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From Ripple Effect Deaf Arts Program 2015/The Catalyst Dance @ Carriageworks courtesy of Accessible Arts.


Making your venue and events more accessible and inclusive of people living with disability

You'll Discover:

  • Checklists, easy solutions and cost-effective ways to make your venue more accessible.
  • Organisations that can assist with grants to help upgrade your venue with disability-friendly additions.
  • Training available for staff to welcome patrons living with disability appropriately.

Over 20% of Australia’s population live with a disability. Of those people, approximately 86% “experience limitations in core activities (such as self care, mobility or communication), or restrictions in schooling or employment.” according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Wether you've got great policies in place already or you're just starting out, read on for tips and resources to make your venue more accessible for staff, performers and patrons living with a disability.


Checklists and accessibility at your venue

If you've been planning to make adjustments to your venue, the resources below are a great starting point.

Accessible Arts Australia provide handy venue and event access checklists here on their website. They also provide consultation services to assess a venue and provide suggestions on improvements.

HLS Heathcare outline a number of steps in making your venue accessible for those who may have mobility issues. These range from bathroom upgrades, portable ramps and wider walkways.

For ideas on how you can adjust your venue, take a look at this DIY guide, put together by Attitude is Everything UK.

Image shows a wheelchair rolling down a metal portable ramp which is placed over some stairs.
Image courtesy of www.stepsto.com.au.

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Employing Staff

You can actively seek out employees who live with disability through channels such as JobAccess, local Disability Employment Services and also the Employment Assistant Fund - which according to jobsearch.gov.au can give “financial help to employers for work-related equipment, modifications and services to adjust the workplace to suit employees with disability.”

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Training existing staff

Using appropriate language and knowing when to give help and assistance without offending a person are just a couple of things your staff should know.

Accessible Arts run training workshops for many small-to-large businesses, providing practical solutions for venues to welcome people with disability. There are also some great tips on how to welcome a customer with disability via the Australian Network of Disability.

Poster shows 10 things that a venue can do when putting on their own gig. It includes offering free tickets for personal assistants, providing clear information about venue access, inviting specific requests, setting up an accessible viewing location, questioning whether strobe lighting is necessary, providing captions, if there is an accessible toilet - making sure it is in order, setting up a quiet room, reporting harassment and ensuring bar service is accessible.
Image from DIY Guide, Attitude Is Everything UK.

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Working within your venue's limitations

Your venue, like most will have limitations in place when it comes to accomodating its patrons. Perhaps its located on the second level, maybe your stage is raised and there is not much space near the front. City of Sydney offers specific grants for live music venues which could support venue upgrades, including making your venue more accessible. Beyond building upgrades, there are a number of simple steps you can take to support patrons with both physical and neurological disabilities, no matter what your current limitations are.

Another organisation who might be able to assist is Gig Buddies, who work to pair up people with and without disabilities to build friendships and to go to events together. Accommodating for those working with Gig Buddies could be a great step to making your venue more inclusive.

Image shows a Facebook post by a Melbourne-based musician called Magnets. She outlines her experience at a gig with strobe lighting, and how it causes her to experience sickness and discomfort due to epilepsy. She outlines some points that venues could adopt to make shows accessible to people suffering from epilepsy, autism or other neurological conditions. These include avoiding flash photography, strobe lighting, shining lights directly at audiences, keep stable lighting. If venues can't avoid these things, then she encourages them to pre-warn patrons via email or website. She also encourages prospective patrons to email the organisers ahead of time to find out this information.
Image courtesy of Magents.

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For more information on this topic, there are a number of organisations that you can contact:

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