Deptford venue wins top award for deaf and disabled accessibility

Members of the Albany Access and Equality group with their award, from left to right; Raidene Carter, Ben Stephen and Aurella Yussuf. Pic: The Albany

The Albany in Deptford has been recognised for its work making live music performance more accessible for the deaf and disabled.

The venue won an Outstanding Attitude Award for video-based travel information from charity Attitude Is Everything, which focuses on arts and performance access for deaf and disabled people.

The trophy was handed out due to their “creative and resourceful” video walking guide. The guide directed people to their premises from the nearest three train stations, describing the routes taken and any obstacles in the way. The aim was to make the journey easier for visually impaired people.

Rather than using expensive or complicated technology such as app-building, which the venue had considered previously, staff simply made the journey themselves, filming and recording sound on their smartphones. They then used some basic video editing software to put together the final product.

The Outstanding Attitude Awards, created this year by Attitude Is Everything, reward “creativity and imagination” in ensuring everyone can experience and enjoy live music and outdoor arts events.

The Albany beat 120 other arts centres to win the award. The venue describes itself as “driven by the cultural diversity and creative mix of South East London”, and puts on theatre, poetry, and music events, as well as running workshops for the local community.

The Albany theatre space. Pic: Camilla Greenwell

Jacob Adams of Attitude Is Everything told Eastlondonlines he wanted to reward arts organisations that went “above and beyond” targets for best practice. He hopes The Albany’s travel guides can be an example for other venues.

He said: “In the case of The Albany, their creation of DIY video travel guides was both creative and resourceful. This addition to online access information is an example for all venues, and demonstrates how accessibility for different audiences can be achieved at minimal cost.”

Ben Stephen, Head of Production at The Albany, said: “The walking guides were quick and simple to produce and reminded us that improving accessibility can sometimes just require a little thought and effort rather than a hi-tech or expensive change.

“Our aim for the future is to move beyond specific access issues and embrace an ‘extra live’ attitude to everything we do, where accessibility is standard for artists, audiences and visitors.”

The Albany is also the first arts centre in the UK to achieve Attitude Is Everything’s Gold standard award for best practice in deaf and disabled accessibility. The Gold award is given to organisations that have gone far above and beyond the basic requirements of the Equality Act to make watching live performance easier for deaf and disabled individuals.

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