For the past year, I have been taking a course at Bristol Plays Music called ‘The Inclusive Practitioner' through which I gained a Certificate for Music Educators Level 4. I had been taking monthly trips to Bristol to attend sessions with a group of other people who came from from different musical backgrounds and a variety of working environments. It was very interesting to see how other people lead music session and one of the days in which we shared each others practise, by leading mini-workshops was very interesting.
Some of the other practitioners on the course could be labelled as ‘disabled’. BPM (Bristol Plays Music) made ‘reasonable adjustments’, such as giving audio descriptions when watching films and videos on course days, and providing an alternative Powerpoint, making the course more accessible. The coursework that we submitted did not have to be done as a written essay, but could be a film, an audio diary or other formats. This meant that the work submitted was multi-sensory and the use of written language was not necessary.
The course is aimed at music leaders as a resource to develop their skills as music leaders working with “disabled young people”. The course included looking into young people’s musical development as a major project within the course. I think this was particularly useful for me, as it informed some of the work that I have done with Turning Tides working in primary schools. However, I think that one way in which the course could be improved is by looking at the how older people develop musically. My work with the Turning Tides Project, is not only with young people, but with people of all ages.
I think one of the things that I learned from taking the course was to evaluate my work. As part of my coursework, I built up a personal portfolio and as a relatively inexperienced music leader, I found this very useful. This allowed me to reflect on my practise and find areas in which I could improve. One thing that came up that I find was an important area for me to improve was my confidence. I think that this is something that I have greatly improved on in the past year, but there is always room for improvement.
Written by Tom Burns, Published by Dom Palfreman
** There will be a follow up blog/vlog to this one, that takes a look at the course in further detail**
Let’s start off with what accessible means, Google says,
“accessible means a place which can be reached or entered”.
When I go to a new place I get really anxious as I do not know who the people are around me and I have never been to this certain place before. If I am with somebody that I trust then this makes going to new places and meeting new people easier.
Plans are important for me as they help me know what I am going to do or what to expect on the day. If plans change I prefer to know in advance so that I do not get myself in a state of panic.
Things become inaccessible when I’m confused about what is going on, as this makes me feel angry at the world and at myself. It is hard for me to communicate to people sometimes, so this makes day to day life harder as it is hard to see what I need.
I fully understand that sometimes it is hard to know what people’s needs are when they are emotional and not physical, but this means that people can ignore me and not give me the support I need because I am human. When I am able to do things to the fullest, I get really happy and I feel like I have a contribution to make.
The only thing that stands in my way of things being accessible, are society and other people.
Written by Abbie Morl, Published by Dom Palfreman
Written as part of assessing what makes Music Tech Qualifications inaccessible.
Page Turners is a new project starting this April. It is all about the magic of reading and making stories that capture our imagination, accessible, whilst better informing others and ourselves about society and culture.
World Book Day seemed the perfect day to share our new project with each other and to start writing this blog, having a couple of weeks passed we are now ready to share the news with the world!
Thanks to the Clare Milne and Devon Community Foundations, we’re pleased to introduce Page Turners. Page Turners is all about books, reading and story-telling together.
Books can calm us, can make us happy, excited, curious and proud. They can make us laugh and give us hope. We believe everyone should have equal access to the stories that make us feel this way. Not only this, but stories create, shape and reflect our culture. Their power is not insular and closed, but open and has links to everyday life. It is exclusion from this that disables and it is the role of Page Turners to find and remove though barrier.
Page Turners has two parts. One part is about enabling access to the stories everyone should be able to experience, through a book-club held on the second and fourth Thursday evening of each month. Costumes, accents, puppetry, Makaton, dance and song will all be used to make the stories more fun and accessible. The other part of Page Turners is about teaching people that want to learn, to read or to improve their reading.
