Accessibility in the Outdoor Arts Sector

Access & Diversity

Accessibility Training for the Outdoor Arts sector

In March 2020 Without Walls organised a training day aimed at festivals and artists who want to incorporate accessible marketing practices and environmental sustainability into their organisations.

Supporting those who create and present work outdoors, the session asked us to consider how we can work together to reduce the carbon impacts of outdoor work and ensure that it is inclusive to all audiences.

You can find out more about the environmental literacy training here.

Accessible Marketing

Alex Covell, Without Walls Access Advisor, and Access and Engagement Producer for GDIF/FESTIVAL.ORG, provided artists and festivals with tools to help them communicate more inclusively about their events, with the aim of forging stronger connections with Deaf and disabled audiences. This included creating accessible formats, exploring barriers to access, channels for reaching out to new audiences, and the information which needs to be included in your marketing (and what doesn’t). This was followed by attendees workshopping their own accessible marketing tools for their own organisation.

Members of the team from Walk the Plank also gave a short presentation sharing their experience of developing the large-scale outdoor show Zara in collaboration with Mind the Gap. Zara explores the story of a learning disabled mother’s plight to keep her daughter from being taken into social care and features an entirely learning disabled cast.

Language should be person-centred, situation-specific and not traumatic. It’s useful to know that some impairments are invisible, and that some people don’t define themselves as disabled.

Do use: Avoid using:
Disabled people/ person The disabled, person with disabilities, Handicapped, cripple, invalid
Has… (an impairment) Suffers from…, is a victim of…
Non-disabled Able-bodied, normal, healthy
Learning disabled person / has learning difficulties Mentally disabled, retarded, backward, idiot, special needs, downs
Wheelchair user Wheelchair bound, confined to a wheelchair, in a wheelchair
Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing The deaf
Deaf sign language user, BSL user Deaf and dumb, deaf mute
Blind or partially sighted, visually impaired The blind
Has mental health issues, is a mental health service user Mentally ill, insane, mad, crazy
Accessible/ adapted toilet/ ramp/ parking Disabled toilet/ ramp/ parking

"It was great to get an overview and insight plus practical guidance on measures that we can start implementing"

Session attendee

"[It was useful to hear about] accessibility as we can work on this right now. Always good to check out what you think you are doing right and how you can use new ideas to improve."

Session attendee