Re-framing disability at the Royal College of Physicians

Museums disability network to launch

Nicola Sullivan, 22.07.2015
Network will be unveiled at MA seminar on disabled access
A specialist network designed to share best practice and information on how museums can increase access for people with disabilities will be launched at a conference and MP seminar organised by the Museums Association (MA).

The Disability Cooperative Network and pilot website, established up by Heritage Culture and Warwickshire, the RAF Museum in London and the Horniman Museum and Gardens, will be unveiled on 15 September at Opening doors: Rethinking disabled access and interpretation in your museum

The network will collect best practice case studies and information on how museums can cater for visitors and employees with disabilities.

Advice will be given on what measures museums can implement to increase access, such as creating clear floorplans for visitors or providing ear defenders for parts of exhibitions or displays that involve loud noises for people with sensory sensitivities associated with conditions like autism.

The network’s website will also provide links to relevant services, such as the government’s Access to Work programme.

Becki Morris, the 
collections assistant
 at Heritage and Culture Warwickshire (HCW), says: “At the moment there is a lot of infomration floating around Google and it is very difficult to find out what you want in respect to access and information. The network is about creating a platform to collect all of this information and case studies.”

Opening doors has been developed in response to the artist and performer Mat Fraser’s keynote at the MA’s 2014 annual conference in Cardiff, when he challenged the museum sector to change people’s perception of disabled people and find new ways to represent their stories and experiences. 

Speakers at Opening doors include Jocelyn Dodd and Richard Sandell from the University of Leicester, who will explore the potential for museums to reframe collective attitudes towards difference. 

Trizia Wells, the inclusion manager at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, will share how its award-winning access programme has been embedded throughout the museum.

Anna Harnden, the museums, galleries and heritage programme manager at VocalEyes, will lead a participatory exercise around interpreting objects, discuss some of the specific barriers facing blind and partially-sighted museum visitors, and share ideas for overcoming them.

Deepa Shastri and Adam Werlinger from Stagetext will also share best practice guidance on providing access to deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors.

Tony Heaton, the chief executive of Shape Arts, will chair the day. 

Opening doors takes place on 15 September at the Royal College of Physicians in London.


Opening doors timetable and booking information


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Becki Morris
MA Member
Collections Assistant, Market Hall Museum
17.09.2015, 17:16
Hi, really enjoyed this event and a great opportunity to launch the network. The website is now live and please follow on @museumdcn
Sarah Kay
MA Member
Digitisation and Exhibition Officer, Bletchley Park Trust
23.07.2015, 09:59
Booked my ticket to Opening doors, and very interested to find out more about the network. Super work!