Holiday time and looking for accessible events? This article is structured from global to practical. You will find checklists at the end. But before let’s talk about the inclusive design of events, what you need to plan around the event and how accessibility is still thought in terms of location and buildings and managed per city or regio but slowly moving to other sectors through awards, certifications, resources and best practices.
Inclusive Design dimensions
Ideally, all projects and events could follow the concepts of inclusive design dimensions created by Jutta Treviranus- Director Inclusive Design Research Centre -Canada. I just slightly adapted for events organization:
Recognize we are all different and understand diversity and the fact that people can change in the course of life events. This is particularly invaluable for children who are still in development.
Make the process /organization more inclusive. Include/ involve all types of users in the co-creation of your project from plan to outcomes and feedback.
Use System thinking if you prepare an accessible event. You might want to be in contact with schools, tech solutions (assistive technology), families with disabled children…
Around the event
Given the fact that the disability community has suffered a lot from COVID19, it is important not to forget all rights and include accessibility initiatives in the cultural field when possible. Providing accessibility for a child at a temporary event but then having that same child unable to learn because of the lack of inclusive schools is really not the way to go. More and more museums collaborate with schools and have a CSR/ social dimension. Education and learning opportunities are everywhere a temporary event can have a ripple effect on classrooms through online materials, collaborations…
Don’t forget secure and timely transportation and registration (including forms) are basic accessibility features of an event. The whole loop of contacts (online & offline) during the events can be made accessible.
With a whole industry of events partly going digital, there is an opportunity to include more users with their online needs and skills.
Accessibility awards are often organized by country, city or region , comparing best practices in tourism. Rewarding, for instance, an ‘accessible forest path in Breda, built by persons with disabilities to improve access to the forest for all.’ Other accessible places are mentioned in the Eurocenter report: https://www.euro.centre.org/news/detail/3761
Other types of awards are starting to emerge events sector as the events sector covers a very wide range of fields: culture, education, tech, business/ finance, tourism, sports, environment, cooking… “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last week that it will create a new set of “representation and inclusion standards” for potential Oscar nominees. Starting next year, movies will have to meet certain criteria if they want to be eligible for Hollywood’s most prestigious prize.” Captioning & audio-description will probably be on the list.
As my blog is also meant to keep it practical for families, here are some guides and check-lists for the organization of events (I have kept it short, for more info or help with your accessible events use the contact form of this site, thank you):
Inclusion Europe has produced recommendations for organizers of accessible events: https://www.inclusion-europe.eu/accessibility/
Events toolkit for families with advice on how to find accessible venue and information
Belgium has a dedicated organization/portal for accessible events:
Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/10665-332235