- Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno
- Oriel Davies, Newton
- Oriel Wrecsam
- The New Art Gallery Walsall
- Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
- Compton Verney, Warwickshire
- Four Corners, London
- Space, London
Key outcomes and achievements
Explore has enabled the partners to research the issues and understand the changes that might need to be made to current gallery practice in order to offer a sustained level of good access to disabled and deaf visitors.
All participating galleries have begun to make adjustments to their practices and facilities, and are planning with short, medium and long-term solutions in mind. For example, galleries are now offering information and services in alternative formats as a matter of course, are providing British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation at all public events, and are updating marketing techniques to ensure good communication with disabled and deaf audiences, and revising or writing Disability Action Plans.
Galleries learned through delivering practical arts projects, and through the various aspects of the training programme. The investment in the training aspects of the programme is proving to have been crucial in instigating organisational change.
All galleries report an attitudinal shift within their organisations and greater awareness of access issues. This is mostly due to the fact that elements of the training programme were attended by a range of staff from each organisation, as well as the key person working on Explore.
Most galleries have sustained and developed the relationships they made during the programme with artists, disability organisations and participants. Five out of the eight galleries are providing further projects and workshops for the participants they worked with during Explore. Two of these galleries have received funding for these activities based on their achievements participating in the Explore programme.
All galleries now have an improved set of contacts for their local disability and disability arts organisations, and are more confident about approaching access issues.
Engage and Shape launched the Explore Handbook in January 2009. Tate Britain kindly hosted the event, at which colleagues in visual arts, disability and deaf arts, funders and policymakers celebrated. Access Consultant Michèle Taylor spoke about the potential benefits of the publication and inspired guests to take on board, and act on, its advice.
In due course, it will be clearer how the Explore Handbook will impact on the visual arts sector. A large portion of the Handbook consists of key pieces of fundamental advice that will have meaning and importance for years to come, and both partners are confident that this will create sustainable benefits for arts organisations and in turn for disabled and deaf people.
What’s happened at the galleries since Explore finished?
Programmes for deaf visitors: Ikon now regularly programmes events with BSL and is noticing an increase in deaf and hearing-impaired visitor figures. Ikon employs deaf artists to lead tours and events, including one of the artists they worked with during Explore.
Partnership development: Ikon continues to develop its relationship with the Deaf Cultural Centre in Birmingham whom they worked with on Explore; meeting to share expertise and offer advice, with a view to Ikon improving what it offers to deaf and hearing-impaired audiences.
New project: Through connections made during Explore with artists, disability arts organisations and other galleries, Ikon will take part in a partnership with DASh (Disability Arts Shropshire) on a project called Outside IN. This is a three-year visual arts initiative working with a group of galleries across Wales and the West Midlands to promote and develop disabled and deaf artists, audiences and participants within the visual arts sector.
Dissemination to other galleries: At an engage Cymru seminar in March, Ikon presented a case study of their work on Explore to galleries across Wales, highlighting key learning outcomes and sharing good practice.
The New Art Gallery Walsall
Staff training and continued awareness-raising: The galley commissioned the artist they worked with to produced a resource pack for their front-of-house team. This pack, and a training day in April 2009 were specifically aimed at helping gallery staff improve their services for visitors with learning difficulties.
Strategic development: The gallery is using the Access Audit and the training provided to ensure it completes a Disability Action Plan in line with Arts Council requirements.
Dissemination to other galleries: At a training day organised by engage, the gallery will present a case study of their work on Explore to galleries from across the UK, highlighting key learning outcomes and sharing good practice with galleries who did not take part in Explore.
Programmes for visually impaired and blind visitors: The gallery is taking part in a UK wide programme called Art Speaking, organised by Art-Sense, a charity promote multi-sensory appreciation of art. The gallery will provide three audio described tours specifically for blind and visually impaired people.
New project: Through connections made during Explore with artists, disability arts organisations and other galleries, the gallery will take part in a partnership with DASh (Disability Arts Shropshire) on a project called Outside IN. This is a three year visual arts initiative working with a group of galleries across Wales and the West Midlands to promote and develop disabled and deaf artists, audiences and participants within the visual arts sector.
Strategic development: Compton Verney now has a Disability Equality Committee. The committee will take forward the information in the Access Audit and that from the training provided during Explore, to create a Disability Action Plan.
Continued staff training: Compton Verney will incorporate Disability Equality and in Audio Description into the induction for each years intake of seasonal staff.
Continued relationship with Explore participants: Compton Verney gave free membership to Explore project participants, some of whom are now regular visitors.
Continued relationship with Explore participants: With the support of a Beacon Award, Oriel Mostyn will extend its work the local with disability organisations and artists they worked with during Explore.
Website improvements: All information online will be translated into BSL.
Strategic development: Oriel Davies are drafting a Disability Action Plan. The actions therein will include minor changes to the building, a new website, as well as developing accessible interpretation and resource materials.
New project: Through connections made during Explore with artists, disability arts organisations and other galleries, Oriel Davies will take part in a partnership with DASh (Disability Arts Shropshire) on a project called Outside IN. This is a three year visual arts initiative working with a group of galleries across Wales and the West Midlands to promote and develop disabled and deaf artists, audiences and participants within the visual arts sector.
More workshops and continued relationships: The gallery has received funding from the Arts Council of Wales to deliver more projects like Explore with disabled and disadvantaged people. They will be running 32 workshops between March and July and will work with some of the same people from Explore, but will also work with those who expressed interest in Explore but could not take part.
Improvements to facilities and buildings: A planned refurbishment of the building will make use of the findings of the Access Audit carried out as part of Explore.
Partnership development and staff training: Since Explore, the gallery is partnering with North Wales Deaf Association, who will inform training and facilities improvements for the benefit of deaf and hearing-impaired visitors.
Continued relationship with Explore participants: Space has programmed another workshop with the deaf school and deaf artist they worked with. This will be part of an annual youth arts festival in Hackney, ensuring the deaf students take part in mainstream cultural provision.
Heightened awareness within the organisation: ‘Access’ is now an item on every agenda at Space meetings.
Strategic development: Space is using the Access Audit report as a basis for updating their Diversity Action Plan, which will include disability and access.
Four Corners, London
Continued relationship with Explore participants: Four Corners has secured funding from Awards for All to build on the work they delivered during Explore, and will work again with the disabled artist and disabled participants on more in-depth projects.