CDS strives to cultivate an inclusive atmosphere, creating professional, accessible, ethical, and productive work settings where all artists can thrive. You can read more about the CDS Artist Community’s values in our Community Culture Document.

We acknowledge the presence of structural barriers, particularly for disabled, neurodivergent artists, and artists living with long-term health conditions. We understand that dismantling these barriers shouldn’t be the responsibility of marginalised individuals or groups.

CDS therefore actively commits to integrating inclusive practices and accessibility into our working. The below commitments will continue to be developed as we work more deeply with disabled artists in the community. This work informs our longer-term strategy to promote anti-ableist practice in the sector, led by the Artist Committee.

We take seriously the access needs of artists, and commit to removing barriers to access. Where this is not possible we will be transparent and open about our limitations. If you would like to talk to us about your access needs, please contact Frances Morgan (Artist Community Producer): 


Commitments to supporting disabled and neurodivergent artists, and artists living with long-term health conditions


  • CDS staff will always make time available to talk about your access needs.
  • We build in frequent breaks into all of our events, and take into consideration people’s different learning styles and needs.
  • We commit to making application processes as simple and non-time-consuming as we can.
  • For application processes we offer audio and easy read versions.
  • When asking for input via forms or surveys we offer 1-1 support for those who need it.
  • Our web content includes image descriptions & accessible colour schemes where possible.


  • We invest in leadership from disabled and neurodivergent artists through our paid Artist Committee, a group of five artists who meet for a full day each month. They work with staff and trustees as representatives of their communities.
  • To align with our ambition of promoting anti-ableist practice in the sector, we commit to increasing disabled/ neurodiverse representation on our board of trustees to at least 50% by the end of 2024.
  • As an organisation that is committed to supporting artists who experience ableism, we recognise the importance of reflecting these experiences in our staff team and freelancers. It is a priority to work towards a team that reflects the diversity of our artistic and local communities.

Building Accessibility

  • Our imperfect home for the past 40 years has been on the second floor of a warehouse building, accessed by a staircase only. 
  • Activator meetings will take place on site at CDS, which means they are regrettably inaccessible to wheelchair users and those for whom stairs are a barrier.
  • We’re working in partnership with Poplar Union, Ugly Duck, Lab13 and Old Diorama Arts Centre to enable us to offer accessible space, available to disabled artists in the short term whilst CDS still remains an inaccessible space.
  • We encourage artists with mobility issues to join the community as Collaborators. We commit to ensuring Collaborator meetings are accessible to all in the community – either offsite, or online.
  • Whenever we gather at CDS or elsewhere, we offer a quiet space for those who need it.
  • We are fighting for a redevelopment on our site that would create lift-access, but we are currently at the early stages of a several-years-long process: 
    • By April 2024 we will publish a timeline on the progress we are making to secure a building redevelopment, to make our building wheelchair accessible.  
    • By March 2025, should we not have secured the permission needed to progress development, we will consider what securing new premises for CDS to operate from.  


  • All of our application selection processes prioritise disabled and neurodivergent artists.
  • We resource community-building events hosted by and for disabled and neurodivergent artists every two months. These will take place offsite in venues that have ground-level access, open to artists both inside and outside our community.
  • We work with partners to support artists in our community to find accessible spaces to run their projects, to ensure they can work with a range of disabled artists. This is on a case-by-case basis.
  • Our budgets include dedicated funds to contribute towards access costs. 
  • We can pay for taxis to attend Activator Gatherings for all who need them.
  • We commit to offering different options for opportunities that have accessibility in mind, for example, residencies that can be spread out over a longer period of time, or take place at home.

Developed by CDS Staff with input from the CDS Artist Committee: Alice Tatge, Claudia Palazzo, Jose Funnell, Valerie Ebuwa, and Zjana Muraro. Updated March 2024.