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 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.

Featured image: Frock by Stopgap Dance Company at Hat Fair

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.

Access Rider and Alt Text

Presentation about creating an Access Rider and using Alt Text

Access Rider Template

Template document for creating an Accessibility and Inclusion Rider

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?

  • Programme
  • Synopsis
  • 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.

Creating an Easy Read - Notes

Notes from the workshop about creating an Easy Read

Creating an Easy Read - Presentation

Presentation from the workshop about creating an Easy Read

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 

Delve into Captions with:
Artist Christine Sun Kim Rewrites Closed Captions | Pop-Up Magazine
Post Malone, Swae Lee – Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
I, Nyx by Sophie Stone

Watch Stopgap’s Film Artificial Things audio described by Rationale Method (extract) here
Transcripts – Here is a transcript of the excerpt talking about AD + dance

Try out Stopgap’s ‘Home Practice’ videos on youtube here

Watch the recording of Stopgap’s workshop below