Dyspraxic Me is a group of young Dyspraxic people from 16 to 25 lead by Jess Starns. Jess is running a Saturday workshop with the Money Charity on how attendees can control their finances, tackle any debt or concerns they may have to support and they can achieve future goals. Key outcomes:
Supporting attendees with any money concerns they have.
Understanding budgeting and prioritizing their spending.
Tackling debt and choosing financial products wisely.
The Money Charity, the UK’s financial capability charity, has a wealth of experience and expertise delivering financial wellbeing workshops to community organisations. Our workshops are designed to get people together and start an honest conversation about our money. By doing so, we help people better understand their attitudes to money, learn how to budget and prioritise their spending, tackle debt, choose financial products wisely and work towards achieving their future goals. We also offer guidance and signposting to credible, impartial, free support. Our high-quality training aims to empower people with the skills, attitudes, knowledge and behaviours they need to take control of their finances and manage their money well throughout their lives.
“I went into the course thinking I was terrible with money. I felt embarrassed that I frequently ran out of money…even though I would monitor my account…I was still somehow losing track and ending up short.
Fast forward four months and things couldn’t be more different. I have a budget which I stick to every month and monitor all my outgoings – AND I ENJOY IT!”
We have experience working with a diverse range of people, cultures and capabilities, are empathetic and supportive aiming to foster confidence in all who attend. We hope to bring an ultimately positive message: that everyone can be in control of their finances and develop a positive relationship with money. We believe that means people will be happier and less likely to suffer from the stress and anxiety caused by money worries.Please book via the Eventbrite link.
2018 has been another busy year for DCN in raising the profile of inclusive practice and social barriers to engaging with cultural heritage. We work to raise the profile and creating opportunities to collaborate and sharing knowledge through strategy, signposting and low-cost practice. This has included delivering talks at events, developing working relationships across sectors, mentoring, signposting and workshops.
We have supported reports for inclusive practice in the workplace including AchieveAbility’s Neurodiverse Voices: Opening the Doors to Employment https://www.achieveability.org.uk/files/1518955206/wac-report_2017_interactive-2.pdf as well as attended the report launch of the Westminster Commission on Autism report on ‘fake therapies for autism’ and appeared on Ambitious about Autism Jack Welch’s podcast Episode 11: Autism in Museums with Claire Madge and Mark Barrett. This link directs to all episodes to Ambitious about Autism podcasts https://bit.ly/2Iz3tQk
DCN has also appeared in ‘I Am Dyslexic’ a crowd-funded film on personal narratives from dyslexic adults on their own journeys through their careers to school-aged children Here is the link: https://youtu.be/ETlFiOjE8rI
We have also been part of talks in relation to the Government Digital Service on website accessibility link for resources and tools here https://bit.ly/2QrTPne and have attended London Accessibility Meet up on inclusive design in technology. We continue to have good relationships with organisations and forums in relation to inclusive technology in particular open source software and tools.
We’ve spoken at a number of events about our work including Cambridge and Oxford Universities, MAP conference on language on the importance of cross-sectoral, intersectional practice and strategy in relation to inclusive practice. We have also spoken at conferences including ACAS regarding inclusive practice in the workplace. We have also delivered workshops for a number of agencies including West Midlands Museum Development Annual Conference ‘Solve to Evolve’ and Cultural Inclusion Conference by Every Child Should.
We’ve delivered workshops for West Midlands Museum Development conference and Cultural Inclusion conference, Access for All Areas (Shared Care Scotland) in Scotland on barriers to text and practical advice in reducing barriers to engagement.
We’ve also launched our first informal meet up for Disability Confident scheme in partnership with the Natural History Museum where we had representatives from the V&A, DDCMS, Tate and as well as us and NHM.
Our next event is on the topic of Accessible and Changing Places toilets on 18 January, where we will host with Tate Modern and will have talks and discussions in respect to design, function and need of accessible and Changing Places toilets with families and individuals who as part of the 250,000 who need them. Link for tickets are here: https://bit.ly/2SB0Ym7
During 2018 we have supported museums of all budgets in encouraging and developing community consultation groups with respect to access strategy and development.
We are part of a working group in relation to inclusive practice in the workplace as well as our own Neurodiverse Museum Professionals Network and Disabled Staff Network and have been in discussions with relevant policyholders, organisations and champions.
DCN is developing projects collaborating with relevant partners for 2019 with respect to service provision and workforce.
