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Lara

Lara Torr

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: South Australia Social Welfare > Disabilities
To explore creative and pioneering disability access initiatives in the museum sector - UK, Spain, USA, Canada
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Between 29 July and 22 September 2017, I travelled to the USA, Canada, Spain and the UK to visit museums and meet with disability access advocates. I hoped to explore a variety of approaches to museum access; ascertain what constitutes best practice internationally; attempt to map the ways in which museums build a culture of access, and understand the barriers which contribute to Australia’s slow adoption of museum access.

Highlights

  • Visiting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and exploring their design-led approach to universal access
  • Discussing intersectionality and unsegregated accessible programming at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • Observing and researching programs for people living with dementia the Frye Art Museum and the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery
  • Exploring models for autism-friendly programming at the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Transit Museum and the Natural History Museum
  • Discovering the MoMA’s approach to long-term access partnerships, in addition to regular public programs
  • Learning about models for the curation of access at Tate Modern and Glasgow Museums/Glasgow Life

Recommendations 

Here’s my recommendation for elevating access in Australian museums: first, make it someone’s job. Then, make it everyone’s job. This recommendation should be supported by the following:

  • Internal, museum-wide access committees
  • Extensive external consultation with people with disability and, where possible, projects developed in partnership with disabled people
  • Regular, disability-led access and equality training for all public-facing staff
  • Implementation of universal design principles at all stages of museum redevelopment and exhibition design
  • Consideration of access beyond audience development- this must flow through to employment opportunities and content selection
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