AROUND THE TOILET: A research project report about what makes a safe and accessible toilet space (2018)

cropped sinks in public toilets

This new report was published in May 2018 and written as part of the AHRC funded Connected Communities project: ‘Around the Toilet’.

Around the Toilet has key findings taken in collaboration with groups of people between April 2015 to February 2018 in what makes an accessible toilet space.

The original consultation group consisted of people who identified as trans, queer and disabled, carers, parents, workers and people whose religious beliefs impacted on toilet use. As well as urban planners and architects in the context of environmental design.

Key Findings (from aroundthetoilet.com) include:

  • Toilet provision in the UK is currently inadequate for a wide range of people, due to both relational and functional flaws. We need more public toilets, more accessible designs, and different attitudes and ways of understanding the space and our fellow occupants.
  • Many trans and disabled people experience significant difficulties in accessing a safe, usable and comfortable toilet away from home.
  • Toilets labelled as ‘accessible’ are often in fact inaccessible for many disabled users for a range of reasons.
  • There is a lack of toilet research, particularly in the UK, which takes seriously trans people’s experiences of harassment and violence in binary gendered toilets.
  • There is a need for more all-gender toilet provision (sometimes known as ‘gender neutral’ toilets). This would benefit a range of people including: parents with children of a different gender; those who care for people of a different gender; some disabled people who have a personal assistant of a different gender; and some people whose gender is questioned in the toilet, including some trans and non-binary people (and, to a lesser extent, some cisgender people).
  • A ‘one size fits all’ approach to toilet design doesn’t work – there is no one toilet design to suit all users’ needs. Nevertheless, consideration of all users and moves towards improvement are crucial.

The report features potential solutions and designs, however as recommended in the report.  All designs must be in consultation with relevant agencies.

The full report is here:http://shura.shu.ac.uk/21258/1/Around%20the%20Toilet%20Report%20final%201.pdf

 

 

Feeling The Future – Access To Arts and Culture For People with Visual Impairments Trizia Wells, Inclusion Manager at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum

Eureka Museum

Feeling the Future: Access to Arts and Culture for People with Visual Impairments tells how Eureka! has developed a series of sculpture workshops with partially sighted artist sculptor Lynn Cox and the artwork installation in February. There is also included Trizia’s recent visit to Bilbao in Spain with Traveleyes, which tells about tactile tours at the Bilbao’s Maritime Museum and Guggenheim Museum.

Link for the article is below:

First page of Feeling the Future Access to arts and Culture by Trizia Wells, Eureka
Feeling the Future – Access to Arts and Culture for People with Visual Impairments (click to download)

Disabled Young People from across the Globe gathered at the First ever  ‘Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event’ during CHOGM in London

Include Me Too

Include Me TOO, a national (United Kingdom-based) charity celebrated their 10th Anniversary this year during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 held in London. During the CHOGM Summit the charity organised the first ever  Commonwealth DisabledYouth Roundtable Event as part of the ‘Commonwealth Include Me 2’ joint project led by Include Me TOO with the Commonwealth Youth Council to increase the inclusion, rights and participation for disabled children and young people from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) represents 1.2 billion young people from across 53 countries of the Commonwealth

The roundtable event took place at the House of Lords as an official side event for the Commonwealth Forums Summit 2018 and hosted by The Hon Baroness Uddin and The Hon Lord Holmes.

‘It was a privilege to host the first ever Commonwealth Disabled Youth Event on behalf of CHOMG, given that 60 percent of the Commonwealth population is under the age of 30 years. Include Me TOO were instrumental in bringing together youth delegates from different parts of the world to the House of Lords as the event marked a step in the right direction for disabled youth to have a seat around the table and discuss issues that matter to them.’  said The Hon Baroness Uddin 

‘I was delighted to attend the Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event in Parliament this week.  The presentations given by the young people from across the Commonwealth were excellent and packed with insight.  They provided great hope for the future.’ said the Hon Lord Chris Holmes

Disabled young people representing Uganda,Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Botswana, Bangladesh and United Kingdom presented in topics which mattered to them and their peers, highlighting key issues impacting on disabled young people from their respective Commonwealth member countries. The focus was upon the Global Sustainable Development Goals ensuing disabled persons are not left behind. The presentations covered:

  • inclusive and fair quality education which promotes lifelong learning opportunities for disabled persons
  • addressing additional disadvantages disabled girls and women experience in particular when working towards their inclusion in the Gender Equality agenda
  • disabled persons and employment, improving access, support and negative attitudes in the workplace
  • highlighting key barriers and challenges disabled children and young people experience in Commonwealth communities regarding their rights, participation and inclusion
  • the importance of planning and implementing an inclusive accessible society, inc suitable toileting and changing places, inclusive playgrounds, sport and leisure facilities, public services.