We will be regularly updating our website with free resources, information and case studies in 2019. We will also be sharing some exciting news in 2019.
If you are interested in our work and would like to be involved, do email us via email@example.com and keep regularly updated by following @museumDCN
Nothing About Us Without Us is aco-produced exhibition created with disability groups, campaigners and individuals to capture their stories and re-examine how the history of disabled people’s activism is presented.
Drop in, explore the exhibition and meet some of the activists and campaigners that helped to put it together.
There is also a chance to make your own protest badge or placard and add to a collaborative banner in a printing workshop with Venture Arts.
Activities suitable for age 5+ but all ages welcome.
Manchester Peoples History Museum have worked with disability groups, campaigners and individuals to capture their stories and re-examine how the history of disabled people’s activism is presented.
This exhibition which is open now to Sunday 6 January is the first stage of a long-term project which looks at the representation of disabled people.
Staff at the Manchester Peoples History Museum are encouraging visitors, groups and campaigners to let them know if they have any comments, objects or stories you would like to share to help tell this story.
The second stage of the exhibition will take place at the People’s History Museum between 5 April 2019 – 5 May 2019.
There will be a Nothing About Us Without Usactivity day on Saturday 5 January 2019. Information on this activity day is here: https://bit.ly/2QNBAxb
If anyone is interested in being involved please get in contact with our Exhibitions Officer by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0161 8389190.
If you are an organisation which is funded by Government (National, Local Government), it is expected that your website should reach WCAG 2.1 AA or European Equivalent EN 301 549.
The Government Digital Service have provided resources and sharing opportunities to support organisations to do this. These resources have links to meet ups and information, which you can find on this post. We at DCN are also here to support you in setting up user groups and help you create and implement your access into your organisation.
Government Digital Service: What does Accessibility Mean?
Ok, how long have I got?
There are key dates to consider in relation to this law: You, as an organisation need to comply from 23 September 2019. All existing public sector websites (this includes any externally funded community projects by a Government funded i.e. public sector organisation) by 22 September 2020. All mobile applications by 22 June 2021.
Deadline to comply with the regulations
New public sector websites (published after 22 September 2018)
Using podcasts? Each podcast should have a script, remember to transcribe this as part of your online offer. There is also new software that transcribes audio information which is available online. Ensure to check for accuracy.
Resources: Government Resources for Accessibility
Join the government accessibility google group
Over 800 civil servants with an interest in accessibility from over 50 government departments, agencies and organisations:
Museums and Heritage Organisations, have you, or are you, developing inclusive practice in your museum, art gallery or heritage organisation in 2018? Have you increased access or inclusive practice in your organisation in 2018? Tell us about it on 3rd December 2018.
Join us and colleagues across the world to mark the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2018. It’s now a globally recognised date to celebrate and empower disabled people. It’s time to be part of the #PurpleLightUp powered by our colleagues at PurpleSpace, to raise and rally awareness for a global call to action.
Why does this matter?
Over 1 billion people in the world have some form of disability, that’s 1 in 7. It can affect any of us at any time in our lives. In a growing global movement, over 160 countries have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But there’s still more to be done. True inclusion comes from a world that accepts all human difference, where people demand their voices to be heard.
What can you do?
Tell us at the Disability Co-operative Network (@museumDCN) what you have done in recognition of the importance of inclusive practice in Heritage by heading over to the #PurpleLightUp pledge page and let us (via email@example.com) and PurpleSpace know you are taking part on 3rd December and allows us to give you a roll call shout out on the website.
Mark this event by:
Wearing purple in your organisation.
Join our friends by lighting your building purple.
Display purple bunting in your museum café or shop.
If you are serving cakes or food – go purple with icing.
Use the hashtag #PurpleLightUp on social media on 3rd December to tell us at @museumDCN about what you organisation is doing and what you are doing as an organisation to be more inclusive.
Jess Starns, founder of ‘Dyspraxic Me’ was announced as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK at a reception at the South Bank Centre last night (Wednesday 17 October).
The Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. More than 700 nominations were received for the 100 places. The Disability Power 100 List is compiled by an independent judging panel, chaired by Kate Nash OBE. Kate is the world’s leading authority in ‘Networkology’ – the science behind the growth of workplace networks and resource groups. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people. In 2013 she was appointed Ambassador to Disability Rights UK.
Jess set up Dyspraxic Me in 2013 as she couldn’t find any suitable support for young adults with dyspraxia offered practical help to develop skills – so she created the resource that she needed.
