For my own emotional and physical wellbeing, and taking some inspiration from other folks, in this new year i’m changing how i do my accessibility audit work. Needing to trim things down, focus my attentions on those projects which have some promise of increasing access, not simply staying with the status quo. The work is hard, takes time and energy, and -by definition- i’m invested in the outcomes changing (i.e. more accessible spaces/ events/ organizing, etc); i can’t “opt out” or “just not get so involved”, and it so often feels very heavy for me because i see time and again that actual physical, structural, institutional, organizational change almost never happens. Some of that “heavy” is inevitable, but i can change some of the ways i engage with this process, be more intentional about it, so that it can continue to be a useful and expanding resource for folks, including me.
So, few things! i’m going to ask you some questions before going ahead to working together on an audit, including but not limited to:
- What might it mean to the folks affected?
- How may it positively or negatively impact disabled folks and others requiring greater access accommodations?
- What’s your connection to disabled communities?
- What will you do with the info from an audit?
- How will you get the word out there that the process is happening and about any changes you make?
- What resources do you have available for alterations and what’s your time frame for making alterations etc?
and so on.
– i’ll personally follow through on audit requests which have an access goal in mind AND the resources/ access to resources/ willingness to creatively acquire those resources to make those changes a reality in the near future.
– i’ll only personally audit spaces who’s main spaces are at *minimum* accessible to me in my scooter, and who’s bathrooms are on the same level but perhaps not quite large enough to adequately fit me.
– i won’t be auditing spaces where alcohol is the primary focus
i certainly encourage other folks to take on spaces which don’t meet this criteria, and will be available to help if desired. For example, i may not perform the physical in-person audit, but could do data input etc; or can simply pass along the entire audit package to do yourself.
Quality control of the end product is a key part of the audit process (inaccurate info doesn’t help!), so ensuring that the info is accurate, up to date, that the access levels are accurately noted, (i.e. based in reality, not on how folks would *like* the space to be lol <–which actually happens a lot!), ensuring that to some degree it’s based in a disability justice framework. So, a commitment to an accountability process/ filter of some kind. Even if it’s just running the final product by me, to be another set of eyes on it. i’m unsure right now how to do some of this. Like how to have some accountability built into the process, while at the same time letting it go. These are things i’m working on as we speak :)
i’m looking forward to narrowing my personal focus over the next year, and if you’d like to do an audit and have your eyes set on making some concrete changes to a space/ event/ etc, let’s talk! And if you’d like to get moving on doing an audit on your own but are unsure of any changes you can make, let me know and i can set up a package for you. i’m also hoping to clarify some of this on the website with some help from a friend, making packages readily available for download there, etc. Keep your eyes open for future updates!