We will work with local organisations, businesses and anyone with a passion for reading to bring our favourite tales to life (Contact Us to be a part of this!). We will be inviting authors special to us to join Page Turners – maybe to read to us or with us and talk about their own experiences writing and reading. In the future, we will be aiming to write and publish stories and poems that take a Social Model approach. If stories shape our culture, then let’s be the ones that contribute to its shaping.
It is up to everyone to change the world, one page at the time. Many thanks to the Clare Milne Foundation and Devon Community Foundation for helping to turn that page.
Rebecca and Tom are managing Page Turners and throughout March will be planning, ready for the grand opening in April. For news and updates see our webpage: www.theturningtidesproject.org.uk/page_turners.html. If you’d like to be part of Page Turners, email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome any ideas adding to, changing or developing the current Page Turners logo!
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dom Palfreman
Books, World Book Day, Page, Turners, Equal Access, Very Hardworking, I’ll give you a Hash Tag, Inclusive Access, Book Club, Inclusive, Awesome, Turning Tides, TTTP, The Turning Tides Project, Crediton, Tea Rooms, Coming Soon.
There is much conjecture surrounding equal access in companies and organisations. Many proclaim Social Model readiness in light of a changing society. Yet, as I would come to quickly realize, an environment created on someone’s behalf, without their experience will likely not be equal. Creating truly inclusive facilities and discovering the right amount of support wanted requires discourse with those who want it (or don’t want it, as the case may be). Assumptions and guesses invariably fall short of the realities of people who face unequal access.
Recently we were tasked with writing a questionnaire for a music studio that we had been having some difficulty with, regarding accessing an Open Day. The questions were on the topics of accessibility, support and inclusivity of the course and the facilities. I found this to be an extremely difficult task and required the help of the group with every question; this is only natural - No amount of reflection, introspection, guesswork or hypothesizing will help me when I have never had to fight for my own equal access. I have no personal experience and therefore no reliable knowledge. Of course, I can learn, but I need experts to educate me on their own personal experience – a true first-person perspective.
In initial conversations with the music studio, a member of the marketing team had promised our visit to be fully facilitated and the group welcomed with open arms. They had left and been replaced by a new member of the marketing team, who, in a recent discussion had stated they were “worried about us coming.” I wondered how the studio could go from taking a (possibly) Social Model Approach to not – and not seeking help or asking question to change that. It highlighted the tentative and hazy nature of the idea of an equally accessible environment. What one individual saw as an equal access environment, another did not. It emphasized a lack of knowledge and experience that they, much like me, did not possess and were afraid to explore. Similarly, to how I had benefitted from the knowledge of my experienced teachers, the studio would also clearly gain insight from the group’s visit and could, in turn, use that knowledge to create an environment with improved equal access.
Claiming to have a fully inclusive environment, deemed inclusive by those that have never had any issue with access proves both ironic and problematic. Conversely, not being willing to listen or assuming the environment immediately is not, is just as problematic. The questionnaire was a good start and proved a willingness to engage and listen, but as I have come to realize, there are no halfway marks with equal access and an environment is not equal until those that face the inequality say it is. None the less, the first step is to try – that is the most important part!
Examples such as this highlight the decaying peripheries of unequal access as more and more companies are challenged to reconsider their environments. Companies needn't be worried. There is no universally applicable answer to creating an equal environment and it is understood that it is an issue not solved instantly. Rather, the process is a journey. It is not learnt innately, and neither is it expected to be. What is expected is a conscientious effort towards learning and towards listening to those that have the experience and knowledge, to the experts. Those with first hand personal experience.
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dominic Palfreman
We’ve written a blog about keeping safe from fire. We learnt about it because it’s important to know what to do when a fire starts. Knowing this is an essential part of equal access, as we all can contribute to what’s needed for the company. In this case, fire evacuation posters that are crucial to keeping everyone safe.
Today we took part in fire safety training, delivered by a man called Ian. He showed us a PowerPoint on the different types of fire extinguishers and how they’re used to stop different types of fires, such as electrical, gas and paper. We learnt about the fire triangle of heat, oxygen and fuel and how if you remove one of those parts a fire can’t start.
