Accessibility and Sustainability Workshop at Lancaster University
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- Accessibility and Sustainability Workshop at Lancaster University
Marketing Lancashire invited partners to join them at Lancaster University for a special Marketing Lancashire Partners’ Meeting highlighting accessibility and sustainability, which took place on Wednesday 26 April.
The meeting included two workshops developed by Marketing Lancashire’s accessibility and sustainability partner Lancaster University Management School, and were delivered by Dr Leighanne Higgins and Professor Jan Bebbington.
The Marketplace and I: Championing Accessibility
In this workshop, Dr Leighanne Higgins spoke about the exhibition that she and colleague Dr Killian O’Leary put together to champion the art of disabled people. Some of the most poignant pieces from the exhibition were on show in the workshop and Dr Higgins shared their stories.
The first artwork spoken about was Aurora’s Castle, created by Aurora and her family. Aurora is a little girl who was born with only one eye and limited vision in that eye. The family love theme parks, but often struggle to enjoy their days out as Aurora is classed as partially sighted and therefore is not entitled to a accessibility pass. The queue spaces are often dark or feature hard to navigate areas, and managing the spaces often becomes a task that the whole family have to work hard to achieve, when all they want is a fun day out.
The artwork depicts the joy and happiness Aurora found at Disneyland Paris, when she and her family were able to access the accessibility passes to make their trip more manageable, and where Aurora’s partial sightedness didn’t add as many hurdles to the family as it can in other parks.
Another piece, Autism Barriers was created by Amy; an autistic woman who wanted to highlight how simple, everyday things that most people wouldn’t consider disturbing, can be a barrier to her living her life. Popping Champagne bottles and floating balloons, ordinary things that so many restaurants use for celebrations, are a trigger to Amy and the fear and anxiety they instil can be so overwhelming that she will remain at home, rather than go out to celebrate big occasions like birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries.
Dr Higgins took the audience through these and other art pieces, and explained how minor changes can make such a drastic change to the life of a disabled person. For example offering accessibility passes that include any medical illness that could affect the person’s visit, incorporating “quiet times” for those suffering from invisible illnesses like autism, or simply providing a quieter space.
The importance of training staff and ensuring that hospitality and attraction websites are up to date with comprehensive information about access for all, was stressed throughout the workshop.
The team at Lancaster University is offering Marketplace & I accessibility training to businesses free of charge for a limited time. These workshops will assess businesses on an individual basis, providing training in areas a business needs it most and will help them develop accessible strategies for short-, medium- and long-term goals. Businesses should get in touch now if they are interested in improving their accessibility and welcome for all.
Best Practise in Sustainability Landscape
Professor Jan Bebbington delivered a fascinating talk on the big picture of sustainability and climate change, focussing on global sustainable development goals and how the most worrying issues are being addressed.
The Global Sustainable Development Goals are 17 goals that the governments across the world agreed on and signed up to address, as part of the 2030 agenda. These encompass all aspects of sustainability, including those that you expect such as climate change, life on land and life at sea, as well as others that work towards a sustainable future. These include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, affordable and clean energy and more. The seventeen goals are just an overview of the agreement, with a further 232 indicators under the goals that help monitor the implementation of these goals.
Jan talked about how businesses should move towards pulling out two or three sustainable development goals that really matter to them, to help in the global move towards this agenda. Once these have been considered, then start making further small changes. The start of your sustainability journey needs to be realising the tensions that your company faces and working out how to fix those tensions at the start.
The basis of these goals is that no one person can change anything alone – you can do more together than you ever can alone.
The whole event offered a fantastic insight into two topics that are very much at the forefront of business now, and it is clear that work is needed to stive towards a more accessible and sustainable future. We will certainly be developing further workshops for partners going forward.
If you are not a Marketing Lancashire Partner and wish to attend our future events and workshops like this, partnership rates start from as little as the price of a takeaway coffee per week. Contact Ian to find out more.