Information on writing an access document for disabled artists

Guise to making an access doc (text only)

 Guide to making an access doc

Downloadable Template

The ones we’ve seen and made for ourselves have generally been a text document with bullet points, but you can do whatever’s best for you, bearing in mind it needs to be clear.

Some questions you might want to ask yourself when writing the doc are:

  • What access barriers have I encountered in the past and how could these have been navigated?

  • What would stop me from being able to do the project at all? How can I be facilitated?

  • What situations do I expect to be in during an upcoming project, and what barriers might I encounter there?

  • What about being around during an install? Speaking at an event? How can my access needs in those instances be facilitated?

  • Would it be helpful to add ‘This is negotiable’ or ‘This is non-negotiable’ next to any individual points?

You don’t have to explain why you need each thing. You should feel empowered, not exposed by this. For example, if you know you’ll need to be able to get to a toilet quickly at all times, you can just say that, and don’t have to explain that it’s because you have IBS.

Using your access doc

The point at which you introduce the organisation you’re working with to your access doc will probably depend on your access needs, the specific project you’re working on, and your personal preference. Again, you shouldn’t feel exposed by sharing the document with someone you’re working with, so you don’t have to share it as soon as you’ve made contact (unless you want to). You might want to think about whether the opportunity being offered will be possible without your access needs being met, and if not it would probably be best to introduce it sooner rather than later so you’re not wasting your time and energy on something that won’t come into fruition. You might also want to think about what stage in your working relationship with the organisation will your access needs come into play. Will responding to emails take longer? Will attending a site visit mean specific accommodation? The earlier you introduce your doc the more possible it is for planning to happen around your needs. One option could be to make it clear that you have an access doc earlier in the conversation, and then sending it when it’s relevant.

You might also want to think about how private you want the doc to be. Are you happy for it to be shared with all staff at the organisation? Just the curator/your main contact? What about technicians?

It might make sense to make an access needs conversation separate from other conversations, so if this is happening by email, then start a new thread. This can help keep communication clear and make sure your access needs aren’t missed. You might even want to write in the email you attach your doc to that you need acknowledgement of receipt of the doc, and confirmation that it’s been read and agreed with.

We’ve written the template with numbered headings and lettered subheadings because this can make it easier for you to discuss individual points with the people you’re working with.