If a fire does start we know to twist and pull the pin of the fire extinguisher, aim at the base and spray from left to right. With the carbon dioxide extinguisher especially, we know not to touch the nozzle, as what is being sprayed is very cold. Foam extinguishers can put out any fire, but the foam can be hard to clean. To put out small fires, we can also use the fire blanket, but when it has been used once, it can’t be used again. There is one attached to the wall in the Tea Rooms kitchen. To use it, pull both tags down and wrap it around your hands to keep your hands safe.
Ian taught us to always have our back to an exit when putting out a fire. With the Tea Rooms the nearest exit is the front entrance, and is marked by a fire exit sign above and on the door. The first thing to do is alert people to the fire, so they know to head safely to the assembly point. There are two assembly points outside the Tea Rooms, to the left and right. One is by the bus stop, as there are no steps so it is more easily accessible. The other is up the steps to the right, by the grass patch.
Ian showed us pictures of hazards that could cause fires and danger. Some of these, that we know not to do, include blocking the fire exits, padlocking doors and panicking.
We know to take fire drills seriously, what to do in the event of a fire and how to stop a fire from even starting. Ian’s visit was helpful because now we know more - and the more we know, the less likely we are to make mistakes.
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dom Palfeman
I am Chloe, I am an aspiring play-write, and I’ve only ever seen 2 performances.
Whenever you read a guide on playwriting, the first piece of advice is always “go and see as much theatre as possible”
So I have found myself stuck.
I am extremely sensitive to sound, so can only go to see relaxed performances.
A relaxed performance is where alterations are made to sound and light, strobe lighting and sound effects or music are removed or reduced in impact. In addition, chill-out zones are at the front of the theatre if you need to take some time away from the performance. The content of the performance is unchanged.
I noticed that there was a considerable lack of relaxed performances in Devon, which means I have to travel across country to see theatre. Although there is sufficient provision for BSL, Captioned and touch tours, relaxed performances seem to have less than their accessible performance counterparts.
Another thing I have noticed is that the majority of relaxed performances I have come across are aimed at children. This does not provide for adults with labels who seek complex, nuanced and in depth narratives.
I have been working with Abi to contact theatres across the country to discuss their access programmes (some have better programmes than others) and have managed to secure a meeting with a local theatre.
We will also be working towards ensuring that there are more BSL, captioned and touch tours where there are gaps in provisions in certain theatres.
Royal Shakespeare Company have recently instigated Chilled Performances, which have a relaxed atmosphere but do not remove sound effects, strobes or turn down potentially loud music. The audience is instead given a sheet indicating where these things occur as a guidance. I feel that this would be beneficial for some people and am aiming to raise this possibility with more theatres.
We have noticed that different theatres will focus primarily on one area of access. There is no unified group consensus on equalling out accessible performances and access.
Our end goal is to make theatre much more accessible for all, not just performances but also the actual spaces.
Written by Chloe Llewellyn, Published by Dominic Palfreman
#tttp #inclusive #acessibleperformances #accessibility #theatre #relaxedperformances #BSLperformances #captionedperformances #chilledperformances #touchtours #accessibletheatre #equalaccess #cic #socialmodelapproach #community #southdevon #devon #southwest #access
We knew that setting out to establish an Open Orchestra in a main stream school would lead to some questions and present some challenges. We think that both of those things are useful. Arguably, some young people who attend main stream school and receive learning support are as excluded, maybe even more excluded, from the opportunity to join an orchestra than those in "special schools". Some of the barriers are the same, some are different, but ultimately inclusion is inclusion and equal access is equal access.
Our first term has perhaps enabled us to formulate some questions:
What is an orchestra? What does being a member of that orchestra look like? What is an instrument? What is repertoire? What is original work? What is performance?
