Name of the practice: 13m2 Gallery
Organisation: Vocational Training Center MARGARITA
Description of the organisation: MARGARITA is a specialized center for vocational training and vocational rehabilitation for people with intellectual disabilities. It offers services to nearly 100 students, who all have the chance to participate in recreational, cultural and educational activities. Services provided by MARGARITA are: Education and specialised vocational training, Supported Employment, Supported Decision Making, Supported Living, Art & Culture, Environment, Technology, Parallel Support Services.
Year of initiation: 2018
Funding: EU programs, National funds, Sponsorships, Sales
Link to UNCRPD: Article 30 – Participation in cultural life, recreation and leisure, Article 27 – Work and employment
Description of practice: The 13m2 Gallery is not only a gallery. It is a space of training for people with intellectual disabilities and acts as the first step before they enter the labour market. Beneficiaries who wish to find a job can join 13m2’s team on a weekly basis for 4–5 hour trainings. Training sessions focus on skill strengthening and self-empowerment on topics including customer service, the use of cashiers and money exchange.
Support and training sessions are also provided to those who wish to develop their skills within artistic and cultural career paths, such as museum guides, exhibition facilitators and invigilators. In the future, 13m2 Gallery aims to support artists in creating their digital portfolios/CV’s and sharing them with art spaces, other artists, and curators to successfully place their art in exhibitions and galleries.
Problem targeted: People with disabilities are under-represented within the Arts and Culture sector workforce in all role types and levels of seniority, as well as within the creative industries workforce. Long-term unemployment is still of serious concern in Greece especially for young people with disabilities; according to the National Confederation of Disabled People (NCDP) in Greece, 60% of 25–29 year olds with a severe disability are currently unemployed. Few organisations, not only those related to the field of Arts & Culture, have policies which create improvements in the retention and recruitment of employees with disabilities.
Solution offered: The practice pushes for greater diversity in Greece. Diversity can act as a driver of innovation, increase financial performance, and act as a catalyst in creating a more positive and productive culture. Art is not just a medium of self-understanding and expression for the beneficiaries, but also supports the communication and the autonomy of people with intellectual disabilities. This practice looks to enhance the employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities as well as tackle the limited arts education and training opportunities. The model further highlights the need to tackle isolation among artists with disabilities and highlight success stories.
Impact generated by the practice:
Hiring persons with disabilities has several benefits. For the staff with disabilities, being employed can have a positive effect on their life through a greater degree of social inclusion, self-empowerment, skills recognition, and improvement of social behaviour. More specific to the field of arts and culture, interactions with other artists and self-expression through art can relieve stress and significantly decrease anxiety.
The practice aims to develop a train-the-trainer curriculum, in which artists with disabilities with already developed skills can train newcomers. In addition, the artists with or without disabilities, who exhibit their work at 13m2 Gallery sign a contract with MARGARITA. This contract ensures that a percentage of the income that derives from sales is invested in the development, growth, and continuation of the practice.
Sustainability of the practice:
The practice aims to achieve cultural and financial sustainability through established partnerships between employees and employers from the arts field such as cultural organisations, artists with and without disabilities, galleries, municipalities, regional authorities and private companies.
Gallery 13m2 is structured in a way that can adapt to both the needs of the future employee and the employer. This customizable practice can grow further and be integrated into the Employment Models of Service Providers in Greece and abroad. Moreover, it can meet the needs of cultural institutions by providing Supported Employment Services.
Contact Information:Eva Dermitzaki, Project Manager at Arts Department