INTRODUCTION

At Patternmakers we strive to make our work as accessible as possible. We recently worked together develop an Access Statement for our work with Melbourne Fringe to evaluate their Access & Inclusion program. 

It got us thinking about how we can make other aspects of our work more accessible.

Here we share our intent for ALL future projects, and how we will consider accessibility and inclusion at every stage of our work.

ACCESS STATEMENT

Access is important to us. We’re committed to providing equal access to all stakeholders to participate in each project we undertake.

When undertaking a new project, we’ll identify all stakeholders and their needs early in the process. When communicating with stakeholders and participants, we’ll ask everyone about their access requirements, and set aside the resources to meet those requirements effectively. Thinking more broadly than the purely technical aspects of accessibility, we’ll be open, welcoming and encourage people to give us feedback, so we can adjust our approach accordingly. 

During our fieldwork, we make sure we establish informed consent to participate and we commit to meeting AMSRS guidelines for consent. 

When drafting documents, we’ll use a minimum of 12 point font, high contrasts between font and background colour and Plain English (sometimes with the addition of Easy English) wherever possible.

We understand the importance of considering time of day, duration and location of our fieldwork, and that sometimes assistance may be required from support workers, carers or parents for any fieldwork activities involving people with disability.

When inviting people to meet with us face to face, we’ll ask them whether they have any access requirements and make it clear that alternative participation options can be provided if required. We’ll then do everything within our capacity to ensure these requirements are met so that the person can fully participate without disadvantage. 

When selecting a venue to meet in, we’ll meet in venues that we know are fully accessible where possible. We’ll take into consideration access requirements that we’re aware of and if necessary, seek advice from the person we’re meeting with as to where might be an appropriate space for them.

When conducting surveys, we’ll ensure that surveys are designed in a universally accessible manner, using an accessible platform, with alternative options for those who may need to respond using a different format. 

Improving accessibility throughout our work will be ongoing journey and one we’ll continue to enhance and seek feedback on. We’re aware that by conducting our work in a manner that is as accessible as possible, we’re not only opening doors for more people to engage with us, but we’re also aiming to improve the experience for all people that we interact with throughout our work and daily life.  

To find out more about our experience conducting research with people with access needs, check out our previous posts on ‘Inclusive and Accessible research: what we learnt from evaluating Unlimited’ and ‘Is evaluation truly accessible?’

If you have questions or suggestions about access in research, please get in touch with us at info@thepatternmakers.com.au


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About the Author

Morwenna Collett
Senior Research Advisor, Accessibility

Morwenna is an experienced leader, project manager, lecturer and consultant. She brings significant arts and disability expertise to the Patternmakers team.