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Join us for the second stage of this co-produced exhibition which looks at the past, present and future of disabled people’s activism. PHM is working with groups, campaigners and individuals to capture their stories and re-examine how the museum presents the history of disabled people’s activism. A large print guide and Braille transcription will be available. Films are subtitled.
Visit the museum’s co-produced exhibition Nothing About Us Without Us, which explores the history of disabled people’s activism, and join current campaigners discussing disabled people and activism, and lessons from the past and looking forward to the future. Listen, watch or get involved in the conversation. This event will be BSL interpreted.
Free event. No booking required. Suitable for 11 years+
Part of PHM’s year long programme exploring the past, present and future of protest, marking 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre; a major event in Manchester’s history, and a defining moment for Britain’s democracy.
If you require further assistance to support your visit to the exhibition or the event please contact the museum by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org phoning 0161 838 9190. Access information about the museum is available on the museum website: phm.org.uk/visit/access/
People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER. The museum is open every day 10.00am – 5.00pm. Free entry.
I had the great privilege of
attending the Rethinking Disability Symposium at the Museum of Liverpool on 9th March 2018. This was organised by History of Place, an organisation that has
engaged in research into “the histories of eight locations associated with
D/deaf and disabled people” (HOP, 2018) in collaboration with Accentuate, an
arts-based organisation which claims that it “creates ground-breaking
opportunities for deaf and disabled people to participate and lead in the
cultural sector” (Accentuate, 2018). The purpose of the symposium was to enable
participants, all of whom were either working in arts organisations, or had an
interest in the arts and disability to learn more about the aspects that
require change in museums and galleries to ensure access and engagement for
individuals who identify as D/deaf or disabled.
It is often the case that the
representations of disability in the museum/gallery are not thought about by
those who are non-disabled. However, for me, as an individual who is registered
blind, along with studying for a PhD in art education and Visual Impairment (VI
henceforth), access to the museum/gallery space is hugely important.
Unfortunately, I often find myself lowering my own expectations of the
provision available to visitors with VI, since disability is not always seen as
an integral part of the museum/gallery. Instead, individuals with disabilities,
in this situation, are frequently relegated to the margins and are regarded as
an afterthought. In essence, this exclusion of individuals with disabilities
from accessing the museum/gallery can be aligned with the social model of
disability. Bolt (2005, p.539) succinctly explains that, “the Social Model of
Disability holds that persons are impaired for a number of reasons, but that it
is only by society that they are disabled”. Therefore, a lack of training and
awareness of the needs of those with disabilities, for the museum/gallery
staff, may be a contributory factor to visitors’ exclusion.
The afternoon began with an
introduction from Esther Fox, Director of Accentuate, who indicated that while
changes have taken place within the arts to include those who identify as
having a disability, there is still a long way to go until we truly gain
inclusive practice. Based upon statistical data, disabled people are most
represented in dance, but are least represented in music. This variation surprised
me, as I had previously considered the creative aspects of performance related
arts to be more liberal and open to a wide range of individuals’ needs. Fox
(2018) suggested that:
order to bring about change we have to believe that change can happen. We are
in an ambitious moment when we can bring about change in our cultural
However, it can often be
difficult to bring about change when the attitudes of the public remain rigid
towards the acceptance of those with any form of disability. This is based upon
the notion that the public often hold stereotypical views such as pity, fear or
shock. It is important that we begin to embrace all people to ensure a wider
reflection of people’s reality.
Jocelyn Dodd, the Director at
the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) at the University of
Leicester, gave the first talk – “Rethinking Disability”. This was based upon
her two-year action research project conducted ten years ago in 2008 with
Richard Sandell. The talk began by discussing the notion that disability hate
crime is on the increase – examples were provided from the media. As a result,
barriers to access and participation in society continue to exist. Therefore,
now more than ever, we need work such as this to take place around disability
and access. Dodd (2018) explained that there is:
scarcity of disability related narratives and representations in UK museums and
galleries. While there is a wealth of material displayed in museums and
galleries of/about disability, such individuals are often negatively portrayed
and as a result, disabled people are often seen as ‘freaks’.
