Case study: exhibiting accessibility and inclusion
The exhibition Tirohia Mai, Look at Us Now opened in June 2013 – the second public exhibition in the refurbished National Library of New Zealand in Wellington.
Marking 120 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, it was curated by Rosslyn Noonan, historian and former Human Rights Commissioner and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Professor of Research, Waikato University.
Robyn Hunt was invited to join a group of women advisors to bring the perspective of disabled women to the exhibition, and to help ensure its accessibility. Robyn, who is partially sighted and a leading communications accessibility consultant, writes about the process and challenges in ensuring an accessible exhibition.
"Most of the challenges related to time and budget, "Robyn says. "Lack of time for everyone meant there was a limit to what we could achieve. But with leadership from the curator and staff willingness to go the extra mile, we managed a significant amount, especially as an accessible exhibition was a first for the library.
"The exhibition raised the level of debate within the disability community, in particular, but also within the National Library, about collecting and preserving disability history. It was also successful from the perspective of library staff who were able to see possibilities and were generally responsive to access issues."