Starting from Zero was a creative research project which investigated disabled artists and cultural workers’ access to culture throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Over the course of several months in 2021 and 2022 we invited artists and cultural workers with disabilities to take an anonymous survey. To those of you who participated THANK YOU!

The results of the survey can be experienced in multiple ways.

You may view and download written analysis of the survey here (link).

You may listen to and read a text-based audio play inspired by responses to the survey here (link).

You may view and download poster images inspired by quotes from the survey here (link).

Presented as a creative intervention in the form of posters displayed throughout Berlin, we hope these images will encourage continued dialogue and exchange around access to culture.

Five vertically oriented rectangular images, at the bottom of each image flanked by various project logos the text says “Starting from Zero: A creative research project by Berlinklusion investigating disabled artists and cultural workers access to culture throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The images from left to right: 

Image 1 depicts 4 large circles floating in a white background, 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom each with a speaking mouth inside. In between the 2 sets of circles is the quote “All the lip service: Isn’t a person with a disability also normal?”

Image 2 depicts a black rectangular screen shot of a video conference with the video and sound turned off and the words NO NAME in white in the center of the screen. The image of the screen floats on a yellow background and is framed by the quote “As an autistic person, I’m happy about the adjustable volume and the off button.”

Image 3 depicts 4 large circles 2 on top and 2 below floating on a white background. The top left circle shows an ear, the top right circle is black with the words “The other senses” in white inside. The bottom left circle is black with the words “are omitted” in white inside and the bottom right circle shows an eye.

Image 4 depicts a lawn bisected diagonally by a see-saw with red seats. At the top of the see-saw is the quote “I can work from home.” At the bottom of the see-saw is the quote “When an online event is over, you close your laptop and you are alone.”

Image 5 depicts a multicolored grid of 6 squares. The colors range from light blue to dark blue and yellow to gold. The squares are each filled with either a metronome or a round metal kitchen timer. In each square the time is in a different position. In between each pair of squares is a line of text in white which says “Crip time = Flexibility”, “Crip time = Asychronicity”, “Crip time = The Freedom to Time Travel”.


If you find a Starting From Zero poster in Berlin, snap a picture of it! Include yourself in the image! And feel free to add a statement of your own. You are welcome to share it with us via email (link). We will periodically post responses to our social media channels.

We don’t think this conversation is over!

Decisions about degrees of access are political- they create borders and boundaries that determine who is in and who is out, limiting both the production and consumption of knowledge.

Many people have rejected the idea that the end of the pandemic means a “return to normal” but instead, see it is an opportunity to change our cultural sector.

We invite you to continue responding (in images or words) to the following questions from our survey. Share your responses with us via email (link) and we will periodically post them to our social media channels.

Three squares in a row. The left square shows an open hand, palm up, in a blue and grey circle inside a red square, in the center of the palm is a white circle of light. The center square shows a black plus sign on top of layers of colored semi-translucent paper in red, purple, white and dove grey. The right square shows white pieces of torn paper scattered on a sky blue square.

What cultural shifts have you noticed as a result of the pandemic?

We would like to know:

If we are starting from zero, what kind of future do we want to build.

What useful things do we already have and what needs to change.

How can we use what we have experienced during the pandemic to inform and expand the collective potential of culture so that it includes artists and cultural workers with disabilities.

What should we keep? What should we add? What should we throw away?