elysiumgallery and elysiumstudios Accessibility and Engagement
For 10 years the members of Elysium Gallery has provided accessible activities in venues and in outdoor events to as wide range of the public as possible. Elysium Gallery is committed to providing an inclusive environment at its College Street gallery and studios premises. It is our aim to provide a service which can be used by everyone, regardless of age, gender or disability. This is made up of many elements such as society’s and individual’s attitudes, the design of products and communications, the training of gallery staff and the design of the built environment itself. Elysium Gallery recognises the differences in the way people use the built environment and aims to provide solutions within its means that enable all of us to participate in mainstream activities equally, independently, with choice and with dignity.
As with most new initiatives and developments the needs of disabled people are often considered separately from the original design of the building. This inevitably leads to separate facilities and solutions being implemented to a building that previously was unfit for use for disabled persons, for example platform lifts or ramps for wheelchair users and toilet facilities for people who find difficulties in climbing stairs. According to government figures (2014) approximately 11.7 million people have a disability and providing an inclusive environment will have a positive effect on an estimated 20% of the adult population. This percentage is set to increase (40%) over the next few decades as people are living longer in the elderly population whilst the general whole population will increase by just 7%. This highlights the importance of organisations such as Elysium Gallery providing inclusive environments.
The premises at college street is a perfect example of a building that is difficult for disabled usage and the obstacles faced by an organisation such as Elysium Gallery to create an inclusive environment in such a space. Elysium Gallery is a non-profit organisation with charitable aims and relies upon volunteers and funding to exist.
What we have done
- Installed high visibility treads on all steps and stairs
- Installed drop handled hand rails on both sides of all stairs
- Ensure all corridors, studios, exits and gallery space are well lit
- Provide a rear access chairlift & toilet facilities for less able bodied persons
- Ensure gallery staff are trained in all aspects of health and safety, procedures in case of a fire and assisting disabled persons
- Provision of a spare wheelchair and wheelchair ramps for small steps
elysium Gallery understands the importance of an organisation being able to provide full access to all types of disability. One stumbling block has been the cost of a rear access wheelchair lift (approx £21,000) which is beyond the organisations budget and would put an end to the project if forced to install one straight away, also a full lift has been ruled out due to the buildings limitations. As an alternative Elysium Gallery have provided a stair lift and trained persons to assist people on and off the lift. All Elysium publicity materials outline the buildings access facilities and both entrances would are fitted easy exit and access push-bar fittings with a doorbell intercom system.
If you have difficulty accessing Elysium Gallery please contact us either via email or phone 07980925449 beforehand to arrange assistance and access to our rear entrance stair lift or ring the front entrance door buzzer at the top of the stairs. Unfortunately we are unable at this time to assist people who are permanent wheelchair users who are unable to use the stair lift.
Future engagement objectives (to all be in place by 2017)
Elysiumgallery are liaising with Disability Arts Wales to aid with improving current accessibility & exhibitions engagement.
Key points we are currently looking at are:
Website: Add info on nearby disabled parking spaces & add how to get to the venue/directions
Clearer signage around building
When e- information is sent out, make sure there is a choice of email or hard copy
Provide large print copies
Marketing: Leaflets and booklets easy to read (large Font – ie. Arial 14 to 16)
Ensure leaflets give any details of accessibility
Information Films in gallery or online with subtitles or large print transcriptions
Tours of gallery space for visually impaired visitors:
Offer Audio description – tour with descriptions of paintings/artwork either in person by gallery staff or using an app or download and market it to relevant communities.
Large print signage on walls by artwork
Films/interviews with artists and curators on hand for visually impaired visitors
Staff training – Awareness of communication
Staff confidence about communication with disabled people, For example:
Deaf/hard of hearing people – speaking clearly, nothing covering face, not facing away whilst talking.
At public events make space for people with mobility impairments and have seating at the front for deaf and visually impaired people.
Talks for deaf or hard of hearing people: Long term plan
To provide sign language interpretation for sign language users and/or palantypist (speech to text/captioning) for deaf or hard of hearing people who do not use sign language; this needs to be used in conjunction with advertising the accessible event to the deaf community and other deaf people.