Exploring accessible practices for artists
Access & Diversity
Resources from a series of workshops with artists exploring accessible practices
Without Walls is committed to exploring ways to ensure that everyone has access to the great outdoor work we support. With this in mind we have developed a number of resources and training opportunities to help Without Walls artist companies interrogate their projects and identify creative ways of embedding access into their shows, reducing or removing barriers to d/Deaf and Disabled audiences and performers.
In April 2021, we hosted a series of free accessible practice workshops for companies led by Alex Covell (Access Producer, FESTIVAL.ORG, Without Walls Access Advisor) who shared examples and led artists through the processes of actively creating their own access materials and developing skills to continue to make more inclusive work.
An overview of the workshop content and resources is available below.
Workshop One - Access Rider, Resource Kit and Media Information
We explored how we can more effectively share our inclusion and access practice with our festivals and events organisers.
Similar to a Tech Rider, artists were invited to make their Access Rider to share standardised information about the production so that festivals can share this information with ease to the audiences.
We also looked at what BSL Interpreters, Audio Describers, Access Managers and the Marketing Teams will need and how artists can best share this information; how to use Alt Text to describe your images; and language around Content and Trigger Warnings.
Explore the presentation and resources below.
Workshop Two - Easy Read, Visual Story and Relaxed Performance Pack
‘Easy Read’ refers to the presentation of text in an accessible, easy to understand format. It is often useful for people with learning disabilities, and neurodiverse people to support with processing information. Visual Stories, or Relaxed Packs are different names for ‘Easy Read’ Information.
This workshop looked at the principles of Plain Language and Easy Read. Through a tutorial, artists worked together to make their own Easy Read information for productions. We also discussed what it means to be a ‘Relaxed Performance’ and how we communicate this with our cast and audiences.
Easy Read principles are:
- Words: Use the most straightforward way of communicating what you are saying.
- Images: Illustrate each section/ idea with a clear image. This could be a photo, symbol or icon.
- Layout: It should be designed clearly and easy to follow. Keep images on the left and writing on the right.
What information should we offer in Easy Read?
- Content and Trigger Warnings
- Social Context
- Photo Routes (for the event)
- Learning Resource/ Education Pack
Easy Read formatting is used in: Relaxed Performance Packs, Visual Stories, Social Stories
More examples can be found: festival.org/digital-access
Download or view the presentation and notes from this workshop below.
Workshop Three - Inclusive devising practice, with Stopgap Dance Company
This session looked directly at the devising process and the choices that artists make to consider the aesthetics of accessibility within their practice. The session explored Stopgap‘s inclusive practice and shared the value of diverse perspectives, and ‘blending’ narratives.
They looked at how they ‘translate’ their practice and use open language to shift perspectives from a traditional dance rehearsal space. We explored best practices when working outdoors, audio description in practice, and the benefits of working with disabled artists.
This session used dance practice and was useful for all artists who wanted to develop their inclusive ways of working.
Additional Research links from the workshop:
Read about Disability Models here
Explore Movement Translation Tools here
Explore BSL by watching: Follow The Signs | Chris Fonseca & Harry Jardine
Try out Stopgap’s ‘Home Practice’ videos on youtube here
Watch the recording of Stopgap’s workshop below