Heritage Open Days is an increasingly popular event in which thousands of sites open up to visitors – many of which are not public spaces during the rest of the year. In 2015, 4,855 sites opened free of charge, supported by 40,000 volunteers and attracting 3.4 million visitors.
It broke down the stereoptype that we might not be able to communicate with a deaf person. I think it’s also good for the children because we are all so closed in our little worlds.
In March and April there are Organisers Fairs, where many of those running Heritage Open Days can network and pick up useful tips and skills.
History of Place running a workshop at each of the fairs, to help organisers think more about access, and learn about our work uncovering stories at heritage sites and in archives about deaf and disabled people. These are led by Liz Porter, Heritage Hub Member, Storyteller and Access Consultant.
The session Reanimating Accessible Heritage will cover how volunteers have brought hidden archives to life, as well as low cost creative solutions to make events more accessible. We will be discussing how we have used the arts to bring the archives to life – and how it’s possible to move past object handling to harness the senses in different ways, and find new means of communication.
At Canterbury Medieval pageant we worked with a deaf artist who gave a clay modelling workshop. He comments:
People get misled or assume they can’t communicate with deaf or disabled people… I think this is a good thing for people to take part here, to work with me and to understand a little more
One of the participants writes:
It was very good for us that the artist was deaf. In the beginning, I didn’t understand that he was deaf, then it was so nice to see that we could all connect and communicate with him without words. It broke down the stereoptype that we might not be able to communicate with a deaf person. I think it’s also good for the children because we are all so closed in our little worlds.
Meanwhile, at the School for the Indigent Blind in Liverpool we uncovered some of the skills that were taught, including basket making and piano tuning. We commissioned an artist to create a soundscape in response.