What’s next for accessibility within the arts?
Obviously, with the current covid lockdowns and restrictions (I’m refusing to use capital letters when I type covid, as it just provides unnecessary added alarm to the situation), physically visiting arts venues may be looking like little more than a daydream of something we may experience again one day in the future. Did we ever experience it pre-covid? We don’t know, it seems just a distant past….
However, one wonderful bi-product of this, is that museums, theatre and galleries are now hurriedly trying to transpose their carefully curated collections and performances onto virtual platforms. On the surface, this means a huge move forward in terms of removing the many intersecting barriers to accessing art, which is indeed very exciting. But just to what extent will the multiple forms of ‘access’ that we have been advocating for over the years be incorporated into the transition process as institutions move to online platforms?
Will people be required to pay large sums for tickets or subscriptions in order to access online exhibitions?
Will there be image descriptions?
Will prerecorded or live video tour-guides and lecturers be accompanied by BSL interpreters? Will there be an option to translate into different languages?
Will there be a braille pamphlet be produced for each exhibition with accompanying image descriptions?
I’d be super interested to hear from anyone in the arts sector who has been looking to virtualise art that is usually live and/or physical exhibition-based to find out more about what kind of things have been considered as part of the process in terms of engaging audiences.
And for the rest of us – what do we think will happen? What would you like to see be given a new, access-from-home online platform?
Over and out comrades.