‘It was a real privilege to hear directly from young people across the Commonwealth on the challenges and issues they face as young people with disabilities. I was inspired and moved by their personal journeys and the work they are now doing to seek justice and equality in their home countries. There were lots of important lessons and reflections to take forward to the DFID-hosted Global Disability Summit in July this year’ said Richard Boden (Deputy Team Leader and Summit Policy Lead, Disability Inclusion Team – Department for International Development)

‘The Commonwealth roundtable event, presented young people as change makers who have a clear understanding of the issues which impact them and their peers and solutions to increase disability inclusion, rights and participation for all. We are looking forward to working with disabled youth from across the Commonwealth strengthening their voices and impact on local and global issues including the Global Goals to be achieved by 2030 as well as the Disability Summit taking place this July 2018 in London with DFID. We will be working with our young ambassadors, disabled young activists and partners to establish the Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable as a key component for future CHOMG’s summits.   said Parmi Dheensa – Include Me TOO Executive Director

During Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting they agreed on several issues regarding disability rights and inclusion:

  • Full social, economic and political participation of all including disabled persons recognising it is essential for democracy and sustainable development
  • Quality education and learning guided by the principle to leave no one behind, they agreed to support marginalised groups, which includes children with disabilities to progress through secondary education and training through appropriate policies, advocacy and strategic partnerships.
  • Address the stigma around disability in all its forms ensuring no one is left behind
  • Encouraging all member countries to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Include Me TOO look forward to continuing working with disabled young people from across the Commonwealth to ensure their voices are heard and the issues which affect them are present on the agendas and discussions encouraging progressive action for disability inclusion and implementation of disabled persons rights.

 

Making the Case Symposium: The Whitworth Friday 25 May 2018

Digital flyer
(Image credit: Rhiannon Davies -Deborah M, Manchester Museum Volunteer)

Venture Arts puts learning disabled people at the heart of culture and heritage and encourages cultural leaders to do the same.

Learning disabled people are taking ownership of culture and heritage places and spaces at the MAKING THE CASE | SYMPOSIUM, taking place at the Grand Hall, the Whitworth Friday May 25th 2018.

Venture Arts invites culture and heritage leaders and representatives to join them as they bring together ten ground-breaking organisations and individuals to share best practice in making our cultural landscape a more rich and welcoming place, with learning disabled people at its heart.

This will be a day of open discussion, debate and sharing to encourage change. Directors, artists, consultants, academics and curators will present their work to support the sector to reflect on and re-evaluate their approach to learning disabled people.

We’ll hear from experts in the field including Actionspace and Royal Academy of Arts (London);
Esther Fox – The History of Place (UK); Bluecoat – Blue Room and Jade French, Art As Advocacy Collective
(Liverpool); Holly Grange, the Whitworth (Manchester); Autism for the Arts (Manchester); Manchester Museum (The University of Manchester); HOME (Manchester) and Royal Exchange Theatre (Manchester).
(Image credit: Rhiannon Davies -Deborah M, Manchester Museum Volunteer)

Films and discussions will take place throughout the day. Delegates will uncover hidden heritage stories with Esther Fox, Head of the Accentuate Programme. She’ll present the groundbreaking Heritage Lottery funded disability project, History of Place, which follows the lives of deaf and disabled people over 800 years, across 8 different national locations.

There will be a chance to gain valuable insight into how creative organisations across the country are helping the cultural and heritage sector to open their doors to learning disabled people.

We’ll hear key success stories from speakers including Sheryll Catto, Co-Director of Actionspace, and Molly Bretton, Access and Communities Manager from Royal Academy of Arts, about their long-running “Friday Afternoon Art Club” partnership project.
Ella Walker, HOME Manchester, will talk to participants from Venture Arts’ Cultural Enrichment Programme about their experiences of this fantastic initiative. She’ll also talk about her own experience of the programme and the incredible impact it’s had on HOME as an organisation.
Ella Walker, Volunteer and Work Based Training Manager, HOME Manchester says: “Hosting the Venture Arts placements last year was a fantastic experience for us at HOME. We learnt so much from David and Liam and it was brilliant to support their exploration of HOME and see their confidence and experiences develop. Creating an annual placement will allow us to support more people to explore HOME and help to lead us in ensuring our venue can be a place for all”

Amanda Sutton, Director, Venture Arts says: “It is such a pleasure to be joined by so many great organisations for our symposium and to be able to show some of the excellent work being done in the sector with disabled people. I am really looking forward to hearing about others’ experiences and to some lively debate. It is timely too as the heritage sector starts to embrace Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity, so it will be a day when we can all work together to start to make culture and heritage more welcoming and inclusive to all.”

Esther Fox, Head of Accentuate says: “Heritage and the arts can change lives and disabled people are leading that change. Whether it’s understanding our heritage and those who have gone before us or creatively reinterpreting historic material to ensure our voices are present. Working in partnership with our leading cultural institutions is providing a platform to spotlight this work.”

Making the Case Symposium marks the completion of the first phase of Venture Arts’ Cultural Enrichment Programme, which was developed in response to how few learning disabled people currently access cultural venues. Supported by national lottery players via the Heritage Lottery Fund, the programme has allowed Venture Arts to work closely with Manchester based museums, theatres and galleries including Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Museum, the Whitworth, People’s History Museum and HOME Manchester, to co-create engagement programmes tailored to each participant. Several programme participants have since gone on to volunteer within heritage or have been introduced to other initiatives run by cultural venues. As a result, when you go into a cultural space in Manchester, you are now much more likely to see learning disabled people involved in and taking ownership of our shared culture.

The symposium takes place from 10.00am – 4.00pm on Friday 25th May at the
Whitworth. Tickets are on sale now at http://bit.ly/BookMTCSymposium.
www.venturearts.org
Twitter @VentureArts #MTCSymposium | Facebook @VentureArtsManchester |
Instagram @venturearts_
For more information or interviews please contact Kate Royle, mailto:comms@venturearts.org or call on
0161 232 1223

Oral History Training/Volunteering opportunity: History of Place Project

History of Place is offering a day of oral history training at M Shed Bristol on 30th January, followed by flexible opportunities to volunteer until April, taking oral histories of disabled people in Bristol.

