Disability Equality Scheme

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2. Involving disabled people in improving access to the Gallery's collection and its supporting facilities

The Access Group was set up in 1995 to review the Gallery's provision for visitors and staff with disabilities; to make improvements where and when possible; and to develop a programme for the future. Since then, the Gallery has involved and consulted disabled people in devising and developing its programmes.

The Gallery's first access audit was carried out by the Joint Mobility Unit of the RNIB and the GDBA.

Before initiating a scheme to provide access to the collection for those with visual impairments, the Gallery held a seminar to consult as widely as possible. Among those attending were representatives from Art through Touch, the Royal London Society for the Blind, In Touch, Islington, MAGDA, and the Living Paintings Trust as well as a number of individuals including regular Gallery visitors with sight impairment. The Gallery also worked closely with the RNIB in developing the resultant scheme.

Having set up a programme for hearing impaired people, the Gallery began working with a 'Deaf Host', an artist living and working in London, to meet and greet BSL users on arrival at the Gallery, to answer their questions, and following their tour to gather their comments. The resulting information has been used to influence ongoing enhancement of the programme.

The Gallery's new interactive computer system, ArtStart, was developed from the early planning stage, with the Digital Media Access Group at Dundee University. The Group conducted tests with users aged 17 to 70 who possessed a variety of cognitive and visual impairments such as dyslexia and age-related macular degeneration. The resulting report was used to make modifications to the system such as increasing in size certain on-screen texts.

Next: Progress against objectives