BOP Barriers: A Youths Arts Provision Development project

(Jump to History of Barriers)

In our 25th year, BOP is embarking on an exciting project to develop ongoing training and continuing professional development (CPD) for the Youth Arts sector. This work is underpinned by our report Barriers to Access (2016) and the Barriers sector engagement event.

BOP is inviting Youth Arts providers who focus their work on performance – youth theatres, drama clubs, etc – to apply to take part in training and development that will support up to four groups or organisations between May and October 2018.  

This work is in direct response to three prioritised actions identified by our sector event in November 2016.

  1. Establish young person led resource to advise sector (in 2017 BOP established its Youth Arts Consultants Project in response to this)
  2. Establish organisational level network
  3. Form resource to provide CPD and sector training

(you can read about all the actions identified on the day here)

We are using this call out and the subsequent project to provide action research specifically into how best to respond to action 3 above.

Applications are invited from groups providing performance related opportunities to young people that would like to examine their approaches to access and equality and who are looking to diversify the people they work with by addressing barriers young disabled people may experience in accessing activity.

What BOP will provide:

  • Disability Equality and action planning training to support you to identify areas for development and to identify actions to mitigate barriers.  For instance, providing travel to auditions or try outs, creating accessible flyers.
  • £400 money in cash – to meet the costs or some of the costs involved in mitigating barriers that are identified during BOP training.
  • Ongoing remote support to answer questions and practical concerns as and when they arise
  • We will also support the involvement of our Youth Arts Consultants (link to page)

What you will be expected to do:

  • Support all key staff and at least one board or committee member to attend and fully participate in training
  • Work with us to identify the actions you need to take to address barriers or issues you identify during training
  • Evidence the use of seed funding to mitigate barriers.
  • Communicate clearly with BOP and take part in evaluation

When will this work take place?

    • Launch – April
    • Applications – end April
    • Training – May to June – a half day session
  • Ongoing support / your activity
  • October – evaluation

Who can apply:

Applications are invited from:

  • Organisations or groups providing performance related opportunities to young people
  • Organisations or groups that work with children or young people
  • Organisations or groups based in Scotland

How to apply:

  • Please complete the application form found here
  • This asks you to explain why you would like our support and what impact you imagine it may have.
  • The deadline is Friday 04 May at 5pm
  • If the form at the link above is not accessible to you please contact us on 0141 552 1725 or

2017 update

BOP consulted with attendees of our 2016 event (see below) and other partners about how we address actions from the day. You can look at our current plans in the below document.

We are interested to hear from anyone who would like to input. What’s the next step? We will be putting a call out for involvement from young disabled people and the sector in June.

​Barriers Follow Up Work

History of the Project

In 2016 BOP researched the barriers faced by young disabled and D/deaf people in accessing Scottish youth arts provision. Funded by the Time to Shine National Youth Arts Strategy for Scotland, the research was conducted by Dr. Matson Lawrence in conjunction with Birds of Paradise Theatre Company. The work resulted in a report that outlines the research that investigated the barriers faced by young disabled and D/deaf people in accessing Scottish youth arts provision.

The research found that young disabled and D/deaf people face multiple and intersecting barriers to accessing arts provision.

Five main barriers were identified:

  1. Finding suitable arts provision;
  2. Availability of access information;
  3. Lack of provision for access and support;
  4. Travel, transport and location; and
  5. Attitudes and awareness of arts providers.

The research identified five key strategies to address these barriers:

  1. Provision specifically for young disabled and D/deaf people;
  2. Centralised information about arts opportunities;
  3. Front Door to Stage Door Access provision;
  4. Connections built with disabled and D/deaf communities across Scotland; and
  5. Education and awareness for arts providers.

Download the full report as a PDF:  ​ Barriers to Access
Download the full report as an accessible Word doc:   Barriers to Access
Download a Plain English Summary of the report – for some people who may have a learning disability or who don’t speak English as their primary language:  ​ Plain English Summary

Barriers Event – Setting Actions

To launch the Barriers report, BOP held an event in Glasgow in December 2016 and invited representatives from arts organisations who have activity that cater to young people and young disabled people who have an interest in accessing youth arts provision.

This event was designed to open up discussion around the report and also to work collaboratively to set clear actions that should be taken to address the barriers and findings within the the report as well as the barriers experienced and identified by people attending the event.  Together we identified 8 Actions and these can be found in the Action Points document below.  These Actions were developed and then prioritised by everyone at the event (you can read about the event in the Reflections doc below).

BOP are in the process of planning how they can address the top three actions:


We are doing this by developing project ideas and talking to partners.

If you would like to ask us anything about this work or get involved please get in touch.

Below is some of the material that came out of the discussions that were held on that day.

  • 8 Actions. This document is a list of 8 Actions that should be taken to address the identified barriers as devised by the people who attended the Barriers Event. Each action has a number of subheadings that were worked through to think about how that action could be achieved
    ​ Barriers Actions
  • Transcript of the event. This document is a transcript of almost all of the words spoken at the entire event from the Electronic Notetaker in attendance
    ​ Barriers Event Transcript
  • A Reflection. This document is a reflection on the Barriers Event, written by disabled artist Caroline Bowditch, who took part in the day as an external evaluator
    ​ Barriers Event – A Reflection
  • Current Good Practice. This document is a list of examples of good practice gathered prior to the event and from suggestions by those at the event.  It has been arranged to fit under the five strategies identified in the report
    ​ Current Good Practice
  • List of attendees. This document is a list of people who attended the Barriers event and also gives the organisation they work for, if applicable, and contact email if shared
    ​ Attendees at Barriers Event


  • Toolkit. This document is a checklist of actions organisations and individuals should think about when planning events to make sure they are making events accessible as possible – this has been created from learning and feedback from the event and in consultation with some attendees
    ​ Accessible Tool Kit