Full details here:

http://historyof.place/events/train-with-a-professional-from-the-oral-history-society/

Do pass this on to people who might like to take part – everyone is welcome, and we hope participants will pick up some useful transferable skills.

There’s also a HOP newsletter, which will carry events and further exhibition openings over the next few months – you can sign up at the top or bottom of the page here: http://historyof.place/events/

Labelled: The History of Neurodiversity in Pre-existing Museum and Archive Collections

Disability Co-operative Network

What is the Museum of the Labelled?

DCN is very proud to be supporting this project. Jess and DCN believe that museums can influence society. ‘Museum of the Labelled’ will help to break down barriers, stereotypes and give the participants confidence and self-awareness. Museum of the Labelled’ will gather people’s thoughts and experiences, positive and negative, to raise awareness of neurodiversity in society.

To enhance ‘Labelled’, Jess would also like members of the wider community to submit online their own stories, research, art and thoughts throughout the project. Participants will gain an understanding of themselves, give them an opportunity to be involved with a creative project and to develop a sense of belonging and improved wellbeing.

What does this mean for pre-existing collections?

Through the process of ‘Museum of the Labelled’ Jess will begin to create a wider neurodiversity archive of museum objects, art and people’s voices. Neurodiversity history is currently dispersed, with small collections across many museums and archives. Objects are often not recorded fully or used for public engagement. The project aim is to allow museums and collections to share their neurodiverse objects in a central place and allow the public to discover neurodiverse history and highlight hidden stories.

How will the Museum of the Labelled develop?

Jess would like to do this by delivering a participatory art project and by locating relevant museum objects. Participants will:
a) learn about neurodiversity history through exploring archives and museum objects.
b) reflect on their own personal experiences, in comparison to, and informed by, archive items from the selected neurodiversity collection.
c) use this as a catalyst to create new accessible art works. The group will learn about the history of neurodiversity through exploring archives and museum objects. A high proportion of people who are neurodiverse will at some point have a mental illness.

DCN are supporting this project and will be presenting at Neurodiversity and the Arts at Autograph, London on Thursday 9 November and MA Conference Festival of Change on Friday 17 November.

Slides from Museums Association conference are here Slides for the Museums Association

I think I have objects which may relate to this project, what do I do next?

Check out our handout Neurodiversity infographic master
If you have objects which you think will relate to the history of neurodiversity or you are not sure. Do get in touch with Becki at info@musedcn.org.uk or Jess at dyspraxicme@gmail.com

NEWS Update: Westminster AchieveAbility Commission (WAC) on recruitment and neurodivergence

For World Dyslexia Day (5 October) and Dyslexia Awareness Week (2 – 8 October), Westminster AchieveAbility Commission (WAC) have produced a media release which has important information for dyslexic and other neurodiverse adults in the workplace.

The Media Release outlines the key findings of the two WAC surveys and the four evidence sessions and flags up the fuller report to be launched in January 2018.  The full report will outline a series of recommendations in line with the key findings.

WAC Media Release 2017

For further information regarding the work of WAC please see http://bit.ly/2yX1sK5

Participants Required: Impact of technology on the experience of blind and partially sighted visitors in museums

Disability Co-operative Network

Rafie is a PhD candidate at UCL. My research examines the impact of technology on the experience of visually impaired people in museums. I am looking for participants who are blind or partially sighted, and who are interested in museums and normally use technology during their everyday life.

Here is Rafie’s information in respect to her research:

It is ok if you have never visited a museum before, and even if you have been to the chosen museum already. I will be happy to assist you in the planning of the visit, should you require so.

Participating in this study involves visiting a museum of your choice between the Museum of London, the Wallace Collection, and the Victoria & Albert museum. It will be up to you to decide which museum to visit, when, how, for how long and with whom (although I recommend doing so with a companion). After your visit, I will conduct an interview about your experience that will last about one hour. The interview will not be about the content of the museum, and it is not a test: I only want to hear from you about your experience, your opinions and your ideas.

In case you are interested in taking part in this project, I have attached an information sheet with all the details about the study and about the participation.

I will be happy to discuss this further and answer any question or concern you might have in person, via email, or via phone/skype.

In case you are not interested in taking part in this study, but know someone that could be interested, I kindly ask you to forward this message to them.

Thank you for time, and I look forward to hearing back from you!

Rafie

Rafie Cecilia
PhD candidate
UCL Institute of Archaeology
UCLIC Centre of Human-Computer Interaction

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/people/research/cecilia

raffaella.cecilia.14@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: 07404463243

 

 

Vocaleyes: Campaign for museum access information #musaccessinfo

Vocaleyes

Last year, VocalEyes ran a survey of  1700 museum websites, which revealed that a shocking 27% (458 museums) provided no information that would help potential visitors decide if their access needs would be met. In the report, we made the case that this would result in disabled people being excluded from these museums, and the museums would lose visitors, revenue, reputation, and could even be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.  Read the State of Museum Access 2016 report here.

