Tag Archives: Design For All

Made a museum a more welcoming place? Apply for a Design for All Foundation Award now!

Photo of Design for All Foundation Awards trophy

Are you passionate about opening up culture to everyone?

The Design for All Foundation is looking for the best Design for All projects undertaken between 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2013. If you’ve been involved in a an inspirational initiative to make a museum or cultural centre more inclusive, we want to hear from you. Be quick though – the deadline is 17 February.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony which will take place during the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne, giving your project the chance to shine in front of an international audience.

Find out more on the Design for All Foundation Awards 2013 website.

PS In need of inspiration? Have a look at the museum projects which reached the finals last year in our blog post. Or check out the full list of last year’s winners and finalists on the Design for Foundation website.

EBU Access to Culture Project 2011-2012

The European Blind Union (EBU) Access to Culture Project seeks to map current levels of accessibility to cultural venues and activities in Europe. According to EBU, the Access to Culture survey results show that Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provides for equal participation in cultural life, has so far been insufficiently implemented with regard to visually impaired people.

The project’s summary report outlines recommendations made by survey respondents, including the following:

  • implementing rights legislation to guarantee cultural accessibility
  • making accessibility a condition for the receipt of funding for culture
  • adopting an inclusve budget policy
  • involving all stakeholders at all stages of project development
  • applying Design for All principles

According to EBU Access to Culture Project Officer and cultural accessibility expert Marcus Weisen, the full report is due to be published within two months and will include good-practice case studies of museums, cinemas, theatres and tourist organisations in European countries.

Repost: TrendsWatch Report from The Center for the Future of Museums

TrendsWatch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future

trendswatchcoverTrendsWatch is a new annual report that helps museums paint a picture of the future, and find practical applications for the information presented in CFM’s  e-newsletter, Dispatches from the Future of Museums.

The inaugural issue of TrendsWatch—TrendsWatch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future—highlights seven trends that CFM’s staff and advisors believe are highly significant to museums and their communities, based on scanning and analysis over the past year:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Threats to Nonprofit Status
  • Mobile, distributive experiences
  • New forms of funding
  • Creative Aging
  • Augmented reality
  • Shifts in Education

For each trend, the report provides a summary, examples of how the trend is playing out in the world, comments on the trend’s significance to society and to museums, dozens of links to relevant news and research and suggestions for ways that museums might respond.

Download a copy of the report here

Museum exhibitions and cultural centres recognised at the Design for All Foundation Awards 2012

The Design for All Foundation Awards recognise projects which use Design for All as a tool to improve quality of life and, in so doing, draw international attention to organisations undertaking exemplary work in this field. This year there were almost 60 entries from 17 different countries, and the quality of the entries made the competition more difficult than ever before.

Museum and cultural exhibitions were represented strongly, with three cultural exhibitions reaching the finals. Demonstrating a range of approaches to creating exhibitions which more people can enjoy, they also provide an indication of the exciting variety of work being undertaken in this field.

First, we were treated to a glimpse of ancient Greece with From being accessible to becoming inclusive: The metamorphosis of a travelling exhibition, a project by Athens-based access professional Anastasia Kalou. The project involved the adaptation of an international travelling exhibition, “Myrtis: face to face with the past”, which presents the interdisciplinary journey leading to the reconstruction of the face of Myrtis, an 11-year-old Athenian girl of the fifth century B.C. Myrtis’ skull was found in a mass grave in Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery of Athens, and revealed the sudden cause of death of thousands of citizens, including the death of Pericles, the creator of the Athenian “Golden Age”.

Photograph of a man listening to an audio device while touching a tactile exhibitPhoto showing a man feeling tactile exhibits of skulls

Photo of a young boy standing on a step and looking into a microscope

The adaptation methodology was based upon Design for All principles to ensure all aspects of human diversity were respected, resulting in a multisensory exhibition which could be enjoyed by many different visitors. From the outset a focus group was involved to help ensure a holistic, human-centred design process.

Photo of  a tactile relief model being touched by different visitorsPhoto of a man handling a vase exhibit at the exhibition

Feedback so far suggests that providing different options for visitors to access information has led to an increase in visitor numbers as well as the demand for the exhibition to travel elsewhere, thus ensuring its sustainability while keeping within a tight budget. The exhibition is now more appealing to younger visitors, for whom touch is extremely important, as well as to older visitors with deteriorating hearing and vision. The exhibition encouraged local disability and community groups to cooperate, while museums which host the exhibition organise staff access training courses, and implement outreach programs even after the exhibition has ended.

