Access Toolkit: Outdoor Events

Tools of the Trade

Now that we know all about organising a street party, courtesy of the several excellent resources I featured in a previous post, it’s time to make it fully accessible – and here again, help is available. The Independent Street Art Network offers a free Access Toolkit downloadable from their website with the goal of “making outdoor arts events accessible to all”. It’s co-produced with Attitude is Everything, a UK charity that works towards improving Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, and it’s a London 2012 legacy project.

The Access Toolkit is a comprehensive guide to identify and remove barriers to access for all types of outdoor events. Practically, it can help outdoor festivals – from live music in a field to busy street carnivals – to meet the standards outlined in the Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice:

Bronze

  • Accessible toilet(s)
  • Level access
  • An emergency evacuation plan
  • An accessible booking system
  • ‘2 for 1’ ticket scheme
  • Viewing area(s) / platform(s)
  • Staff can describe access
  • Accessible publicity and access information
  • Induction loop / infra red system
  • Accessible signage
  • Disability Equality Training for staff
  • Accessible Campsite (Festivals only)

Silver

  • Go beyond the legal minimum level of physical access
  • Have an early entrance option
  • Backstage/stage access
  • An accessible and diverse recruitment policy
  • An ‘Access Address Book’
  • Extend Disability Equality Training
  • Access to the performance
  • Extend access policies to partners

Gold

  • Become an Ambassador for Best Practice in Access
  • Long term commitment
  • Track effects of accessible recruitment and measure diversity

 

The Toolkit provides information, tips and checklists to help event organisers think thoroughly about barriers to access and how to remove them, in three main sections:

 Why: the many advantages of making an event truly inclusive and accessible, including complying with the legislation and reaping economic benefits. This can help

Before the event: this is perhaps where the biggest shift in attitude must occur. Inclusive marketing and efficient outreach will help attract more people; staff and volunteers recruitment and training are also crucial to the success of the inclusion efforts.

At the event: there are many adjustments that can be made for free or at a small cost. The toolkit is very practical, with clear recommendations, checklists and specialised suppliers contact details. Areas covered include:

  • information and communication, from steward training to signage and announcements;
  • accessible toilets, seating, viewing platforms;
  • crowd management for large street parties such as carnivals;
  • making performances accessible, through the use of sign language interpreters, captions or audio descriptions.

Several case studies conclude the toolkit, highlighting the importance of planning and training.

The Access Toolkit can be downloaded here, and Attitude is Everything provide further resources on their website, including a set of practical guides to improve communication, create a viewing platform or establishing a 2-for-1 ticket policy for disabled people and their Personal Assistant.

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