What is open? What is inclusive?
And maybe none of these questions have or need a right answer, maybe the answers should be open â maybe that is inclusion.
Some thoughts from the conversation Dominic, Tom and Lucy had with the group in this weekâs after-school session:
Whatâs an Orchestra?
A large collection of instrumentalists, bigger than a band, playing a selected piece. Having listened to a range of repertoire and been particularly interested in John Cageâs 4â3ââ ... maybe an orchestra is more than that, maybe it can extend to include "the audience" and people who arenât sat with an instrument.
Whatâs an instrument?
A thing that makes a sound that you can control.
Is Clarion an instrument?
What orchestral instruments would you like to include/ explore in our piece?
Violin, flute, trumpet, cello.
Pieces and ideas that got a positive reaction:
In the hall of the mountain king, James Bond â Dr. No, Supermario theme (could we orchestrate it?).
Could we change these sessions to happen during a school day?
No, if it was timetabled time yr 10-11 wouldnât be able to attend and if it was at lunch time it would only be 45mins and weâd have to skip lunch. After school means more people can chose to join in.
Weâre really pleased with how this is unfoldingâ¦ more to come next termâ¦
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
Inclusion is not a check-list of tick-box indicators or a job title.
Inclusion is a principle that runs through every moment, heart beat and decision.
Inclusion is not a one size fits all ‘Best Practise’ manual.
Inclusion is a respectfulness that encourages individual approaches.
Inclusion is not an assumption of expertise. Inclusion is an openness to listening.
Inclusion does not impose a pecking order of the disenfranchised. Inclusion includes everyone, equally.
Inclusion is not about individual reputation or status. Inclusion is about justice.
Who are the experts?
Witten byJane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
Inclusion and Diversity – On the right track
Today, TTTP attended The Department of Transports Inclusion and Diversity week launch event/conference, at The Department of Transport in London. We were kindly invited by Richard Burningham from Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and Great Western Railway (GWR) kindly provied our travel tickets to attend and be involved in the coming together of transport organisations across the country – primarily rail organisations and community organisations.
This is not the first time we have been to an ‘Inclusion’ event. However, it is the first time that have attended an ‘Inclusion’ event directly associated with the transport sector.
There were several organisations and representatives there, and stories of ‘Inclusion’ were shared by 3 of them - an hour was spent listening to the speakers and watching the videos they had prepared. This included people working on the platforms beautifying the gardens (not too dissimilar to what we have been doing at the Crediton Station platform) whilst recovering from drug abuse, a graffiti project in Bristol to make the platform attractive and part of the community and a project to make the rail more accessible to people with Dementia – focusing on training staff and making it a more welcoming place.
There was also talk about making carriages more accessible, and a team of 1000 people being a part of this – this included people with and without labels, seemingly primarily focused on people physically disabled by the carriages… but very little talk about people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels and how they access the transport.
Going forward, signage was briefly discussed, making it more accessible to (not just disabled people) people in general. If signage is good, it should be accessible to as many people as possible. We took the opportunity to share our SmallTalk approach with some of the MDs there who were discussing the issue of signage and the opportunities to improve it when platforms are renovated/painted.
Often, ‘Inclusion’ events are more about celebrating what has been achieved and the small successes (which are steps in the right direction), and not so much about going forward and what steps need to be taken next; a plan of action and a group effort. It will be interesting to see how the week progresses and what opportunities are created as we all work together to turn our country’s infrastructure into a more inclusive network that connects communities.
To the organisations that were there (and those that could not attend) – our expert trainers and evaluation team are always willing to be a part of creating an inclusive rail network if we are invited. Feel free to come to our Tea Rooms on the Tarka Line, Crediton Train Station, if you want to have a chat. Alternatively, you’ll find us on social media, via email (email@example.com) or on the phone: 01363 772512.
Thank you for inviting us to be a part of your day.
Written by Dom Palfreman, Published by Dom Palfreman