In November 2013 Jess received support from Fixers (ITV CSR programme) to make a resource book for other young adults with dyspraxia so they could set up their own support networks. Since then Jess has organised almost monthly workshops in London with practical and fun activities. Attendees can meet other people with dyspraxia and learn a wide variety of skills including cooking, sports, ballet, vlogging, and training to develop assertiveness and social skills.
Jess organises every aspect of the workshops from booking venues and finding experts to deliver the sessions, to updating the website, evaluating the events, and managing the budgets. Jess fundraises and has raised over £13,000 so far. She also organises a yearly Dyspraxia Awareness Week in October, and in November last year 2017 ‘Dyspraxic Me’ became a registered charity. Her work has already been recognised by Downing Street with a Points of Light Award.
Jess works at the British Museum as the Youth Volunteer Coordinator and is passionate about making museums inclusive. She is currently combining these interests with her masters degree in Inclusive Arts Practice. For her MA she’s researching how we interpret and curate the history of labelling people with specific learning difficulties (neurodiversity)
Jess, said “You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know how to find out the answer.”
Nick Bell, Interim Chief Executive of Shaw Trust – a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK and internationally, said: “Congratulations to Jess Starns. The judges were beyond impressed by the standard of nominations but selected the most influential people who are proving that disability or impairment is not a barrier to success. One of our aims for the Disability Power 100 list is to demonstrate to young people that they can achieve their ambitions. At Shaw Trust we work with government, local authorities and employers to support people overcome barriers which hold them back from achieving their potential.”
The Hepworth Wakefield was initially contacted by Changing Places campaigner Alison Beevers in 2016, who visited with her family to talk to us about Changing Places, and the difference it can make for families like hers. We explored installing a Changing Places toilet, but at the time were unable to find the funds to do the work. In 2017, Alison got back in touch, and the Senior Management Team agreed to make a case to our Board to invest in a facility using the gallery’s reserves. The Board approved the investment in Autumn 2017.
We worked with Astor Bannerman to identify the best space for the facility, deciding to convert an existing female toilet in the Clore Learning Studios, and turn the neighbouring male toilet into a unisex facility. We undertook consultation with users, particularly schools, to ensure that this would be suitable for them, and they were incredibly positive about the changes. Astor Bannerman provided the changing bed, hoist and privacy screen, and we worked with a local contractor to make the changes. We were delighted to open the facility on 10 May 2018, which coincided with Changing Places Looathon on 11 May.
The Changing Places toilet is secured with a RADAR key. We explored several options, including open access, however we decided that for our venue, a RADAR key would be the best choice. Users that we consulted with advised that they tend to have their own key that they can use, and we felt that this would help provide a sense of independence. We also have a RADAR key available from our Welcome Desk, should any users not have their own.
The housekeeping team carry out regular checks of the Changing Places toilet alongside all our toilets to ensure that there are sufficient supplies, and that all the equipment is working correctly. The Visitor Experience team check that the hoist is back in the charging position overnight. These checks have been incorporated easily and quickly into our procedures, and the impact on staff has been minimal.
The impact on visitors has been huge. We have been able to welcome visitors who may not have otherwise visited the gallery, and they have been able to stay for as long as they wish. All our staff are really invested in the Changing Places toilet, seeing it is a key facility as we strive to be accessible for all, and the positive feedback we’ve received has reinforced how important this is:
@bethfoden1 – Brilliant day out this weekend @HepworthGallery who really GET #inclusion #accessforall @CP_Consortium Thank you for making our treat for Daddy possible
@bethfoden1 – @HepworthGallery is what ALL museums and galleries should be like!
@PeterFoden – Free, family-friendly, noisy, alive, full of connectivities, and totally accessible
Stallholder from one of our fairs – “Congrats on your changing places toilet by the way- my brother needs to use one and I was absolutely delighted to see you’ve installed one – honestly, it’s a lifesaver for wheelchair users and their families!”
When you visit www.musedcn.org.uk, we use Google Analytics to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor patterns. We use this information to understand how visitors use our website. Information is processed in a way that does not identify anyone. We do not make any attempt nor allow Google to find out the identities of visitors using our website.
As part of our events, networks and registration we will ask for your consent to share your email address with us to keep you updated with additional information in relation to access and inclusion in the Heritage Sector. We will check with you from time to time that you are happy and satisfied with this process.