Vocaleyes provided league tables by UK nations and regions, as well as by type of museum (national, independent, local authority, military, university), but we held back from naming museums that failed to provide access information, or those that provided exemplary information and deserved praise. We now feel that this was a mistake, and are looking for public help to contact the museums that failed to provide information, and ask them to fix this, and provide welcoming and useful access information for disabled visitors.

Next year (2018), they are going to be doing this survey again, visiting the websites of all 1700 accredited UK museums, and looking through their access information. Vocaleyes want to see 100% of the UK’s finest museums, galleries and heritage sites to be supporting and encouraging disabled visitors.

How can you help?

If you work for a museum, and your museum doesn’t have access information online, then please read our report and the guidelines, which you can download. And then, please talk to colleagues and fix this – all museums should provide access information online.

If you want to help our campaign, then attached to this page (below, under the Downloads heading) is an Excel spreadsheet of museums that, when we did our survey (Spring 2016), did not provide any access information online.

You can help our campaign in 4 simple steps:

  1. Check the spreadsheet for museums local to you.
  2. Select one or more, visit their website and double check for access information in the Visiting section (We did the survey in 2016 – some may have added access information since then).
  3. If the website definitely don’t have an access page, then contact the museum (via email or contact form) to tell them it needs fixing. We’ve provided some text you can use below, but please feel free to amend, and make it personal to you. I’ve been a bit British in my choice of adjectives; you may wish to use stronger ones.
  4. Share it on Twitter: I’ve asked @MUSEUMNAME to provide online access information  #musaccessinfo @vocaleyesAD http://bit.ly/2vJzmPO

We’ll be monitoring the hashtag #musaccessinfo and we’re of course happy to advise museums keen to provide access information.

Any questions – contact us at enquiries@vocaleyes.co.uk with the subject line #musaccessinfo 

Template email

Dear MUSEUM NAME,

I visited your museum’s website today and was surprised and disappointed not to find any access information. When planning a visit, it is vital for potential visitors to know if their access needs will be met. Without such information, people are more likely to assume that there is little access provision on site, and decide against a visit. Your museum could be losing visitors, revenue and reputation, and could even be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

I would be very grateful if you would forward this email  to the museum manager, or the person responsible for visitor services. I would recommend that they read the State of Museum Access 2016 report by VocalEyes (vocaleyes.co.uk/state-of-museum-access-report-2016), which is accompanied by a useful set of guidelines that will help your museum create useful access information.

Yours, etc.

Via Vocaleyes Posted on: Wednesday 30 August 2017, 1:11 pm

Virtual working | let’s rethink office working

Julie Reynolds reflection in her laptop

It’s a cool wet day, I am sat at my dining room table with the BBC London playing on the ipad, and flipping between chatting to family via text and Facebook on my phone, and typing this blog on a little laptop. A cup of decaff tea is constantly refreshed. The phone lays next to the laptop. Pieces of paper, with scribbles of notes of conversations, client work are spread out all over the table. This is a day in my new working life. Now, don’t get me wrong, home working is nothing new to me, and I know it’s not to many of us, whatever sector you work in. What is different, is this is now my modus operandi, and the hours and times I can spend sat here at my dining room table (well let’s say my desk), are limited.

Why? Well this blog isn’t one to share the medical conditions I have, so I won’t bore you with details. However, for context, I will say, I now have physical limitations. These affect me on a daily basis and are exacerbated at times and so occasionally make me totally housebound. These limitations, have meant that over the last year and a half I have adapted my daily life and wake up each morning to determine what I can do (it’s not what I can’t do). Even though these limitations, are frustrating and have changed my life around, I haven’t wanted to give up on contributing to society.  So I have developed ways of virtual working, to work part-time when I can, on volunteer and short-term contract work.

This blog is an attempt to share what I have learnt and the benefits.  It may be of use to people who may be thinking of changing the way they work due to circumstance, or to a business/organisation trying to understand how to incorporate virtual working into everyday practice and ultimately attract a diverse workforce. My overall message is this, the good news is virtual working is working. This isn’t headline news, but it is something I am finding to be a great way to work, especially in light of the work I am undertaking. Let me explain. I am developing a UK network in the museum sector, which focuses on understanding the training provision landscape. This has involved engaging stakeholders throughout the UK and consulting with networks and organisations. The phone, Skype, email, Googledocs, and Facebook, have enabled me to have fruitful conversations and develop a UK project: to map UK training provision.

Through virtual working I have: ·

  • Built relationships and created a Steering Group and a Critical Friends group·
  • Built trust with a variety of stakeholders: museum development, national, regional, university museums, Strategic Service Organisations and membership organisations·
  • Collaborated with Steering Group members and with a designated Working Group.

A knowledge management contract for Sparknow and volunteering at Islington Heritage has taught me lessons which are useful tips for people looking at becoming a virtual worker.  If you are reading this from an organisational perspective, I hope the following gives an insight in to what to think about when setting up virtual working opportunities.

