We hear from Matthew Cock about how VocalEyes, a charity which works with arts organisations to identify and remove barriers to access and inclusion, recruited 50 volunteers to conduct important accessibility research.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant is helping us recruit, support and empower a diverse team of around 50 D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent volunteers to visit the websites of over 3,000 cultural heritage sites and record the information they provide – or fail to provide – in support of visitors who require access facilities and resources.
Using this data, and what we learn from our volunteers’ own experiences of barriers to access at venues and online, we’ll be sharing the ‘State of Heritage Access 2022’ and best practice recommendations in a sector report available later in the year. We are also aiming to share the report, with venue benchmarks, in online sessions and at sector conferences.
Alongside the volunteer researchers, a key factor in the success of the project is the amazing partner and advisory group we have, with people from over a dozen organisations bringing expertise in access and inclusion, heritage volunteering, digital media and data management.
The group is committed to the legacy of the project, and will oversee the development of a toolkit for the museum and heritage sector to show how organisations can also recruit, manage and learn from digital volunteers – and support them in a welcoming, accessible and inclusive environment.
This also feeds into our organisational development plans as we evolve from an access organisation into one that supports other arts organisations to embed inclusive and anti-ableist practice in the workplace and their activities.
The NLHF’s digital volunteering funding has meant we can do this in a considered, collaborative and evaluated manner that will have a legacy for years to come.
Offer: 10% off new MA memberships for volunteers
Volunteers' Week, 1-7 June 2022
To celebrate the contributions of the museum sector’s wonderful volunteers this Volunteers’ Week, enjoy a 10% discount on your new MA individual membership with the code VOLUNTEER10 until Friday 10 June.