We do not rent or trade email lists with other businesses or organisations. We do not use a third party provider such as MailChimp.
We do not share any information relating to our members of both our Neurodiverse Museum Professionals Group or Disabled Museum Professional Group with any organisation or business without the express consent of the member.
If you wish to go to an event organised and/or co-hosted by DCN, we use online booking facilities such as Eventbrite to enable us to run our events and support us in our understanding of who and what organisations are attracted to our events. We do not share your information with any business or organisation without your consent.
You are entitled to view, amend or delete the personal information that we hold. Please email your request to Becki Morris, Data Protection Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org
This policy was published on 18 September 2018. We will review this policy annually as from this date, or if we are aware of any changes in policy to EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Too often, considering access has been just a tick-box exercise rather than a creative driver for design. This symposium will enable participants to explore how the experience and expertise of disabled people can be a force for innovation within the architectural design process. A series of presentations about specific projects and design processes will highlight how collaborating with people who have personal experience of disability can enhance and enrich architectural design, both for practitioners during the design process and for users of the resulting buildings and spaces. The day is specifically geared towards architectural students and practitioners, as well as designers and design educators, but all are welcome.
Speakers include Dr Jos Boys, co-founder of The Dis/Ordinary Architecture Project, Dr Graham Pullin, author of the manifesto Design Meets Disability (MIT, 2009), Mecanoo Architects and Chambers McMillan Architects.
We provide BSL interpretation, Speech to Text and this venue is wheelchair accessible. If you have any other access requirements please let us know. Owing to the capacity of the venue, there are only 6 places for wheelchair users: they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To confirm availability please call 0207 942 2200.
This symposium accompanies the display Without Walls: Disability and Innovation in Building Design (V&A, Gallery 127 and 128A until 21 October 2018). In collaboration with Accentuate, History of Place (www.historyof.place). Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Disability Co-operative Network held its first informal meet up on the topic of the Disability Confident scheme at the Natural History Museum on 6 September 2018.
The Disability Confident Scheme was launched in 2013 to replace the Two Ticks scheme for organisations to work towards inclusive practice to attract and retain talent for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.
Recently the Westminster Achieveability Commission report identified as part of their recommendations, that the Disability Confident scheme lacked profile and marketing. Therefore on 6 September 2018, DCN held an informal meet up at the Natural History Museum to discuss the Disability Confident scheme with DDCMS, Tate and Victoria and Albert Museums and fellow attendees.
This is the supportive material for people who could not attend the event and those who are interested in the Disability Confident Scheme and inclusive practice in the workforce. We will have a transcription and recording of the event shortly. Check twitter @museumDCN for further details.
This is an ongoing action which we welcome conversation, collaboration and action. Do get in touch with us via email@example.com or Direct Message @museumDCN
New Network launched at the first informal event
We have a new staff network for people who identify as disabled who work in the Heritage Sector. This membership is free and open to emerging professionals, students, voluntary and paid staff. If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Leigh or Becki via firstname.lastname@example.org
The aims of the group are:
Connecting people who identify as disabled and working (both paid and unpaid) in the museum/heritage sector.
The recognition of disabled talent within the heritage sector as a workforce.
Identification of key skills and training needed within the workforce to enable a diverse workforce such as flexible working, working within capacity and strategy.
Support employers and employees in creating safe spaces to talk.
Reduce risk of workplace bullying and illness due to poor working practice.
Working together for positive, practical change in the service delivery and workforce of the heritage sector.
Why Inclusive Practice matters? This is a great film on how inclusion is all of us.
How can my organisation work towards Disability Confident?
I Can Make It Project by Disability Rights UK A great film featuring Carrie Boyce who works for the Royal Society of Chemistry (non-profit making organisation) and how she manages her chronic health condition as well as work.
The Importance of Neurodiversity in the Workplace (CIPD)
Museum Professionals Neurodiverse Network: https://ndmuspgrp.ning.com/
Access to Work: Access to Work is a Central Government funded scheme to enable purchase of equipment and coaching for people with disabilities and neurodiversity in post.
Half of disabled working age adults (49 per cent) feel excluded from society 
Two in five (41 per cent) of working age disabled people don’t feel valued by society 
Less than half (42 per cent) think the UK is a good place for disabled people 
Scope launches Disability Gamechanger campaign calling on everyone to show support
Premier League team to wear Scope-branded shirts this weekend to highlight campaign
Disability charity Scope has launched a campaign for equality and is urging everyone to show their support after new research revealed half of disabled people feel excluded from society.
