In Austria, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been in force since 26 October 2008. It must be taken into account in legislation and enforcement (administration and jurisdiction). According to a microcensus survey conducted by STATISTIK AUSTRIA on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2015, 18.4% of the population in Austria aged 15 and over have a permanent disability. That is a projected approximately 1.3 million people.
At federal level, the Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection is responsible for coordinating disability issues. However, many areas that are important for people with disabilities come under the competence of the provinces. There are no specific cultural policy programmes for people with disabilities at any of the local authority levels.
Participation in cultural life is made possible above all by cultural institutions that improve accessibility or private initiatives that create provisions for people with disabilities, such as equalizent, a company with long-standing expertise in deafness, sign language and diversity management, or the Tanz.montage project, which offers dance and performance as fields of work in a workshop for people with disabilities in the Verein Balance. As part of the Tagesstruktur offer, people with artistic ambitions can engage in artistic work in groups and with the assistance of experienced artists. Verein Balance also supports people interested in dance and performance in finding offers in the scene, in getting to the rehearsal location and in structuring and organising their individual daily routine.
The association Ich Bin O.K. – Kultur- und Bildungsverein, a cultural and educational association of people with and without disabilities for cultural integration through extracurricular leisure activities, dance and theatre, aims to dismantle access barriers and improve participation in artistic and cultural life, as well as the inclusive theatre project Theater Delphin.
IVS Wien, the interest group of social service companies for people with disabilities, lobbies for these goals. In 2019, it initiated the #LebenNichtBehindern (let live, don’t obstruct) campaign to inform about the possible consequences of further savings in the care of people with disabilities in Vienna.
The City of Vienna offers a lot of information on offers, initiatives and activities in connection with disability, either self-organised or supported by institutions, on its internet portal under the keyword Leben mit Behinderung (living with disabilities). Other provinces also have information portals on this topic. For example, at various cultural events it is “first row with extra leg-room” for members of ÖZIV, an association for people with disabilities in Burgenland. Every year, they are invited to the operetta in Mörbisch and the theatre in Kobersdorf.