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Home / Blog / Universal Participation / Cultural Organizations: Join the UP Initiative

Cultural Organizations: Join the UP Initiative

Charles Baldwin, Program Officer

A group of people seated by a large, sunny window having a conversation
UP Designated organization Cape Cod Theatre Project hosting a StageTalk in July 2019.

As part of the Universal Participation (UP) Initiative, Mass Cultural Council supports a growing network of UP Designated organizations — organizations that fully embrace accessibility systems and ideals; offer continual training on diversity services; work with user/experts when addressing accessibility; and cultivate a culture of risk and innovation — through technical resources, best practices, innovative solutions, and professional development.

We invite cultural organizations that demonstrate these inclusive practices to apply for an UP Designation by Dec. 7, 2020.

Through the principles of Universal Design, organizations with UP Designation activate a community of practice and share the responsibility for barrier removal across the cultural sector. Authentic engagement policies give agency to marginalized voices, generate new relationships, develop creative work pipelines, and create integrated experiences.

The UP Designation is a badge of distinction. It looks at an organization’s distribution of power, leadership pipelines, sector activation, and civic responsibilities.

While the UP Initiative does not provide a monetary award upon designation, additional opportunities are available to organizations with an UP Designation:

  • Tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience from the professionals within the UP Initiative.
  • Participate in the Innovation Learning Network (ILN) workshops, expediting staff awareness, and training.
  • Apply for a grant to support access through the UP Innovation Fund.
  • Apply for a UP Professional Development Grant to receive a stipend to attend the Kennedy Center LEAD Conference.
  • Receive nominations for Mass Cultural Council’s biannual UP Award. The UP Award is both a badge of distinction and a monetary award.

Learn More


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