The findings have been published today in a report by Scope which reveals how undervalued and disconnected from society many disabled people feel. Based on Opinium polling of 2,000 working age disabled adults, the research reveals:
Two in five (41%) working age disabled people don’t feel valued by society 
Less than half (42 per cent) think the UK is a good place for disabled people 
Half of working age disabled adults (49 per cent) feel excluded from society because of their impairment or condition 
Further research carried out by BritainThinks for Scope identified five priority areas that need to be improved – public attitudes; employment; care, support and social connections; transport; and access to digital technology; 
The report contains five key recommendations to enable disabled people to have an equal chance to live the lives they choose:
Attitudes: The Government’s disability strategy group should have an explicit objective to improve attitudes and reduce prejudice towards disabled people
Work: Ensure disabled people can access specialist employment support on a voluntary basis, without it being a condition of receiving out-of-work benefits, and removing sanctions for disabled people.
Social care: Stabilise the existing system of support, social care must be reformed to meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people so that care and support better enables the ability to have a family life, work, engage with communities, and socialise. This can only happen if disabled people are involved at every stage of service design.
Public transport: Public transport systems need to be reformed to ensure that disabled passengers are treated fairly and equally. Alongside improvements to accessibility, disabled people should be able to travel without fear of negative attitudes from staff and other passengers and have access to straightforward routes for recourse if things go wrong.
Digital: Close the digital divide which exists today and ensure the next wave of digital innovation – what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution – includes disabled people as a core consumer group.
Scope is calling on everyone – businesses, politicians and the public – to become Disability Gamechangers and share what they are doing to create equality for disabled people. Anyone working to challenge stigma and negative attitudes is a Disability Gamechanger. Change requires action at all levels in society and everyone can play their part.
To mark the campaign launch, Scope’s partner Virgin Media has donated its multi-million pound shirt sponsorship of Southampton Football Club to Scope for Saturday’s match (August 25) against Leicester City FC. Instead of the usual Virgin Media logo, the home team will wear a kit sporting the Scope logo.
Scope has also released a 60-second film charting the story of equality and human rights movements across the decades to inspire everyone to join the campaign. By working with others to build on the rich history of the disability rights movement, Scope wants the next chapter of the story to be about making equality for disabled people a reality.
The video is narrated by the charity’s Patron, TV presenter and award-winning disability rights campaigner Sophie Morgan, who was paralysed from the chest down in a car crash aged 18.
Anna Bird, Executive Director of Policy and Research at disability charity Scope, said: “It’s a glaring injustice that half of disabled people feel excluded from our society. “In the past century, we’ve seen action lead to dramatic changes in our society, but there is still a long way to go until all disabled people have an equal chance to live the lives they choose, free from barriers and low expectations. “From poor attitudes to lack of focus from Government, and from being overlooked in the workplace to being humiliated on public transport, life for many disabled people is still much tougher than it needs to be. It’s time that changed.”This report and campaign are a call to action to anyone who supports disability equality. We’re urging everyone – Government, businesses, disabled people and non-disabled people – to become Disability Gamechangers and work together to achieve equality and fairness for disabled people.”
For more information please contact Laura Burnip in the Scope press office on 020 7619 7200 or email email@example.com
For out-of-hours press enquiries please call 0784 3467 948.
1-5. Opinium research
Scope commissioned Opinium to conduct 2,000 online interviews with UK working age adults with long-term impairments or conditions between May 18 and 30 2018. A quota sampling method was used and the survey was conducted online.
6. BritainThinks research
BritainThinks conducted ethnographic interviews, qualitative workshops and an online community with over 60 disabled adults living in England and Wales between January and May 2018. A wide range of different impairment types were represented throughout the research.
Notes to Editors:
We’re Scope, the disability equality charity. We won’t stop until we achieve a society where all disabled people enjoy equality and fairness. For more information go to www.scope.org.uk
Sensing Culture has been a three-year multi-partner project with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as the lead partner, and funded by £438,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with one mission at its heart – to remove the barriers that prevent blind and partially sighted people (BPS) from accessing their heritage.
It was born from an identified need within access organisations’, as well as the heritage sector at large, that more could and should be done to facilitate good museum experiences for people who experience sight loss.
