In July 2016, Acesso Cultura | Access Culture presented a project to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which involved a series of meetings at national level (namely, the 21 intermunicipal communities and the two autonomous regions – Azores and Madeira), in order to reflect on what constitutes a barrier to cultural participation. The two metropolitan areas (Lisbon and Porto), where Acesso Cultura has a more permanent and intense presence, were excluded from the project.
Acesso Cultura considers that, thanks to the continuous promotion of accessibility and the legislation in force, professionals in the cultural sector are more aware now of the existence of physical barriers to cultural venues. However, in addition to the legislation not being implemented, it is also true that our reflection on access does not go much further than the physical aspect and, even in this case, beyond the need for ramps and adapted bathrooms.
Accesso Culture is a not-for-profit association of culture professionals and people concerned with issues of access. Access Culture aims to promote access – namely physical, social and intellectual – to cultural participation. Created in 2003, GAM worked until 2013 as an informal working group. It joined institutional and individual members, museums and museum professionals, and built a strong reputation as a serious and, in certain aspects, innovative group, whose work was valued and respected in the museum sector.
In May 2013, GAM – Group for Access to Museums, the informal working group, gave way to Access Culture, the Cultural Association.