The next finalist, Multi-sensory Exhibition Adaptations, was a joint project to adapt “In Arbeit”, an exhibition focusing on working life, for the Technological Museum in Vienna using a set of tactile materials, a navigation system and an audio guide. Exhibition adaptation specialists ArteConTacto teamed up with research institute VRVis, which was developing a computer-assisted process to develop images into tactile media.

A handmade architectural model of the exhibition space was created and mounted at the exhibition entrance at a height accessible to wheelchair users and children.

Photo showing handmade architectural model of the exhibition space

1:1 replicas of a selection of objects were also created, along with a 1:50 3D printout of one of the main exhibits, a giant melting pot.

Photo showing the scale model of the melting pot exhibit, including the model of a jug on a board to one side

Photo of the decoratively carved handle of a hunting knife

Photo showing a relief representation of the hunting knife being carved Photo showing an exhibit incorporating the relief representation of the hunting knife

A portable folder containing a tactile floor plan of the museum, as well as tactile diagrams of paintings and the logos of different sections of the exhibition, was also provided, while a tactile floor navigation system was used to connect selected objects.

All materials and navigation routes were described by the audio guide, developed in DAISY, a special format for audible books. The complete audio book can also be downloaded from the museum website, together with an audio description of how to get to the museum. Guided tours, individualised for the requirements of any visitors, are also provided by the museum to complement the other adaptations.

A working group was established with the aim of developing guidelines and technological tools for converting artworks into multisensory media. A video of the process can be found on the ArteConTacto website, while further photos can be seen in the “In Arbeit” blog post below.

Our last exhibition-focused finalist, EO Guidage, transported us to the land of the Lumières for their project to make the Cinémathèque Française accessible. Founded in 1936, the Cinémathèque Française is arguably the most famous film library and museum in the world. In 2005 it moved to a new building designed by Frank Gehri.

Following an access audit and user-needs analysis in 2008, EO Guidage began the installation of equipment to facilitate safe and independent use by all visitors. Folding chairs and wheelchairs are now available for mobility-impaired people, and there is step-free access to all floors.

Photo showing a corduroy tactile guidance strip on the floor leading to the reception deskPhoto showing a blister tactile warning strip at the top of a flight of stairs

Good visual contrast and Braille characters are used on signage, and audio signage can also be activated by remote control, while multimedia and tactile maps and guides also aid navigation and understanding.

Photo of a multisensory navigation stand, featuring a tactile map

Photo of a tactile floor plan being touched by a visitor

Isolated areas are equipped with flashing lights to help in the event of emergency evacuation. Audio guides with large contrasted keys are available, induction loops have been fitted, audio described screenings are regularly organised and visits translated into French sign language have been organised. Finally, all museum guides have also been trained to welcome people with learning disabilities.

Photo of a device to provide audio signals above a door with a close-up in an inset photo

Theatre workshop “A ciegas” (Madrid). Open call for students. Deadline: March 29, 2012


Taller de creación escénica “A ciegas”. Convocatoria pública

Hablar en Arte lanza una convocatoria pública para participar en un taller de experimentación teatral y de danza, cuyos alumnos -invidentes y videntes- investigarán a través del cuerpo y la voz sobre experiencias, clichés y otros conceptos sobre la ceguera. El taller consiste en la creación conjunta de una obra escénica que culminará con su estreno en el centro de creación contemporánea  Matadero Madrid.

Los tres profesores -Ismeni Espejel, Patricia Ruz y Victor Duplá- desarollarán el taller entre el 11 de abril y el 9 de junio de 2012, los lunes, miércoles y viernes entre las 10 y 14 horas. Su duración total es de 80 horas más una semana de ensayos intensivos. La participación es gratuita.

Se buscan estudiantes de las escuelas y conservatorios de teatro y danza, pero también personas ajenas al mundo de la creación escénica, que estén interesados en participar en un proceso creativo y colaborativo con actores ciegos y no profesionales. No se exigirá experiencia previa, sino una voluntad y un deseo claro de participar desde el principio hasta el final del proceso.

Los interesados pueden remitir su currículo y una breve carta de motivación hasta el miércoles 28 de marzo a la siguiente dirección de correo electrónico: soren@hablarenarte.com

Más información en la pagina de Hablar en Arte.