Approximately 145,000 people use British Sign language (BSL) in the UK. Cultural venues and organisations have a range of audiences, including members of the Deaf Community. Therefore, we have included a ‘British Sign Language for Beginners’ class in our summer workshop programme to help us learn more about the language and how to use it. The workshop will take place at RBSA Gallery on Friday 17 August and will be led by Tanvir Ahmed, a Senior Campaigner for Action on Hearing Loss with years of experience in promoting BSL. Through his workshop, Tanvir will introduce key skills and signs that are useful in everyday interactions with members of the Deaf community, such as finger-spelling and common phrases.
RBSA Members and Associates, Friends, students, and professional contacts receive a discount – paying £20 instead of £30. To book your place, call us on 0121 236 4353 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Payments can be made by card, cash, or cheque. You are welcome to share this e-mail and offer with your contacts and students.
The external Access Advisory Group (AAG) at the Horniman Museum and Gardens has been running since 2007. In 2013 we re-recruited a Chair and twelve of the fourteen current members. The group name reflects access rather than disability as it aims to challenge barriers to access at the Horniman.
AAG benefits the Horniman significantly: prompting us to solve access issues in areas from signage campaigns to public programming, helping us ensure access is embedded in capital projects, discussing our access questions and sharing best practice/ pitfalls from members’ experiences of physical and intellectual access in other organisations. Members have joined us on interview panels and celebrated our good practice via social media.
AAG also benefits its members. Tincture of Museum, a group member, says, “Being a member of the [AAG] has… given me a sense of involvement and empowerment in museum decisions and exhibitions… [I]t has brought me into contact with other members of the panel and helped me appreciate… the range of barriers visitors can face. I really feel a part of the museum.”
The way you set up your group will be unique to your organisation but here are some points to consider:
Ensure your organisation is ready to act on the group’s advice
Establish awareness and buy-in for the group across your organisation. Set up an internal structure to ensure the group’s advice is useful, timely and acted on. Our Director: Collections Management & Special Projects is our internal champion who works with Learning and Exhibitions teams to identify issues the AAG should be consulted on. Advice from AAG is followed up by project leads and monitored by our quarterly internal Equality Action Group.
Ensure you have the resources to run the group long-term
Resources include: staff time to coordinate the group (AAG is administered by Community Learning and Exhibitions); expenses including payment for the Chair, lunch and refreshments, members’ travel, access support such as BSL interpreters; an accessible space for the group to meet; other benefits for members such as free access to paid exhibitions. We prioritise resources for AAG to meet 4 times per year.
Appoint a group Chair
Museum sector research shows it is best practice to recruit an external, disabled Chair to ensure impartiality and to benefit from their expertise and contacts. This is not essential and some museums chair access groups internally. We sent out a role description and simple application form to some of our access heroes and recruited Barry Ginley, Disability and Access Officer at the V&A.
We recruited local people with daily lived experience of disability who were interested in museums, world cultures and making museums more accessible physically and intellectually. Other museums focus on particular disabilities and you will have your own criteria. Your Chair can also help recruit members. We sent out simple application forms with the option to complete them over the phone or in person. We held the first meeting as an informal group interview for everyone to decide if it was for them.
Think about the timing of meetings (this can be discussed and amended at the first meeting). We schedule meetings to avoid members having to travel in the dark or in rush hour. Schedule meetings at useful points in project timelines (when you are able to provide concrete information but before binding decisions have been made).
Provide opportunities for all members to contribute fully
When recruiting members, find out their access requirements (including how they would like to receive information about the meeting and any extra support needed). This can be done by the Chair. We circulate all paperwork two weeks before each meeting. Keep your agenda to a maximum of four items and always include an AOB for members to share current projects, examples of best practice, etc. Use the first meeting or group interview to jointly create a short Group Agreement. This could include communication rules (we always raise our hand and say our name before speaking), and other rules to ensure everyone can contribute. Ask members if they are happy to be contacted individually or as a group for support between meetings and add their response to the Agreement.
Invite staff and external contractors to meetings
It is much more effective if staff members, designers, architects hear advice from the group directly. Prepare staff in advance by sending them the Group Agreement, highlighting any communication strategies and chat to them about any concerns they have.
Act on the group’s advice!
Act on advice or discuss why you haven’t. Tell the group when you have acted on their advice and its impact. This builds trust between the group and the museum which is vital to a productive relationship.
Evaluate the group on an ongoing basis. We are working on ways to make more staff aware of AAG as a useful source of advice and support and are trying to find the best method for small group working within AAG.