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Sam Bowen is the developer of the SEND in Museums website and an inclusion campaigner in museums. She has worked in the sector for over two decades as a museum curator, education manager and museum development officer. Sam is also a SEND mum, as her daughter has special educational needs and disability.
Her work has been shaped by taking her daughter to museums and galleries and experiencing firsthand what inaccessibility feels like. Her approach is pragmatic and optimistic. We can change museums, and we should! In 2021 Sam was awarded the Radical Changemaker Award in the Museums Change Lives campaign from the Museums Association for this work, and she will continue to help museums become SEND welcoming until we change the sector completely.
Who’s not in the Museum? Are they too “Special” for you?
Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities account for 8% of the UK child population, but so few museums welcome them. Their access and enjoyment to culture is protected by human rights and equality acts yet too few cultural venues adapt to their needs.
Join me to find out the importance of engaging with this hidden audience and how your museums can not only benefit them but benefit from them.
In a future where ‘welbeing’, cultural capital and placemaking are all terms museums are learning to embrace, SEND children, young people and their families play an important part in this jigsaw.