This perspective needs to be
challenged so that individuals with disabilities can have access on a level
playing field to their non-disabled peers. The purpose of Dodd and Sandell, et
al’s (2008) research was to “challenge the ways in which museums/galleries think
about disability”. This research recognises legal frameworks, specifically the
Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and the Disability Equality Duty (2006)
where there is a legal imperative to include people with disabilities in the
museum/gallery. It was evident throughout this session that the legacy of this
has made those working within museums/galleries bolder, confident and more
experimental about ensuring those with disabilities are able to access such
environments. However, while there continues to exist a medicalised view of how
society portrays those with disabilities, change can never truly be
implemented. It is now vital that museums/galleries tell the stories of
disability that capture the interests of the public whilst also challenging debate
around the implications of a society that values some lives more than others.
This is so important if we are going to bring about change. To conclude her
talk, Dodd asserted that we need to be more courageous and political in the way
we think about disability in the museum and gallery. This must begin with
disabled people challenging the medicalised ideas around their portrayal and demonstrating
the ways in which they can be seen in a positive light.
Sharon Heal, Director of the
Museums Association (MA), gave the next presentation – ‘Museums in an Age of
Activism: Transformers – Creating a Legacy of Change’. Statistical information
was provided on the demographics of the Museums Association with regards to its
members. I found it unsurprising that the data revealed that by-and-large,the general population of members were
females at the mid-stage of their career, without a declared disability and
well-educated. Meanwhile, those that ascribe to a minority group, such as
individuals with a disability, were well under-represented within the Museums
Association. From a personal perspective, I feel that in order for positive
change and representation to be brought about within the arts, individuals with
disabilities require a greater representation within the Museums Association.
This will give them a reliable platform in which to have their voices heard.
Heal (2018) suggested that, “we need to understand the problem before we
attempt to tackle it”. This centres around the representation and inclusion of those
with disabilities in the museum/gallery setting. It is possible to use
museum/gallery spaces to challenge ideas and think about what we can do
differently. While museums are now becoming campaigners for change, it is
need to make change, we need to be changing the governance of organisations –
this can mean joining a board of a cultural organisation and becoming a
This can create a powerful
constituency and movement for change, since the positive representation of
individuals with disabilities within such settings can change lives. Heal
(2018) then asserted that:
needs to rethink its siloed version of disability – it is integral to life.
Museums too should not see disability as a separate strand.
Therefore, running parallel to
society’s shift in attitudes towards disability is the notion that
museums/galleries must also change the ways that they think about visitors with
disabilities. Finally, delegates were left to think about the following
perspective – creating inclusive museum experiences is not just about access:
once I have access, what am I going to see? Where’s my history? Where’s my
story? It is all well and good to provide access to museums/galleries for
individuals with disabilities, but if there remains little or no exhibitions
surrounding their lived experiences, this group of people still remains
marginalised. It is now time to make the invisible visible through positive
access, representation and appreciation.
Turning now to the final
presentation of the afternoon, Anna Fineman, the Museums, Galleries and
Heritage Programme Manager from VocalEyes gave a talk entitled, ‘Welcoming
Websites? Museum Access Begins Online’. VocalEyes exists as a charity which
works with museums/galleries across the UK to enable access for blind/VI
visitors. They provide training, advice, support and consultancy to
museums/galleries wishing to develop their access provision, as well as
individuals with VI, enabling them to access such provision. VocalEyes (2018)
and partially sighted people should have equality of opportunity to experience
and enjoy museums, galleries and heritage sites.
To this end, they indicate
that the visitors’ journey begins online through the process of advance
planning, which is essential to visitors who identify as having a disability.
