Access Weekender

Access Weekender

In June 2023, Zoo Co ran London Borough Of Culture – This is Croydon’s Access Training Weekend. The event featured over £300 worth of free training per person and was made available to all individuals taking part in this year’s London Borough of Culture activity.

The Access Training Weekend took place over 2 days, with participants encouraged to join all of the sessions, or to pinpoint those which would be most useful to them and their team.

Over these two days, Zoo Co (as part of LBoC’s Access Advisory Group) brought together a range of incredible Access Consultants. With lived experience they were best placed to bring training and awareness sessions on welcoming and catering to deaf, visually impaired, neurodiverse, learning disabled and physically disabled audience members and artists. The sessions included:

  • Deaf Consultancy with Rupal Chandi
  • An interview with Meg Fozzard about Physical Disability and Brain Injury
  • Neurodiversity Consultancy with Vijay Patel and Flo O’Mahony
  • V.I Consultancy with Yusuf Osman
  • Learning Disability & Autism Consultancy with Emma Selwyn and Katie Wheeler at Access All Areas
  • Access Management with Fleur Rooth at Zoo Co

The Access Training Weekender was run as a “relaxed event” (like a Relaxed Performance), showcasing accessible practice with BSL interpreters, captions, audio description and support workers available. The venue had step free access throughout and a live stream was made available to anyone who could not attend in person.

This event came about as a direct result of the AAG’s Access Manifesto which states ‘accessibility will drive the quality and innovation of our bustling London Borough of Culture program, not only for disabled people, but for everybody. As such we believe it is an essential radical step that beginner level access training is provided, free of charge, to all organisations planning activity as part of the This is Croydon programme, and beyond.

We know that change does not happen unless we bravely embrace it and that it does not happen overnight. After attending the training weekender we hope you will feel more empowered to ambitiously raise the bar from wherever your starting point is, when it comes to asking what being This is Croydon – London Borough of Culture 2023 means to disabled artists and audiences, by tackling systemic ableism and access barriers head on.

Quotes from the weekend:

“I felt the weekend expanded my awareness
& gave me a starting point to do further learning.”

……

“It gave me a lot to consider of how/what to consider
to make spaces/events/social interactions more
welcoming/accessible.”

……

“I feel I have information I can leave with and apply
to my daily life as well as professional work.”

……

“It was really useful to hear from so many people with
lived experience. It was useful to learn about accessibility in the context of theatre and the arts!”

……

“This was mind-blowing and super generous!”

……

“It was hugely inspiring, informative and educational”