MA to offer translation service at disability access seminar

Nicola Sullivan, 26.08.2015
Places still available for Opening Doors seminar
A speech-to-text translation service will be available for delegates attending a one-day seminar hosted by the Museums Association (MA) to exploring some of the practical ways that museums can address disabled access, participation and representation.
The service, provided by the charity Stagetext, will display the words of speakers presenting sessions on a large screen in front of the audience. For museum tours the service can be adapted so that translated text appears on tablet devices.
Deepa Shastri, the talks programme manager at Stagetext, says: “ A good number of museums in London have been successful in implementing the service and last year Stagetext live subtitled over 100 events. It’s slowly happening in other regions but there’s still a way to go to ensure countrywide provision for the many people who could benefit.”
Opening doors: Rethinking disabled access and interpretation in your museum 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 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.

Shastri and Adam Werlinger from Stagetext will also share best practice guidance on providing access to deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors. Becki Morris, the collections assistant at Heritage and Culture Warwickshire, will explore how visitors with dyslexia and other neurodiversity conditions experience museums.

As part of the day, Morris will launch the Disability Cooperative Network’s new website. There will also be a chance to see the Royal College of Physicians exhibition Re-framing Disability, and to hear senior curator Emma Shepley explain how the exhibition, which explored four centuries of hidden history through contemporary responses from disabled people, was put together.

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.
Timetable and booking information for Opening Doors