A Brief Guide to Combining Accessibility with Creativity Toolkit

CVAN EM is delighted to share this incredible resource created and written by East Midlands-based creatives Benjamin Rostance and Jo Tolley. ‘A Brief Guide to Combining Accessibility with Creativity’ toolkit aims to provide action-based and meaningful recommendations that open dialogue between arts and culture organisations and the spaces they occupy within the communities that they serve.

Click here to download the full toolkit!

With the recognition that often an organisation has little to no resources to support artists or audiences who identify as having a disability, neurodivergent thinking or a health condition, we aim to remove such accessibility barriers at the door, promoting inclusivity, effective communication, creativity, and equitable cultural institutions.

This toolkit is by no means a definitive guidebook of how to make arts and culture organisations more accessible to disabled and neurodivergent communities. We acknowledge that each disabled or neurodivergent person is different and has varying access needs. We hope that by using the toolkit you will be able to make your organisation more accessible and diverse, sharing your progress and learning with CVAN EM and other venues in the region. Disability is not fixed, and organisations need to continue to provide opportunities for conversation, to listen and to develop best practice. Creativity is universal but more needs to be done to make it accessible! – Benjamin & Jo.

‘A Brief Guide to Combining Accessibility with Creativity’ has been developed with Art Fund support as part of CVAN EM’s Professional Network Grants project. Addressing Inequalities and & Under- representation in the Region’s Sector is focused on establishing a firm foundation to positively impact on public programmes and commissioning in the East Midlands.

Written by Jo Tolley and Benjamin Rostance.
Illustrations by Freyja Perkins.
Design by Saria Digregorio.

An audio version of this document, read by Benjamin Rostance is available here on Soundcloud.

If you would like to share feedback or request the toolkit in a different format, please contact CVAN EM at info@cvaneastmidlands.co.uk.

This toolkit was commissioned in September 2021 by Contemporary Visual Arts Network East Midlands.

Collaborator Bios:

Benjamin Rostance (he/him) is a working- class artist, born and based in the East Midlands. Rostance creates artwork predominantly in the form of photography, sound, video, and performance. When combined they document and share snapshots of his lived experience of childhood trauma, unpredictable mental health, and his experience of growing up in a large, poor working-class family in the U.K. The context of Rostance’s art is also informed by his desire to find peace in recovery, coping mechanisms and resolution wherever it can be found. He draws heavily on his 16 years’ experience of working in the health and social care sector to inform much of his attitude towards positive ways of coping with trauma. Rostance has exhibited in galleries across his hometown of Nottingham and was selected for New Contemporaries 2021, with exhibitions in Colchester and London respectively. He is currently doing an Internship at the Backlit Gallery in Nottingham as the resident Mental Health Coordinator.

Jo Tolley (she/her) believes in the vibrant, unstoppable force attributed to finding your own lane. An energetic writer, artist, and facilitator with lived experience of Cerebral Palsy, Jo is an all-round advocate for disability integration. Jo is passionate about ensuring accessible arts opportunities for all and leaves no stone unturned in offering an alternative perspective to breaking down barriers within society.

Jo strives to create a new trajectory for disabled communities by championing equity and diversity, promoting self-acceptance as the key to positively influencing how disability is portrayed and understood.

Freyja Perkins is an East Midlands-based editorial illustrator specialising in political portraiture.

Saria Digregorio is an East Midlands-based graphic designer and design educator focussed on typography, editorial, and information design.