Removing the obstacles: Disability access and the arts (in heritage buildings)

Disability Buildings Construction industry Accessibility Heritage buildings New South Wales
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Many arts organisations are located in heritage buildings, and many of these do not provide disability access. It is often presumed that if a building has heritage status, there is no capacity to provide or improve accessible design.

Accessible Arts, with the support of partners Arts Access Australia, UTS Shopfront and the Arts Law Centre of Australia, has completed a research report that reviews legislation and the issues related to providing access for arts services and other organisations located in heritage buildings.

This project involves researching disability and heritage state, federal and international legal frameworks and their application for arts organisations and services that are located in heritage buildings. It includes the Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010, and how this impacts upon providing access for people with disability in a heritage building. This considers the following key issues that arose from the research:

  • The complexity of heritage and access, and resources for information and support;
  • How legislation, policy and other initiatives impact upon the provision of access for people with disability at arts venues located in heritage sites, including the application of unjustifiable hardship;
  • The way forward in assisting relevant stakeholders regarding disability access and heritage in the arts.

A resource pamphlet will be produced in early 2011 to assist arts organisations and services located in heritage buildings learn more about how to provide or improve access for people with disability.

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