The British Council, working in partnership with Attitude is Everything, organised an online seminar and workshop focusing on accessibility and inclusion for deaf and disabled people from 16 to 23 February 2021.

Attitude is Everything is a disability-led charity in the UK with 20 years of experience of supporting non-profit and commercial organisations to make their programmes and events more accessible and inclusive for deaf and disabled people.

As various British Council reports on disability indicate, there are very few opportunities for people with disabilities for education, employment and skills development in Pakistan. Same is true for opportunities for the disabled community to engage in arts and social events due to challenges relating to accessibility and support provisions.

To look at the concepts of how some disabled persons may be discriminated against within society and steps that can be taken to remove this discrimination, the seminar and workshop introduced the social model, which is a way of looking at disability, designed and advocated by and for the disabled community. Sharing the key concepts of accessibility, Gideon Feldman, the facilitator for these sessions and Head of Programmes at Attitude is Everything, stated that ‘access is about identity, connection, passion and escapism.’

The sessions were attended by a group of arts organisations such as arts and culture centres, festivals and biennales, public art organisations, and the museums and heritage sector.

Gideon shared a DIY Access Guide developed by Attitude is Everything for arts programmes and venues which will be available in Urdu.

The workshop gave participants a chance to review their customer journey from the perspective of accessibility, and to work with one another and develop action plans to provide access information on their websites and embed support provision in their events and projects.

When asked whether taking part in the session influenced their approach to their organisation’s work, one participant belonging to the museums and heritage sector responded: ‘yes, I feel much more inspired to initiate and adopt practices that aim to remove barriers faced by disabled people, whether these are physical, social, or cultural barriers. With time, we can hope to see a change in the way that disabilities are viewed and move towards a more inclusive and accessible world.’

These sessions also gave the participants the opportunity to network and exchange knowledge and ideas; some of them have expressed their interest in forming an ‘access group,’ a network of cultural organisations working towards becoming more accessible and inclusive. The British Council and Attitude is Everything are happy to work with them to support them on their journey towards accessibility.

Attitude is Everything are available to help organisations develop their thoughts and plans around improving their access.