Here are a few things to consider when you change to virtual working: ·

  • Flexibility
    Ensure that flexibility is from both sides. Advocate the benefits of virtual working, and how you can both work together to be more efficient. Being flexible in planning meetings that could be virtual, or less of them, can help projects be more focused.  This can reduce the strain placed on our transport infrastructure and our energy/carbon consumption and benefit the environment too.·
  • Know your limits
    Be transparent about your limits. I know this is difficult, but you don’t need to go into details. Explaining what you can do and not focusing on what you can’t, helps the other side see what can and is achieved. This helps to forward plan and build in the means to cope with those days when you might not be able to work. It enables realistic deadlines to be set and to be met!·
  • Be clear about expectations
    Be clear about your expectations.  What do you want to get out of the working relationship? What are the expectations of the organisation? It’s best to have these conversations, which may be difficult and can leave you feeling vulnerable, in the first instance. In my case this has certainly helped build mutual trust. My expectations are to contribute to a working world, to be a respected part of a project and my limitations acknowledged, but not seen as a detriment.·
  • Conversations
    Stay in contact with key colleagues (touch base once a week), especially with those that you may report to. A phone or Skype call, email or Instant Messaging conversation helps work  stay focused and on track. It is a useful way to iron out any concerns from both sides (don’t forget, it takes a while to build up trust, and there may be suspicion on the other side as to whether you are really doing any work because they can’t see you).
    Conversations with stakeholders and other parties are very important, make sure you keep them going. In addition to a call, you may send a report, newsletter or some other knowledge asset to show what’s happening in a project but to also engage them too.·
  • Caveats
    Virtual working does not mean that all physical meetings cease.  There will still be the need for occasional meetings.  However, it is important that you ensure caveats are in place, in case you cannot attend. This helps to not raise expectations on both sides and for you both to plan and work around you not being in physical attendance. Can you Skype in? Can you have a chat about the outcomes of the meeting afterwards and the impact this has on your work?
  • Technology
    Use as much technology as possible, if you can. Keep an eye out for new ways to engage with colleagues. Are there platforms that you can use to share documents, project plans and to have real time conversations? For example, (and to name but a few) Yammer, Skype, Trello, Googledocs, Basecamp, BAND.·
  • Know your strengths
    This is a really important one. Along the way, I have struggled with the adjustments and questioned my abilities. A mentor, Nick Merriman, Director of Manchester Museum, helped me get back on track. He asked me to think of what I could do now, and what strengths did I have and be clear and transparent about my situation. With this advice I was able to sit back, and see my strengths and communicate these to potential commissioners of projects, and collaborators.·
  • Support network
    Develop a support network of peers you respect and trust. This has been invaluable to me. The support group around me, are a sounding board, confidants, and are there for advice and direction. In addition to my mentor (Nick Merriman, Manchester Museum), Katie Childs, Imperial War Museum, John Jackson, Natural History Museum, Ray Barnett, Bristol Culture, Iain Watson, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Hellen Pethers, Natural History Museum, Cheryl Smith, Islington Heritage and Victoria Ward, Sparknow are part of my support group and I owe many thanks to them for their support this last year and a half.

I have alluded to the benefits of virtual working. Here are a few: ·

  • Efficiency·
  • Saving costs for the organisation and for you too·
  • Quiet environment·
  • No interruptions·
  • Focus·
  • Taking things slow and steady and not rushing into things·
  • Additional mentor input

My office colleagues are now my cats, resident foxes, birds in the garden, radio and carer and partner (who now works from home too). It is so much better, not being around stressed people, air pollution, and experiencing the frustrations of delayed and busy trains. In fact, I now totally enjoy this way of working. So, my advice is, if you are thinking about either developing virtual working models for your organisation, or thinking about it for yourself, it is a good model of working. Face to face meetings with colleagues still happen and are often more productive and focused as they use the time available to the best and if a face to face meeting cannot happen a Skype Video or phone call works just as well.

Let’s start to rid the job descriptions of a 35 hour office based job, let’s think of flexitime, virtual working and less hours and open up the workforce to people for whom virtual working works best.

Here is a short exercise for an organisation wanting to embrace virtual working to diversify the workforce:

Reflection. Observe your teams and your staff in your organisation.  Look around you and ask how many hours are actually worked in the office and how many of these are productive hours in a 35 hour+ week, do your staff really need to be in the office for so many hours? ·

  • Will the answer be a surprise?·
  • Could a virtual worker, who is focused, and efficient be in your workforce and add value?·
  • Could a virtual worker, add to your team, whether that be public facing team or not (are there roles that can support public facing work that don’t need to be office based)? ·
  • Do your job adverts clearly show how flexible you are as an employer to virtual working and flexibility?·
  • Is it time for your organisation to change?

What are you thoughts on virtual working and how it can enable an organisation to diversify its workforce?

Author: Julie Reynolds, Consultant (Culture and Knowledge Management)
August 2017

Unlocking the South West’s heritage for everyone: Volunteers needed

Heritage Ability and Heritage Lottery Fund

 


Photo Credit: Neil Warren

The South West is full of wonderful heritage places to explore, from caves to historic houses and sweeping landscapes. According to the Papworth Trust, disabled adults in the North and South West report the highest number of life areas (education and leisure) where participation is restricted.  Despite the efforts of museums, galleries and other leisure attractions, feedback from disabled and Deaf people suggests there is more that can be done to make these places more accessible.

The Heritage Ability project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund has a clear vision – to break down barriers at these heritage places, unlocking the South West for everybody to enjoy.


Photo Credit: Neil Warren

Heritage Ability is delivered by the charity Living Options Devon (no.1102489). The charity is user-led, meaning its staff and volunteers have first-hand experience of the issues faced by disabled and Deaf people. The charity’s mission is to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people across the South West have the opportunity to life the life they choose.

