Accessibility Toolkit by Tangled Art & Disability and Humber College
This Accessibility Toolkit is intended to inform and educate the following: students, artists, arts organizations, curators, program directors, volunteers, and gallery staff.
Accessible and inclusive arts practice and presentation seeks to include, rather than exclude, as many people as possible.
The Accessibility Toolkit is intended to inform and educate the following: students, artists, arts organizations, curators, program directors, volunteers, and gallery staff. Developed by, and in consultation with, disability- identified, Deaf and Mad artists, people with lived experience, curators and
performers, this toolkit is one that art spaces can use to further develop and implement inclusive programming.
The presentation of art is complex. Art exhibitions and presentations showcase objects that appeal to and connect with human senses. Art expresses and communicates emotions and ideas. It is important to recognize that audiences are diverse, and art exhibitions must respond to a number of factors – including gender and cultural equity, diferent learning styles, alternative ways of presentation, and inclusive accessible design (Smithsonian, n.d.)1. Historically, persons with disabilities have been excluded from art galleries, museums and performances because of inaccessible places and spaces. Because disability-identifed people are part of the audience, accessible design should be part of the initial development process for all exhibitions and performances, not an afterthought. If a design is inclusive, everyone benefts (Smithsonian, n.d.)1.
The Accessibility Toolkit is a collaboration between students and faculty members of Humber College, and artists from Tangled Art + Disability (TAD). TAD is a Toronto-based disability arts organization dedicated to supporting Deaf, Mad and disability-identifed artists, cultivating disability arts in Canada, and enhancing access to the arts for audiences, artists and arts leaders. TAD prioritizes inclusivity through an accessible, inclusive and disability justice lens in curatorial, programming, and art-making practices. Deaf, Mad and disability-identifed communities inform the administrative and governance structure of the organization. We want to recognize that disability-identity is fuid and changing and not all people ‘identify’ but do come to community with a similar sharing of experiences. This project documents knowledge and leadership shared by Deaf, Mad and disability-identifed artists, TAD staf and board of directors, Humber College students and faculty, and people with lived experience in response to the question: How do we make the presentation of art inclusive and accessible?
Guidelines from TAD (consultant Lindsay Fisher), The Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design, and Shape Arts have also informed the project. We follow the curatorial practice of Amanda Cachia, Eliza Chandler, and Sean Lee, among others.