According to Euan’s Guide Access Survey (2016, np) “93% of disabled people seek
information prior to visiting a venue”. There is a whole array of questions a
visitor with a disability may have when planning their visit, such as: how to
get there, whether they will be able to navigate the space by themselves,
whether the staff have any disability awareness and if information is available
in alternative formats. According to Fineman (2018) “the museum website is the
initial barrier or gateway to access”. If these queries are unable to be
answered using the museum/gallery’s website, it is often the case that people
with disabilities will not visit. Fineman then went on to discuss the State of
Museum Access Report (SOMA henceforth) (2016). This gave an overview of the
ways in which UK museums are approaching online access information. While
positive steps are being taken to ensure that there is an access section
available on museum/gallery websites, along with navigation information and
contact details of the member of staff assigned to supporting those with
disabilities, it was clear from the data provided that there is still a long
way to go until access provision is properly organised. According to SOMA’s
UK museums provided no online access information, 43% had no online access
information for blind and partially sighted people and only 30% of UK museums
provided any access for blind and partially sighted visitors. (SOMA)
It shocked me that in this day
and age, there continues to exist a lack of access and information within
cultural organisations to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. While
individuals may lack sight, this does not mean that they cannot experience and
enjoy the museum/gallery via other means, such as AD tours and Braille/large
print access guides. Fineman (2018) posed the question to museum/gallery
visitors: “what does accessible mean to you?” The following response succinctly
sums this up: not just everyone can use/access something, but that everyone
feels welcome and comfortable accessing/using something. If visitors receive a
friendly and warm welcome either online, or in person, when attempting to
access the museum/gallery this can go a long way in ensuring that they have a
positive and rewarding experience. Although access and inclusion in museums/galleries
is improving for those who identify as having disabilities, there still remains
issues surrounding the necessary funding to enable participation. However, it
would appear that when access arrangements are available, they are welcomed by
visitors. It is now vitally important that those working in the arts need to
continually rethink by using opportunities such as the symposium to discuss,
challenge and learn how to do things better.
Accentuate (2018) About us.
[Accessed: 18th May
Bolt, David. “From Blindness
to Visual Impairment: Terminological Typology and the Social Model of
Disability”. Disability & Society. vol.20, no.5, 2005, pp.539-552.
Dodd, Jocelyn. “Rethinking
Disability”. Rethinking Disability Symposium, 9th March 2018, Museum
of Liverpool, Liverpool. Symposium Presentation.
Dodd, Jocelyn., Richard
Sandell., Debbie Jolley and Ceri Jones. Rethinking
Disability Representation in Museums and Galleries. RCMG: Leicester. 2008.
Euan’s Guide. “The Access Survey
[Accessed: 22nd September 2018]
Fineman, Anna. “Welcoming
Websites? Museum Access Begins Online”. Rethinking Disability Symposium, 9th March 2018, Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool. Symposium Presentation.
Fox, Esther. “Opening Remarks
and Framing the Afternoon”. Rethinking Disability Symposium, 9th March 2018, Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool. Keynote Speech.
Heal, Sharon. “Museums in an
Age of Activism: transformers – Creating a Legacy of Change”. Rethinking
Disability Symposium, 9th March 2018, Museum of Liverpool,
Liverpool. Symposium Presentation.
History of Place – Home (2018).
[Accessed: 18th May
VocalEyes. “State of Museum
Access 2016: A Survey of UK Museum Website Access Information for Blind and
Partially Sighted Visitors”.
RECRUITMENT TOOL FOR THE HERITAGE SECTOR
The Disability Collaborative Network welcomed Equality and
Diversity heads, Human Resources staff from Museums and Heritage Organisations
to hear about an inclusive recruitment tool which supports employers and
employees at all levels across the 9 Protective Characteristics.
For the Heritage Sector, this means a person does not need to identify as disabled or
neurodivergent, instead everyone in
the organisation creates an online passport to identify any
reasonable adjustments they would benefit from. It covers all of the 9
Protected Characteristics including childcare provision, carer
responsibilities, chronic illness, temporary disability as well as
developmental disability and neurodiversity.