The Heritage Ability project will support at least 20 heritage places across the South West, from the West tip of Cornwall all the way to Gloucestershire to take a holistic view of accessibility – looking not just at doors, toilets and ramps, but at a whole range of aspects that shape the visitor’s experience. Interventions will include British Sign Language (BSL) videos, easy read literature, large-print format interpretation and visual stories to support a wide range of disabilities. Many sites will also benefit from an all-terrain scooter (Tramper), enabling them to access the outdoors like never before.

The project will also be informed and led by disabled volunteers, who will go undercover and mystery visit these heritage locations to give feedback. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to act as Heritage Ability champions, becoming an advocate for a heritage place or cluster of local heritage places to support these sites in a variety of ways. If you’d like to get involved and find out more about the project, visit www.heritageability.org

Project LAB: tackling illiteracy and other global issues at Royal Institution of Science

Disability Co-operative Network

June 2017

1 in 5 adults in the United Kingdom are illiterate with 738 million globally. This is hard to digest in the 21st Century and seems more relevant in Victorian society, not the digital age.  In terms of cost to the world it is $1.19 trillion.  The unreasonable group have a selection of entrepreneurs who are making a real difference to society by supported projects in places such as the United States, United Kingdom, India and Asia.

The key thing about this day is the goal to eliminate illiteracy by 2030.  This is such important and refreshing thinking in addressing this aim and actually stating enough is enough and what we can all do to meet this target.

Jeff Hoffman, [1] was inspiring in his keynote address passionately advocating to our group that ‘there is no they – there’s us. It is us that will solve the problems. Don’t wait for the change’.

For DCNs and other museums work on inclusive practice to promote diversity, this is an empowering statement to advocate our own resources for positive change.  Almost all the projects had digital inclusion and collaboration with people at the forefront to develop solutions which have high social and economic impact.

Sophia Grinvalds Co-Founder and Co-Director of Afripads showed how one in ten girls skipped school because of lack of sanitary products.  Afripads are now a global supplier in washable sanitary ware for women in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi.  It has created positive impact for over 1.4 million women and created employment for 150 Ugandans.

ThinkCERCA enables critical thinking through web-based literacy platforms by building up analytical tools.

Ubongo project is a multi-platform for fun and engaging learning for remote communities in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.  The multi-platform is radio, TV and mobile technology teaching mathematics, reading and science.  It was good to see Nisha Ligon speak about the project who has worked for online projects for the BBC, Science Museum and the Guardian.

Guru-G is an app based teaching tool for teachers to support a positive learning experience which has reached out to over 500 schools and used by 5,000 teachers for 120,000 students.  The app can be used with or without the internet and provides the opportunity for mentoring teachers with lesson plans based on different curriculum needs and techniques.

Livox was developed by Carlos Pereira and his wife to support their young daughter with cerebral palsy.  It is an app to support learning in reading, writing and communication with a smart virtual keyboard and reduces risk of social isolation for disabled people.

There were many projects associated with the project and unfortunately unable to list all of them here.  But more details relating to the project are here: http://projectliteracylab.com/

One of the key messages from the whole event was how the jigsaw pieces are there in respect to technology but getting the right people leading and collaboration to identify an active positive solution does not need high finance.  The second key was taking it forward and making it happen.

But, what for museums? Interestingly Project Lab says ‘illiteracy’ should be put where it belongs – in a museum.  Museums can do so much to trial solutions by entrepreneurs for positive social change. Should illiteracy belong in a museum which traditional techniques involve high literacy?  The world is changing and we can be part of the next chapter of positive change.

Becki Morris, Disability Co-operative Network

[1] Jeff was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame by the CEO Council and recently the Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan, Chase, Citibank and Rising Tide Capital.

Talking about Stammering

Employers Stammering Network

We wrote about the Employers Stammering Network (ESN)
https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2016/05/26/the-employers-stammering-network/) a year ago.

We know that stammering is still too often a hidden disability at work. The result? It can be difficult

  • for people to use their strengths and talents to the full
  • for employers and colleagues to understand what changes can make a big difference.

We’re here to change that. So we’ve been working to make it easier for everyone to talk about stammering. We’d like to:

  • Share some facts and figures
  • Tell you what we’ve been doing
  • Work with you.

Some facts

  • Stammering affects about 380,000 adults of working age in the UK
  • That’s 1 in 100 people
  • About 4 times more men stammer than women
  • Research shows people who stammer have slightly different brain anatomy/function
  • But stammering only affects speech fluency, not intelligence or ability
  • Stammering usually begins at 2-3 years, affecting up to 5% of young children
  • When it continues over a period of years it is likely to persist in adulthood
  • Most children who stammer have another family member who also stammers
  • Some adults develop a stammer as a result of e.g. strokes or drug treatments

Did You Know?

  • You probably know someone who stammers without realising they do
  • That’s because a stammer can be overt or covert
  • Sometimes people have an obvious stammer that others can hear
  • But many people go to great lengths to hide their stammer
  • They can be very successful at this at great cost to themselves
  • It means working hard to avoid specific sounds, words and situations
  • This can affect participation at work eg saying their own name in meetings
  • In both types of stammer, people often feel embarrassment or anxiety in speaking situations

Talking about stammering can be a big step to take. And it can be very awkward, so people may avoid
talking about it.

