It is important to create an accessibility statement for all of your events. If you are a venued company, you should also have an accessibility statement for the spaces that you regularly work in. An accessibility statement can be quite broad or quite specific. Remember: each person is unique and you can't know the accessibility needs of everyone curious about your event. It's best to just accurately list the access features of your space, and leave it to those who know their accommodation needs to make their own choices about whether it is accessible for them or not. Give as much information as you can and provide a phone number for someone to call where their questions may be answered - the person on the other end of that number should have all the answers or be able to provide a quick turnaround time to be able to respond.
Some of the access categories you may consider are:
- Vision: People who are blind or have low vision
- Hearing: People who are Deaf, deafened, or have hearing loss
- Mobility: People who use a mobility device such as a wheelchair, scooter, canes, walker, crutches
- Chemical Sensitivities such as reactions to scents or perfumes
- Food allergies which can range in severity and sensitivity
- EMS (Electromagnetic Sensitivity)
- Invisible Disabilities (Arthritis, Epilepsy, Diabetes, etc.)
You may also consider speaking to the access needs of specific communities that have and continue to experience systemic oppression and hardship, including:
- Black communities
- Indigenous communities
- Folks who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+
Other folks who may experience barriers in accessing your event or space may include:
One way to create a fulsome accessibility statement is by going through the list of considerations for Audience Accessibility and answering each question in your statement.
Here is a check-list or entry way into starting your accessibility statement:
- Entrance: If there are stairs, how many? Is the door automatic? Is there someone at the door available to help? Is there a temporary ramp that can be laid out?
- Washrooms: Are they on the same floor as the main part of the event in the venue? Are they gendered? Are they single-user washrooms (one small lockable room containing a sink, toilet and/or urinal) or multi-user washrooms (multiple stalls with a shared sink)? Are there any stairs to them? Is there a stall with transfer bars? Is there an accessible stall that has a lock/needs a security guard to open it ? Is there an automatic door with automatic lock and unlock buttons? Is the sink and paper towel / hand drier something that is designed to accommodate wheelchair users?
- Seating and Priority areas: What's the general seating situation? Are there priority seating areas for disabled people, injured people, and those with reduced mobility? If so, where? Is there an area for full-time mobility device users to attend the event or watch the show?
- ASL and Transcription: Are there A.S.L. and/or written materials available for the HoH and d/Deaf community? What accommodations are available? Who is the point of contact when it comes to accessing accommodations?
- Accommodations for partially sighted and blind folks: What is the event offering to accommodate?
- Support Persons: Can disabled people bring a support person free of charge?
- Strobe lights, fog machines, etc: Give folx notice if these effects will be used
- Barriers: If the venue is not AODA Compliant, list the barriers that exist
- Contact for Facilitating Accessibility for the event: Post the name and email/phone etc of the person people can reach out to in the event and on ticketing pages. Ensure that the information is easily findable and that those folks are easily reachable.
Remember that adding accessibility information to your website and event listings is important, but also on-site signage is very important. Be sure your events also include signage to support those with accessibility needs in navigating once they arrive.
Being inclusive usually takes more thought and more words than just stating that your event is for women and non-binary people. This series of Instagram posts by @_steviewrites breaks down why being inclusive usually takes more thought and more words than just stating that your event is for women and non-binary people, and how to ensure that your accessibility statement speaks directly to the communities you are hoping to reach.