Data is collected anonymously and shows the growth of diversity in the
workforce of the organisation and be collated overall to the sector.
ClearTalents At Work has enabled reductions in
staff sickness by 1 day per employee per year. Both ClearTalents in Recruitment
and ClearTalents At Work schemes have increased disclosure from 5% to 65%.
ClearTalents At Work supports DSE assessment. The
passport has also been used as recruitment and retention (on boarding) tool for
apprenticeships and traineeships.
If you would like to know more or would like to
hear further information, do get in touch with email@example.com
DCN was founded by museum professionals in 2015 as an online resource
tool for museums and heritage organisations of all sizes, budgets and
stakeholders in respect to standards, case studies and information regarding
inclusive practice in service provision, workforce and working practice in the
sector as a whole.
Since 2015, we have expanded to connect across sectors, organisations,
agencies and individuals in respect to collaboration and best practice for
disabled and neurodivergent people. This includes Central Government,
Digital provision, Corporate, Third and Creative Sectors where we have membership
of working groups to develop projects, supported initiatives and sharing
knowledge with the Heritage Sector.
Holly Bee, Education and Communications Manager, GEM
What do you
imagine when someone says “a night at the opera”? Aside from the Queen album,
that is. Suits? Champagne? Steampunk binoculars perched on upturned noses? Of
all the different aspects of arts, heritage and culture, opera is perhaps the
one with the most perceived barriers to entry. Foreign languages, complicated
compositions, expensive tickets, and a long history of very particular pop
culture portrayals. These stereotypes certainly put me off, and I didn’t seek
out opera when I moved near London and started searching theatre deals. But
then English National Opera (ENO) announced some cheap tickets for their
production of La Bohème and so I thought it was time to
give it a shot. I’d like to share the experience of the evening and its string
of pleasant surprises: the things ENO did to actively craft a warm welcome, all
of them dead simple and easy to replicate.
all, being able to book a ticket for £12 was a huge draw. I had recently
thought about seeing a different London-based opera and when the only tickets I
could find started at over £100 it had immediately confirmed that the artform
was out of my price range. The cheap ticket not only made it practically
possible for me to go, but it made the whole experience stop feeling
intimidating: how fancy could they expect me to be if that’s all they wanted
for a ticket?
ENO has a brilliant website that puts welcome and access at the front. The
prominent “Your Visit” page offers clearly marked information to make booking
and visiting as easy as possible, in particular:
The first thing they signpost is “Ways to save”,
rather than sneaking cheap tickets into the individually-labelled seats in the
“On the day – it’s showtime” gives you all the
information about arrival times, how to collect tickets, store bags, eat, etc.,
in a friendly and easy-going way. For example, the lovely phrase “It’s really important to us that people
with dietary, medical or access requirements can relax and have a wonderful
night”, a sentiment that is repeated throughout the website.
opera for the first time?” is a wonderful little myth-busting page, reassuring
you that you don’t need a dress code and giving you an idea of what to expect
from opera and ENO in general, it promises that around a third of the audience
tends to be a first-time visitor (a sure sign that they’re doing good access
work!), and that seasoned visitors are friendly and happy to share. I’ve never
seen something like this on an arts and heritage website (not to say that no
one else has done it) and the fact that “Your first opera” is also a link on
the homepage tells me that making you comfortable is ENO’s top priority.
access” is another very prominent and clear page, expressed in a friendly tone
that encourages trust in the organisation. Not only is access information
provided, but ENO has an access scheme to offer priority booking, discounts and
on-the-night support, as well as specialised performances and materials.
website is one of the absolute best examples I’ve seen of pre-visit practice
and if you take nothing else from this article, I would really recommend
checking out: https://www.eno.org/your-visit/
the London Coliseum, I felt instantly welcomed. Staff were everywhere in
smart-casual uniforms with big smiles on their faces. It felt so easy to ask
questions and never like I was expected to know some secret code for
opera-lovers. The finishing and interval times of the performance were clearly
labelled, as were toilets, bars and programmes. This meant I didn’t have to
deal with any anxiety around feeling trapped in a seat, unsure of being able to
break or get home (as a former IBS-sufferer, this is a big deal for me, lack of
information in theatres used to send me into a real panic).
