May 2024 Newsletter

Today marks the final day of Global Accessibility Awareness Month, and although accessibility is important every day, I wanted to take this moment to update you on our expanding team, to ask for your contact details so that we can send our beautiful greeting card to you, and to share an event accessibility checklist with you; one that you can begin to put in place in your day to day practice.

It's almost four years since the founding of Tilting the Lens, and now with a team of six people, and a collective of global partners, suppliers and creatives, the momentum is gathering pace. Earlier this month, I presented a keynote at the D&AD Festival, where I reflected how in 2017, when I did my TED Talk, "Why design should include everyone", I had a deep understanding of the rationale as to why systemic change was important, but didn't yet have the practical experience to articulate the 'how'. That is no longer true.

Whether it is about designing a playground with Disabled parents, implementing accessibility practices that move beyond compliance in building design, fostering the development of meaningful accommodation policies in organisations to support self-identification, preparing organisations for the European Accessibility Act with a human-led approach, or creating pathways for Disabled designers and writers to enter education programmes, I'm really proud of what we have been able to achieve and even more importantly, how we are undertaking and measuring this work.

But, this work is about more than Tilting the Lens - it requires all of us to feel accountable and empowered to build these processes into our own individual workflows. We're keen to open source many of our learnings and below you'll find a high-level checklist to support the creation of accessible events - whether they're internal Town Halls, press events or off-site engagements for your board - we hope it is of value, and while one checklist cannot solve for all of the pain-points and barriers, we look to it as a start and something you can iterate on internally.

Kindest regards,

Sinéad

We want to thank you for your support this year!

In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Tilting the Lens commissioned Ananya Rao-Middleton, a talented Disabled artist, to create artwork for our annual card that embodies community, hope, and the ideal of crafting a more accessible world. We would absolutely love to send you a physical or digital copy of our card! Please fill in the form below to receive your card.

P.S. We are always looking for new artists, designers and creatives to partner with. Please let us know if there are people in your network we could engage with (or perhaps, it's you!).

Artwork by Ananya Rao-Middleton.
Artwork by Ananya Rao-Middleton.

Our Team is Expanding!

At Tilting the Lens, we have been incredibly intentional about growth; hiring for the skill gaps, but also ensuring that we recruit people that personify our values and support them to thrive. We remain a fully-remote team, and we're now based across Belfast, Berlin, London, Glasgow and Trim - though, we do travel quite a bit for client work.

Now, with a team of six, we commissioned Nancy Clayton, another Disabled artist, to create illustrations of me, Conny, Orla, Emma, Áine and our newest team member, Laia. We're so pleased with the results, and I'd love to invite you to visit our team page to learn more about the backgrounds, experiences, skills and interests of the team.

Artwork by Nancy Clayton. Nancy is an artist at Trifle Studio - a multidisciplinary design studio based in London whose work is created by artists and designers with learning disabilities.
Artwork by Nancy Clayton. Nancy is an artist at Trifle Studio - a multidisciplinary design studio based in London whose work is created by artists and designers with learning disabilities.

Making Events Accessible: Key Strategies 

At the end of last year, we partnered with Smirnoff to support their We Do We Campaign by creating an event that was as accessible as possible, with equity of experience, joy and ease as our primary objectives.

From site visits to audit the physical accessibility of potential locations, to the creation of a wheelchair-accessible DJ booth, Braille menus, a quiet room, Deaf interpreters, a two-tier height bar, subpacs, staff training, and supporting the curation of VIP talent and guests, we want to make sure that these learnings live beyond one night and one event.

Below, please find a high-level checklist that you can download and use in professional and personal environments to embed accessible practices. This checklist is not conclusive, and in many ways, there is no such thing as 'fully accessible', but we hope this is a useful starting point for you to iterate on. Below you will find two different formats of the checklist including a pdf document and an audio file. If you have any difficulty opening the documents, please contact accessbility@tiltingthelens.com

Collage of photos from We Do Us event on November 29, 2023 in London, England.Left to right: Lou Bru, Drinks menu in large font and in Braille, Lucy EdwardsPhoto by Dave Benett
Collage of photos from We Do Us event on November 29, 2023 in London, England. Left to right: Lou Bru, Drinks menu in large font and in Braille, Lucy Edwards Photo by Dave Benett