Recruiting or working with someone who stammers

Knowing more makes it easier to start conversations about stammering.
That’s why we’ve developed a quick guide and resources:

Recruiting or working with someone who stammers: 10 things to know (link to https://www.stammering.org/help-information/topics/work/recruiting-someone-who-stammers-10-things-know

More information: stammering and work (link to https://www.stammering.org/help-information/topics/work)

Speaking out

We’re working with people in different workplaces who are becoming more open about their stammer. We’re hearing some remarkable stories.

They are supporting and inspiring others to show it is “OK to stammer.” And demonstrating their hugely valuable strengths to employers.

The iceberg that no one sees (link to http://fscareers.ey.com/top-stories/uk_cbs_may-breisacher/) a personal and revealing article from May Breisacher, senior consultant at EY Financial Services

People often say what they think without thinking about the consequences and impact words can have. Words are powerful. They make and they break. Having a stammer has wired my brain so that I have to think about what I say and how I say it. Because I could block. So it makes me consider the impact of my words. Even when I have to give bad or difficult news, I think about what I say and how I say it. To give the right message without damaging the relationship.

Having a stammer makes me choose my words carefully, to be more considerate and compassionate in how I communicate.”

My performance is never judged on my stammer (link to https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1499149460126218&substory_index=0&id=559006267473880)

This is the most looked at Facebook post from Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust ever. It links Emma’s experience as an employee who stammers to giving a clear message about applying for jobs at her employer.

Do you have a gov.uk email address at work or know someone who does?

We are working with a group of civil servants from across the UK who have set up the Civil Service Stammering Network (CSSN). Some stammer, some don’t. They welcome allies who have experience of stammering or simply want to find out more.

Anyone with a gov.uk email address, wherever they work, can sign up to their closed Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1569968656658946/)

If you don’t have a gov.uk email address, there’s some great resources/blogs on their website (link to https://ukcssn.com/)

Get in touch with us!

We love hearing from you.

  • Have a question or an issue at work?
  • Want to know more about the Employers Stammering Network?

Contact Helen Carpenter, ESN Manager: hc@stammering.org or

Sign up to the ESN e-newsletter (link to http://stammering.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ac4cd93d53763acf177075611&id=a46b27fc57

Consultation Opportunity (Questionnaire) Dyslexia and the Impact of Managerial Practices Research

Disability Co-operative Network

Hello,

I’m trying to determine whether or not there is a relationship between managerial practices, and the impact on people with dyslexia regarding employment stability.

The study involves the completion of a short questionnaire which is available online and will take approximately 40 minutes to complete. Please click on the web link below to take part in the online questionnaire.

Link – https://stirling.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/dyslexia-and-the-impact-of-managerial-practice-research

Secondly in-depth interviews are available for anyone who would like to contribute further to the research and should last approximately two hours.

If you would like to participate in an interview and want to find out more, please email me at: dps00002@students.stir.ac.uk

The deadline is 19th July 2017.

Many thanks

Dean Smith

University of Stirling

NEWS: Reimagining the neurodiverse performance space – participants required

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry

Culture Coventry are looking for participants in the following project:

Summary

Neuroaesthetics explores the synergy between the needs and interests of neurodiverse audiences, with the fascinations and performance modes utilised by live artists. Working in collaboration with young people who are largely non-verbal, with severe needs, the artists will be challenged to find meaningful points of collaboration, and together radically re-imagine the neurodiverse performance space.

Each artist will explore and reconfigure their distinct practice in this highly unpredictable, ‘extra live’ context with the support and guidance of the two lead artists. It is anticipated that seeing their work through this new lens and receiving unmediated audience responses will provoke rich new creative lines of enquiry.

Neuroaesthetics looks to challenge ideas of risk in a highly safeguarded area of work, and dismantle the idea of a fixed a ‘disabled theatre’ aesthetic to make way for new possibilities of making performance for and with this often sidelined group of individuals.

Application and further details:

Applications are open for artists to take park in the project this October.
The deadline for applications is Mon 19 June at 12noon.
Further details including how to apply are here:
http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/opportunities/diy-14-2017-ellie-griffiths-greg-sinclair

 

Talking Inclusion – Usher Syndrome ~ Molly Watts

Molly Watt Trust Logo

Open to Inclusion?

Check out our friend Molly Watts who is a consultant and advocate for Usher Syndrome.
She believes that the world has to be accessible to all.  Follow her website and blog via http://www.mollywatt.com/

Find out what Usher Syndrome is via her video blog here:

And how assistive technology is an enabling tool here:

Neurodiversity: Autism – resources for families and adults

Disability Co-operative Network

We have a number of twitter feeds about what neurodiversity is and how it is a positive asset to the workplace. There are a number of excellent organisations and associations, particularly local groups who have a great deal of experience. These organisations are happy to be contacted to raise awareness, inclusive practice and support.

Neurodiversity is Dyslexia, Dyspraxia,  Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) and Tourettes. Please see this diagram of profiles and how they relate to each other please see: http://www.achieveability.org.uk/files/1275491669/neuro-diversity-diagram.pdf

This page focuses on autism spectrum disorder and has a number of links and resources. This page sits alongside case studies and information available on this website. The aim for these resources is to support adults and families for inclusive practice in the workplace and service delivery of museums and cultural venues in the UK.

