We began our tour at the London College of Design where we met Rama Gheerawo Deputy Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, who gave us a wonderful perspective on inclusive planning teams--including designer, caregiver and user at the table from the start. His students created innovative designs for living, only after the designers met with people in the community to get a true perspective on their needs.
Later, we visited the Royal Court Theater where we learned of the extensive renovation that was done on this historic theater. Every floor is now fully accessible. The theater's backstage is also accessible to accommodate any actors and crew with disabilities.
In addition, the Theater has developed a series of regularly scheduled Accessible Performances:
- Captioned Performances
- British Sign Language Interpreted Performances
- Audio- Performances
- Relaxed Performances for people with autism spectrum disorders
In Massachusetts, the American Repertory Theater has begun to implement similar programs, inspired by the work at the Royal Court Theater.
Here is a link to their new programs
The Natural History Museum engaged an artist who could create bronze tactile models of fossils so everyone could touch and feel the contours of the trilobite and Nautilus.
This isn’t just for the person you know who is a wheelchair user, the friend who is visually impaired, or the child who wears a cochlear implant for his congenital deafness. It’s for the mother with a baby on her back and a sleeping toddler in a stroller; it’s for the all-star athlete who is in a straight-legged brace for his torn ACL; and it’s for the father-in-law who can not hear in restaurants or navigate the halls in low lighting.
Designs that make our Commonwealth and our cultural institutions more accessible to some will make them more accessible to ALL.