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World Stories Gallery

Posted by Sarah Playforth, Monday 9th July, 2012

World Stories and Brighton & Hove Museums Access Advisory Group - an example to all

My passion and commitment has always been in removing barriers to access for all to all that society has to offer, whether it is employment, leisure, events, performances or exhibitions. I have been fortunate in having had many opportunities to demonstrate that commitment in my work and one of those opportunities was to be invited on to the Access Advisory Group for Brighton & Hove Museums. This is a group of disabled people and people who work with disabled people who have a range of conditions and many relevant professional skills. Its purpose and function is: • To make sure that Brighton & Hove Museums are accessible to all • To share personal and professional experiences of disability and of barriers faced • To have input into the exhibitions so that everyone can have access to them

The group has been in existence for almost two years and the World Stories Gallery is the first project for the group, with more planned. This gallery, opened to the public June 23rd 2012 to mark the 2012 Olympic Games, displays Brighton Museum’s collections from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific alongside contemporary art. The gallery is primarily aimed at young people but is of interest to all museum developed in partnership with young people from Brighton & Hove, together with active involvement from communities around the world. The main aim of the gallery is to increase understanding of different cultures and explore ways in which we are similar and ways in which we are different.

World Stories has an amazing array of technical support to meet the exacting standards of the Access Advisory Group and offers an exciting and interactive gallery experience.

With another group member, I also devised and delivered a training programme for frontline staff to support them to feel confident in explaining the gallery’s accessibility and demonstrating the technology.

• All films in the gallery have BSL In Vision • All text is in plain English
• QR codes have BSL version
• User tested computer terminal in gallery with BSL, screen reading software and enlarged text
• RNIB PenFriend gives audio-description for blind and partially sighted visitors and those with learning difficulties

The World Stories Gallery is an example of what can be achieved by effective consultation and involvement from the start of planning. The museum staff were receptive and made frequent changes to original plans to meet our suggestions for accessibility. It would be a very different world for people who experience barriers in everyday life if the same process was mandatory for all new projects.

Sarah Playforth

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Monday 30th July, 2012

Colin Hambrook

I really forward to finally having a look in this new gallery. It sounds like a brilliant piece of best practice in terms of access.

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