Workplace
Training (including online training that can start as little as £25), awareness, guidance and workplace support go to the National Autistic Society http://www.autism.org.uk/

Access to Work: Central Government funded scheme for people who may need support in the workplace https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-factsheet/access-to-work-factsheet-for-customers

Commonwealth Youth Council Toolkit for autism http://bit.ly/2ojQnzY

Families
Welcoming families and children with autism in museums via Kids in Museums  http://kidsinmuseums.org.uk/2016/04/04/welcoming-families-and-young-people-with-autism/

Autism in Museums (a blog site of articles by @TinctureofMuse)
https://tinctureofmuseum.wordpress.com/category/autism-in-museums/

Museum of Minds (a blog site by Jack Welch) http://museumofminds.wixsite.com/momcampaign

Museums and Autism (a tumblr site of articles and links by Sally Fort) http://museumsandautism.tumblr.com/

Autism in the Museum (U.S. site by Lisa Jo Rudy, consultant and writer) http://www.autisminthemuseum.org/

Remember to check this website and our twitter feed (@museumDCN) regularly for regular information, case studies and news.

Lingusio : the audio guide that removes barriers ~ Antonia Eggeling

Lingusio scarf

In future, museums will mainly be places of human encounters. Lingusio is more than just an audio guide. Inclusively created content and an unconventional design promote a lively interaction regardless of knowledge or skills. The guide not only recognizes the right of people with disabilities to equally take part with others in cultural activities, but it has a profound impact on the entire museum: Lingusio offers the possibility to see artworks from a whole new perspective to regular visitors, experts, as well as new audience groups.

The innovative audio guide was developed in cooperation with experts in the fields both of museums and people with learning difficulties in order to create a new way to experience a museum visit.

 

CULTURAL PARTICIPATION
INCLUSION & ACCESSIBILITY IN MUSEUMS

The project addresses the inclusion and accessibility of people with learning difficulties in Museums. As determined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations), “States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part in an equal basis with others in cultural life”[1]. Likewise accessibility is a crucial part of the concept and also regularized by law. The regulations apply not only to physical barriers, but also to those with regard to content and mediation.

The project aims to make content more accessible for people with learning difficulties. Moreover, it opens it to a broader public and therefore provides future business ideas for museums in general.

 

THE HARDWARE

Lingusio Scarf in use
Lingusio Scarf in use

Lingusio is a hardware device that enables the simple and understandable dissemination of content not only for people with learning difficulties but all visitors. The formal difference to an ordinary audio guide is obvious: it’s a scarf. The device features a barrier-free design and intuitive functions that represent a significant improvement over a regular audio guide. Formal and technical aspects of the product follow the principles of universal design.

Lingusio rests on the shoulders of the visitor like a scarf. One end of the device serves as a speaker, the other as volume control. A reader is located in the scarf and enables the automatic identification of the artwork within a certain radius. As soon as the speaker-part of the scarf is raised for listening, the corresponding track starts to play.

Above all, however, the design has a large impact on the handling and therefore also on the behaviour of users. Previously museum visitors were closed off permanently from their environment due to headphones. In contrast, the scarf enables an “open ear” and thus a more conscious perception of the environment.

 

THE CONTENT

Workshop
Workshop

People with learning difficulties not only have had direct input on the design of the device, but also on the content of the audio guides – making access to museum content simpler and easier for everyone.

In a co-creation workshop, people with learning difficulties and museum educators deal intensively with the artworks of a future exhibition. The aim is to gather three very different descriptions, opinions or ideas for each piece of art. These heterogeneous contents are then transferred to audio guides that are visually distinguished by three different colours.

 

IMPACT ON THE BEHAVIOR OF VISITORS

Lingusio scarf
Lingusio scarf

The aim of the special design in the shape of a scarf is to share the content with visitors wearing another color. The awareness that he or she might be listening to something else arouses curiosity and encourages people to talk. Lingusio therefore not merely transmit information and broaden perspective, but function primarily as a basis for discussion and facilitate encounters with other visitors.

 

GOAL AND IMPACT OF THE PROJECT

Lingusio scarf - interaction between visitors
Lingusio scarf – interaction between visitors

The goal of the project was to develop a product concept that introduces not only people with learning difficulties to the yet unknown and with numerous psychological barriers afflicted context of museums. The goal was to create something that promotes interaction between all visitors and therefore includes various people. Consequently, the information based on the research with a specific target group has a profound impact on the entire museum, including experts, regular visitors and new audience groups.

A significant personal development of the co-designers in the course of the project could be observed. The initial intimidation created by the museum halls disappeared. All participants were full of self-confidence, curiosity and drive. Having attended the workshop enabled them to move freely and express their opinion about the works in the exhibition.

The active involvement of people with learning difficulties in the development of contents, offers the opportunity to develop creative and intellectual potential – this encourages the participants and allows wide parts of society to partake in this project.

“The project proves that the removal of barriers for people with learning difficulties provides additional value for society as a whole. At the same time, is creates possibilities for innovative business ideas.”

(Tobias Marczinzik, PIKSL)

Antonia Eggeling
Designer of the Audio Scarf
http://antoniaeggeling.com

In cooperation with the PISKL experts
http://piksl.net/

PIKSL Logo
PIKSL Logo

 

 

 

 

[1] United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, article 30, see http://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de/fileadmin/user_upload/PDF-Dateien/Pakte_Konventionen/CRPD_behindertenrechtskonvention/crpd_en.pdf