We recently received this post on the South London Gallery’s (SLG) Facebook page:
‘Just home from my first ever visit to the gallery even though I live across the road from it. I went for a specific reason, to meet artist Jessie Brennan about a project she is doing. I was given a short tour as mobility is a problem for me. It made me look at art galleries differently…The welcome was so warm from everyone present. People were eager to talk to me about art and what it means to them… I will definitely return at another time…’
Reading this comment made me feel very happy to be part of the SLG. It reflects the organisations’ welcoming attitude and long term commitment to artist led programmes with our neighbours. I love arts marketing because I believe that arts and culture have something to offer everyone. When audiences have experiences like this it motivates me to reach out to more people and find ways to break down the barriers to entry.
Receiving this feedback at the start of the Digital Marketing Academy (DMA) inspired one of my project goals. I want to make the digital experience before you visit as welcoming, personal and positive as when you walk through the door. I’m planning to do this by improving the access content on our website in time for Making Routes, an inclusive youth arts festival we are hosting in October.
At the SLG we have an access and diversity staff forum where we meet every two months to discuss ideas for improvements we can make across the organisation. These can be great for identifying issues and making changes but often there isn’t time to progress ideas into projects. I’m really pleased to be taking part in the DMA as it gives me the opportunity to realise some of these ideas, but also to test and improve them in a structured way.
By the end of the Academy I hope to have created an informative and clear access page that includes a visual story and a short video on how to find us. The aim of this content is to be a helpful resource for families of disabled children and young people who are planning to visit the Making Routes festival.
So far I’ve been doing a lot of interesting research into the accessibility of website design and creating digital content and having helpful conversations with my colleagues, the action learning set and mentor. We’ve identified that the biggest challenge now is deciding how to evaluate this project. I’ll be able to look at analytics to see whether content is engaging users but I know that consulting disabled people for feedback will be the most valuable way to improve it. Now I need to work out how and when to do this and what will be our measure of success.