————  ENGLISH VERSION  ————–

Theatre workshop “A ciegas”. Open call for students

“A ciegas” is an experimental theater and dance workshop. It’s participants – blind and non-blind – will be investigating on clichés and concepts of blindness through body and voice experiments. The final aim of the workshop is to create and set up a stage play that is to be set up at centre for contemporary creation Matadero Madrid.

The workshop, the reharsels and the subsequent staging of the play are organized by the three professors Ismeni Espejel, Patricia Ruz and Victor Dupla and will take place between April 11 and June 9, 2012. The workshop is free of charge and has a duration of 80 hours.

We are looking for drama and dance students and other professionals who are interested in participating in a collaborative creative process with non-professional actors and blind people. No previous experience is required, but we would like to insist in that all the participants should have the time and the clear desire to continue in the process from the beginning to the end.

If you are interested you can send your CV and a brief cover letter until Thursday 29 March to the following email address: soren@hablarenarte.com. More information on the Hablar En Arte Website.

Accessibility Checklists from the Berlin Museums

The Association of Museums in Berlin (LMB) provide checklists for exhibition design for visitors with special needs.

Please find this information in German on their Website. If you want to contribute to make this information available in English, please get back to us, as we are working on similar guidelines and checklists.

Together, we will be stronger. OK, at least, we will be more efficient.

Here comes the information from the LMB’s website, anyways.

Best, the Museum For All team.

Email: info(at)museumforall.eu


Checkliste zur Konzeption und Gestaltung von barrierefreien Ausstellungen

Die hier zum Download bereit stehende Checkliste zur Konzeption und Gestaltung von barrierefreien Ausstellungen wurde von einer Arbeitsgruppe des Landesverbandes der Museen zu Berlin e.V. (LMB) entwickelt. Zu dieser AG gehören Architekten für barrierefreies Bauen, Museumspädagogen, Museumsmitarbeiter und Ausstellungsgestalter sowie auch sehbehinderte, blinde und hörgeschädigte Menschen. Darüber hinaus wurde die Liste mit Betroffenenverbänden des Landesbeirats für Menschen mit Behinderung sowie dem Landesbeauftragten für Menschen mit Behinderungen abgestimmt.

Die Checkliste wird nun der Öffentlichkeit vorgelegt und einem Praxistest unterzogen. Kommentare und Vorschläge von Seiten der Anwender sind dabei willkommen. Sie sind zu richten an: barrierefrei@lmb.museum. Die daraus gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden in eine aktualisierte Version der Checkliste einfließen.


Die Checkliste zur Konzeption und Gestaltung von barrierefreien Ausstellungen gliedert sich in die Präambel und die vier Abschnitte:

Teil 1: Checkliste Bewegen
Teil 2: Checkliste Sehen
Teil 3: Checkliste Hören
Teil 4: Checkliste Verstehen
mit jeweils kurzen Erläuterungen zum Ausfüllen

‘Sounds Design’ at the Design Museum

Lizzie Crouch

While you are sat reading this blog post your vision is not the only sense being stimulated. You are taking in sounds and smells of things going on around you whilst you skin touches different fabrics. As Professor Charles Spence explained in the ‘Sounds Design’ talk at the Design Museum last night, we are only aware of the results of how our senses integrate, how we experience a situation as a whole, but not how our senses interact with each other to produce that experience.

Charles Spence is a psychologist based at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory in Oxford University. His research investigates how our brains combine inputs from each of our senses. All the senses influence an experience in their own way, and sound, the focus of the evening’s talk, is no exception. We are all aware of influence that sound can have (e.g. a ticking clock in a horror…

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“In Work” Exhibition in Vienna adapted for all publics

The exhibition “In Arbeit” (In Work) at the Technology Museum in Vienna has been adapted according to the Design For All philosophy. It features a tactile exhibition model, touch-reliefs of objects and diagrams, an audible DAISY-book as a guide and a navigation system through the exhibition.

Grundriss Ausstellung In Arbeit

High Contrast Map of the Exhibition


Tactile Floor Plan

Scanning an objectHufreisser Modell

Hufreisser Modell

Hufreisser Modell

Production of a relief representation

Tactile Digrams of a mural and a pictogramm, in the setting of the exhibition “IN ARBEIT” (IN WORK), at the Technological Museum in Vienna.

More information on www.technischesmuseum.at/.

Video at artecontacto.org