Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

An art exhibition making art accessible in very different ways

Fundación ONCE is a Spanish foundation established in Madrid in 1988 that is working towards the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. In 2006 it initiated the Fundación ONCE International Contemporary Art Biennale – an inclusive art exhibition recognizing the work of artists with disabilities and presenting them in an accessible way. The Biennale, which attracted 185,000 visitors in 2016, shows different forms of artistic expressions that includes cinema, theatre, dance, and music as well as fine arts. It also offers art related side activities such as roundtable discussions, and workshops.

“Thanks to technology, people with disabilities can access art under equal conditions, both as creators and as consumers who enjoy the creations of other people.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:An art exhibition making art accessible in very different ways
Organisation:Fundación ONCE
of Implementation


  • 2014: 56 per cent of participating artists had disabilities, and the event was attended by 242,000 visitors.
  • 2016: 51 per cent of participating artists had disabilities, and the event was attended by 185,000 visitors.


Many forms of art do not follow a Universal Design approach and thus limit the ability of persons with disabilities to enjoy culture under equal conditions. Moreover, many artists with disabilities often face social exclusion.


The Biennale follows a comprehensive approach, meeting the needs of both artists and visitors with and without disabilities who would like to enjoy accessible culture. With the help of the exhibition, Fundación ONCE strives to include artists in the art market, as well as make art work accessible for all people regardless of their abilities.
Every biennial focuses on another topic. After having featured the themes “the body,” “landscapes,” and “language” in past years, the 2016 exhibition chose “technology in the arts” as its theme. Visitors could experience performing and fine arts within a multi-sensory, interactive space, for example: Sun Kim, a deaf artist who captures sound using the only means she can: through its materiality, its movements and from what the objects leave on its wake. She invites visitors to experience an expanded listening, sound pieces that are made to be perceived not only with the ears but also with the eyes.
A group of visitors in an art exibition on shoes attached to cables.
Technology was used as a medium for artistic expression as well as support for accessing culture by visitors with disabilities. In addition, information was provided in a variety of formats, including audio, sign language, Braille, and ‘beep cons’ – a beacon-based navigation system that helps blind people find their way in indoor spaces.


Currently, Fundación ONCE is looking for further alliances and European partners. Due to the easy replicability of the project, the accessible art exhibition can be hosted in virtually any city or country.
A group of visitorrs in an art exibihition looking at black and white artwork.Since the start of the exhibition the number of contributors, sponsors, and members who are part of the Committee of Honour, chaired by the Spanish Royal Family, has been increasing, and more public bodies as well as Spain’s contemporary art museums have been endorsing the project.

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