Signs also encouraged
us to photograph the theatre, which I’ve never been allowed to do before. I
snapped away and this really made me engage with the stunning architecture of
the space, pointing out details to others and sharing them on social media. The
simple permission to take and share pictures turned the theatre from someone
else’s house to a public space that I had some reign over.
programme explained the plot of each act clearly. This is pretty common
practice in opera and ballet, to my knowledge, but it got me thinking about how
we could apply the practice in museums. Giving short summaries of the contents
of galleries could help visitors navigate, especially if there is content they
wish to avoid.
On the theme
of disability access specifically, the entire show was subtitled (or
“surtitled”, as they call it). A scrolling screen was suspended above the stage
subtitling the libretto (sung script), including colour changes for different
singers. I honestly couldn’t say whether this was a specific access measure or
if it is standard opera practice, but either way the presence of subtitles was
a masterstroke for engagement. ENO already translates all its productions into
English, making them instantly easier to follow for those of us new on the
scene, but obviously operatic singing isn’t how we’re used to hearing our
language spoken and the words could easily be obscured. Having the subtitles
made it easy for me to follow the interactions and narrative. In smoothing that
path, ENO opened a whole new level of appreciation for me.
La Bohème is not an opera with a lot of long solo pieces, it relies on the quick
conversation of a few close characters and the easy-to-follow text let me fully
understand and form a relationship with those characters. The story opens with
the hero, Rodolfo, burning his play manuscript to keep himself and his friends
warm in their stark flat. This is a brilliantly witty scene in which they
describe the flares of drama and the dying of the audience’s enthusiasm as each
page burns and smoulders. The dialogue ricochets between the two men on stage
and steps up again as two more enter. This is a piece of writing that I’m sure
will keep me warm next time my heating goes off. I’m so glad I could catch
every quip. The characters in La Bohème are young, hot-blooded, impulsive, loyal, creative, exciting, and extremely
likeable. Subtitling was the key that unlocked the heart of the production. All
the love and work that had been poured into this opera became visible to the
audience in a way it rarely is, because we could really digest the characters
and the story. How different the experience was when that bit of extra ease was
included (mostly in making me realise how much I need a Team Marcello t-shirt.
Actually, I need a Team Marcello pink beret – trust me, it’s on brand).
used the subtitling technology inventively to add to the atmosphere. Throughout
the lead up to the start and the interval, messages sent in by audience members
scrolled across the screen, wishing happy birthday, congratulations and love.
ENO’s own messages of greeting were included, encouraging tweeting and wishing
us all a good evening. Small details that make a space more friendly are one of
my favourite things to shout about in arts and heritage. Having the company
saying hello and goodnight was genuinely heart-warming and really contributed
to a feeling of welcome. The weight of history behind the production and the
theatre wasn’t diminished, but it was made to feel like an old friend, rather
than a revered hierarch.
