All people should have the opportunity to express themselves artistically in a world where differences are seen as valuable. This is the vision of ShareMusic & Performing Arts, the Swedish knowledge centre for artistic development and inclusion.
By cultural ecosystem, we mean all actors that can influence the opportunities for participation in cultural life or a career in the field. This includes actors such as municipal music and art schools, primary schools, study associations, secondary schools, institutions, community colleges, higher artistic education and, not least, the independent cultural sector. From children's opportunities to try out different creative expressions, all the way through primary school to higher education and working life. The disability rights perspective is cross-sectoral and therefore development also needs to take place in several sectors and at several levels, preferably simultaneously.
At the core of ShareMusic is a constantly vibrant development platform. This means that we not only share knowledge, but also constantly create new knowledge. We develop ways of working, methods and much more to enable more people to experience, participate in and practice cultural and artistic activities. We are also part of research projects and collaborations.
The forms of work include artistic labs, collaborative and research projects, lectures, performing arts productions, courses, workshops and other types of training and skills development. But we are always open to new approaches.
At ShareMusic, we have always been at the forefront of technological developments, particularly in the field of music. An important part of our work is to explore the opportunities for participation and creation that new technologies and digitisation can offer to people with disabilities. With the Corona pandemic, we began to seriously explore new ways of creating together at a distance. For those who have difficulty travelling due to various physical, social, geographical or health-related reasons, such technologies can open up entirely new opportunities to participate from a safe place.
At ShareMusic, artistic expression is constantly being challenged and developed. That's why we often work cross-artistically in co-creative processes where people with different backgrounds, experiences and abilities come together. In short, we work with artistic development through inclusion.
To pave the way for development, we often work with both co-creative methods and interdisciplinary approaches. All participants contribute to the artistic process from an equal starting point. This means, for example, that we always make sure we are in accessible venues, the leaders use a flexible working approach and if we travel together we make sure that accommodation and transport are accessible. Anyone with a possible disability should not have to think about all the other things going on around them and should be able to focus on the creative work.
We work collaboratively in both short and longer artistic processes in everything from workshops and labs to full-scale performing arts productions. In co-creative work, everyone participates and contributes to the process to varying degrees, creating broader opportunities for new expressions to take place and develop. The co-creative process can be used throughout the artistic creation process, or in part. For example, the co-creative work can form a basis that is then taken forward by, say, a composer in a commissioned work. In our co-creative work, as in all creative work we do, we always strive for a high artistic quality, regardless of the length of the process.
Over the years, we have also seen how there is a gap between the path to a professional life in arts and culture and artists with disabilities. Today, not all people have equal opportunities to enter artistic education and further into professional life. We want to bridge that gap! That's why we are now working hard to develop models and find ways of working to create a more level playing field.
We have developed a working model for achieving a level playing field. Attention and awareness create engagement with those who take part in our work. This engagement then creates the conditions for the change in attitudes needed to be able and willing to influence norms that can eventually lead to an equal scene — and society.