Arts & Disability Ireland’s Executive Director Pádraig Naughton recently received a lifetime achievement award in arts and accessibility at the Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Awards.
The Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership was presented during the 20th Annual Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference, August 1-5, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Created in 2004 to recognise a lifetime of achievement in arts and accessibility, LEAD Awards include awards for Emerging Leaders, Community Assets and Excellence in Accessibility Leadership.
The 2022 recipients for the Awards for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership were:
• Pádraig Naughton, Executive Director, Arts & Disability Ireland
• Kim Charlson, the Executive Director, Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library
• Lisa Carling, Director of Accessibility Programs, Theatre Development Fund (TDF)
• Sarah Corrin, Arts Grant Director, Raleigh Arts
With these awards, LEAD recognises and honours the work of colleagues in the field of arts, culture and disability. They remind us that it is possible to achieve positive sustained change by action and deed at the local, regional and national levels.
Pádraig has a long history working with the Kennedy Center, presenting at LEAD and was co-opted to the VSA Affiliate Council in 2013 and elected Chair in 2015. During his tenure, he guided this global network of Affiliates from 37 US states and 50 countries to transition to an open international membership of arts and disability organisations, which since 2019 has been managed by the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
In 2015, Pádraig was awarded the VSA Affiliate Network Award for Dedication to Service, in honour of 10 year’s service to Arts & Disability Ireland (Irish VSA Affiliate).
It was also through his hard work and relationship building with the Kennedy Center, LEAD and VSA that the From Access to Inclusion: an arts and culture summit came about in 2021.
The Kennedy Center’s LEAD Awards recognise outstanding arts administrators and cultural arts organisations whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility. The goal in granting these awards is to increases awareness and focus on the importance of accessibility in artistic venues, cultural institutions and natural history settings.
Presented annually, the LEAD Conference brings experienced and new professionals together to explore practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments. For information about registration and schedule please visit the LEAD Conference website and the Kennedy Center website.
As an integral part of the Kennedy Center’s Access/VSA International Network, the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) programme advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities in arts and culture. With a focus on expanding the breadth and scope of accessible programming. LEAD provides an opportunity for professionals in the field to develop best practice and resources, engage in conversations with colleagues and experts from around the world and learn practical methods for designing inclusive arts experiences for everyone.