to government policy on arts and culture.

We will promote access and drive inclusive practice for disabled children and young people in the following ways:

  • To Consume – to be audience members in venues, in school and online without barriers to access.
  • To Create – to be artists and performers participating in all art forms, accessing progression routes, training, and opportunities to showcase their talents.
  • To Connect – to engage with arts and culture through positive depictions of disabled people and identifying with disabled artists as role models.
  • To have Careers – to be arts and culture employees, to be amongst the next generation of leaders, and accessing progression routes.

Our strategy outlining our aims and priorities to progress these themes is currently open for consultation and we welcome your input

We passionately believe in the power of arts and culture to transform lives and make a unique and invaluable contribution to the education, health and wellbeing of disabled children and young people. We want disabled children and young people to have equal access to a broad range of artistic and cultural experiences and opportunities. This is currently not the case.

The Cultural Inclusion Manifesto has achieved an impressive amount in a short period of time with very limited resources. With the right support it has enormous potential to deliver real and sustainable change.

The Cultural Inclusion Manifesto is registered as a Community Interest Company, no. 13306909 (THE CULTURAL INCLUSION MANIFESTO C.I.C.)

The manifesto was written by Paul Morrow, supported by Rachael Christophides.

Paul Morrow

Paul has spent 16 years working in SEND education, teaching art at Westminster Special schools. He has a MA in Art and Design in Education and a Diploma in Special and Inclusive Education from the Institute of Education.

Alongside his teaching he has worked as a consultant and founded the West London Inclusive Arts Festival. Paul is currently writing a book on art, culture, and inclusion for NASEN (National Association for Special Educational needs) Paul is a practicing artist and shows at regularly at art fairs and with his gallery Thomas Spencer Fine Art.

Rachael Christophides

Rachael is a senior communications and campaigns professional with over 25 years’ experience of influencing in the public and voluntary sector -especially on the rights of disabled children and adults.

Rachael started her career in Parliament before moving to the voluntary sector, working for national disability charities. She played a key role in shaping the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and has researched and published influential reports and has contributed to numerous government consultations on disability issues.

The manifesto is supported by Lisha Rooney, Tom Underwood, Anita Kerwin-Nye and Matt Overd

Lisha Rooney

Lisha Rooney is an autistic rights advocate, particularly in the arts, speaking and writing about diversity, inclusion, and anti-ableism within cultural institutions. She is Chair of Governors at Queensmill School, a London-based school for autistic children. Lisha is CEO of WhatDo, a clothing company which caters to individuals with sensory sensitivities while celebrating neurodiversity.

She and her family participated in the ‘Changing the Face of Autism Research Together’ project – funded by the Wellcome Trust and the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre – which brought together autistic individuals and scientists to share ideas and influence the research agenda. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and her Master of Fine Arts.

Anita Kerwin-Nye

Anita is a purpose-led changemaker and executive leader, systems leader and growth strategist. As well as her expertise, extensive network and knowledge, Anita brings authenticity, grit and humour to her work. Her career history includes successfully scaling what works, securing multi-millions in funding across trading and philanthropy, forming new consortiums and models of working, running UK wide operations. And all with a focus on access - ensuring charity services and public goods reach those that need them the most.

Anita is a skilled writer, mentor and conference speaker keen to share learning and to support the development of those working in charity sector - particularly nature, environment, outdoors and heritage. Anita always loves to hear from people who share a passion for access and inclusion.

Tom Underwood

Tom has spent 15 years working in SEND education and is currently Head of the Arts & KS2 at St Philip’s School.  He started his career as an actor and studied performing arts at Tring Park before completing a BA in Acting from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Alongside his teaching he has been part of the core committee of the I Am Festival, an annual arts festival which empowers D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent young people to explore their creativity working alongside venues such as Tate Modern and the National Theatre.

Outside of work Tom is Co-Chair of Merton Citizens, using the principles of community organising to work alongside refugees to bring change on the issues that matter to them.

Matt Overd

Matt is a third sector leader and strategist expert in setting, measuring and helping organisations reach outcomes that best support their mission. With a Masters in Charity Sector Management and a Doctorate focusing on process improvement. Matt has led start up and management of several small not for profits and led change in some of biggest charity sector brands. Working on access to enrichment, extra-curricular and experiences for young people access to arts, heritage and outdoors.

Matt has a particular interest in organisations that build community resilience drawing on his work in community conflict resolution, first aid and encouraging humanitarian action.

Matt also combines charity and access expertise to get more people outdoors and to enjoy benefits of public spaces.

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