From audience to community
production began, the Music Director of ENO, Martyn Brabbins, came onto the
stage and made a few announcements. He told us that making their ENO debuts in
this production were singers Natalya Romaniw, Jonathon Tetelman and Nicholas
Lester, and conductor Valentina Peleggi. He encouraged us all to give them
extra support and this was met with enthusiastic applause. I really loved this
moment in which the audience were brought into a familial bond with the
company. Rather than having them appear as stiff professionals, they happily
admitted to being new and being nervous and asked us to show them some love as
they would us through their performance. It made me feel instantly affectionate
towards the company and eager to see them do the amazing job they of course
went on to do. It was another small detail, like the subtitle messages,
jeans-wearers, signage and photographs, that made the whole environment one of ease
also told us about ENO’s Access All Arias programme, in which opera attendance is made affordable and accessible for
16-29-year-olds. He celebrated the influx of new audiences, seeming genuinely
excited to see young faces in the crowd, and spoke with real joy about the work
ENO is doing to diversify who comes to opera, as well who pursues careers in
it. I was so happy to see a director making himself visible to the audience
(rather than relying on an access-specialist spokesperson) and being excited to
see new people (rather than assuming everyone felt lucky to be there). Also, I
can’t tell you how many times I’ve known about something really cool that a
heritage site is doing for community participation or access, then when I’ve
tried to spread the word I’ve not been able to find a scrap of evidence for it
because we are chronically awful at shouting about this. Having Access All Arias visible on the website,
up on posters in the box office, and specially announced by the Music Director
as part of the evening’s experience was so refreshing. The huge cheer it solicited
shows that the ENO audience is keen to be as welcoming as the team. We should absolutely be as loud as possible
about anything we do to tackle barriers to access. It was so heart-warming and
motivating to have the most senior members of ENO and the most prominent comms loudly
saying “we want you here”.
I left ENO’s La Bohème feeling warm, cheerful, like I’d just made a new friend. When asked how my
evening was, I, for the first time ever in an arts experience, honestly
responded with “cosy”. The small steps taken at every stage of my visit to say
“we’re so glad to see you” built an experience for me that went way beyond
enjoying a piece of art, (though that piece of art was fantastic).
I will now
add a big caveat and say that I am a pretty easy person to engage. Culture has
never been hard to reach for me and so I can’t speak for others in different
circumstances about how successful ENO’s efforts would be for them. But on that
note, the evening did something really important for me in that brought it home
better than anything has before that we
all need access. Having a strong and embedded message of welcome and
stress-reduction meant that the evening wasn’t just one of entertainment, it
was a moment of meeting. I have now signed up to the Access All Arias scheme and will be making a point of learning more
about the company and the artform. A whole new arena of experience has been
opened to me and all it took was a scrolling screen, some decent signage and a
the access conversation, particularly disability access, is framed as “helping
a minority”. This raises all sorts of questions over whether we really need to bother, how much difference does
it really make if we have the majority already? But here’s the
question, do we have the majority?
Really? Why do we assume that just because someone isn’t meeting a specific
access barrier that a space must be inviting to them? Society doesn’t throw a
whole lot in my way and I was still very unsure of whether I would really
belong at the opera. It took so little to prove me wrong and make me want to go
back again and again. Access All Arias and other such measures aren’t necessarily aimed at me, but that didn’t stop
them making a massive difference to me as a member of an audience, and, I now
believe, as a member of a community. It’s so important that professionals in
the sector check our privilege, but we should also check our barriers and think
about how a warm welcome affects “us” as well as “them”. Do that, and we
remember that the line between “us” and “them” was pretty nonsensical all
I’d like to
close by saying a sincere thank you to everyone at ENO, from management to cast
to creative team to front of house, for a truly special experience, for being a
friend, and for bringing me into a community. I would encourage all of you to
check out their programme this year; take a look at the work they’re doing to
make opera accessible for all, and make access holistically meaningful.
DCN are interested to know what training provision you currently have, interested in and what barriers you may be experiencing. With the reduction of budgets and costs of attending and travel, are these factors shaping how you provide or experiencing training.
Do you have barriers which inform what you can attend and how you participate?
Accentuate UK, which has run a number of projects in the cultural sector to tell the stories of deaf and disabled people’s heritage is planning a work placement programme for deaf and disabled people in the museum sector. The most recent ACE diversity figures show that only 4% of museum staff are disabled, against a background figure of 20% in the wider workforce. Accentuate has created two five-minute surveys:
· A survey for all museums and heritage sites – asking if and how your institution is approaching this issue (and what would help if not). (Link to survey)
· A survey for deaf and disabled people working in the museum and heritage sectors, whether as staff or freelancers. (Link to survey)
Responses are anonymous and the deadline for both survey is 15th March.
If you need the survey as a word document, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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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).