While the general programme of activities in an arts organisation will be of interest to disabled people, any barriers to accessibility must be overcome. When planning a programme, consultation with disabled people plays a key role and some disabled people may have a particular interest in Disability Arts
It is important to strive for maximum access at all times. For example, a visual arts venue should consider that some people will see an exhibition from a seated position. Précis, introductory talks, audio taped programmes, audio description tapes, audio and sign language interpreted tours, touch tables (tables with art objects which can be appreciated by touch) and thermoforms (three dimensional representations of two dimensional work that can be touched) are a few techniques to maximise access.
Employing Disabled People
Throughout Ireland, people with disabilities are under-represented in the workforce. Recent legislation addresses employment equality for disabled people. In the Republic of Ireland the Employment Equality Act, 1998 outlaws discrimination in employment and training on nine grounds, of which disability is one. It covers such matters as accessibility, equal pay, vocational training, work experience, working conditions, harassment, promotion and dismissal.
In the Republic of Ireland, there are many schemes which encourage employers to increase employment opportunities for disabled people. Such schemes cover all forms of employers, including arts organisations, and are administered by FÁS (the training and employment authority) in the Republic of Ireland.
- Back to Work Allowance Scheme
- CE (Community Employment) Scheme
- Workplace / Equipment Adaptation Grants
- Personal Reader Grant
- Employment Support Scheme
- Positive to Disability
- Job Interview Interpreter Grant
Details of the above schemes are available on the FÁS website www.fas.ie
In Northern Ireland, the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 makes it unlawful for employers to treat a disabled person less favourably than others for a reason connected to their impairment, unless there is a good cause.
Access to Work runs a number of schemes designed to help disabled people to overcome certain work-related obstacles. The schemes include:
- Communication support at interviews for deaf people
- Personal reader service for visually impaired people
- Special aids and equipment to assist disabled people in the workplace
- Modifications to premises and equipment to met the needs of disabled workers
- Support workers to assist people who need practical help getting to work or in the workplace
- Assistance with the cost of travelling to work for people who are unable to use public transport.
Details of these schemes are available from local Disablement Employment Advisors in local Job Centres or from the following website www.delni.gov.uk
On both sides of the border, the private sector has initiatives which promote the employment of disabled people.
In the Republic, information can be accessed through:
In Northern Ireland, the following site is useful:
All three sites are employer focused.