First, this committee creates six working groups whose missions correspond to research and development issues within several cultural institutions:
> Improved recognition of the visually impaired ;
> use of pictograms, especially in visit assistance documents ;
> real-time alarm and information devices for deaf and hard of hearing visitors ;
> accessibility of websites to persons with disabilities ;
> awareness raising among staff of cultural institutions ;
> accessibility of existing buildings to persons with disabilities .
The first four groups carry out improvements of all kinds in the participating institutions: architectural, editorial, IT and technical. In accordance with the objective set by the Minister, this work is supplemented, for each issue dealt with, by booklets of recommendations or advice intended to be widely disseminated. For its part, the "staff awareness" group is developing a medium for exchanging information on staff training for persons with disabilities. As for the "accessibility of existing buildings" group, it produces a diagnostic, analysis and proposal document on the accessibility of eight emblematic cultural sites.
The notebooks are integrated into the Guide to accessibility and reception of persons with disabilities in cultural institutions.
The work of these groups is the subject of a communication at the last meeting of the National Commission on Culture and Disability 29 November 2004.
In view of these first results, on 16 July 2004, the Minister of Culture and Communication asked the President of the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie to undertake a second series of work based on the same principles (mobilization of actors in the field, concern for concrete and rapid improvement, wide dissemination of results, etc.).
Meeting on 30 September of the same year, the steering committee, led by the City, created five new working groups:
- employment of disabled persons in cultural establishments;
- reception of visitors with learning difficulties;
- new technologies for sensory impaired visitors;
- promotion of cultural opportunities for people with disabilities.
At the Steering Committee meeting of 12 January 2006, the participating institutions expressed the wish to continue working together, in particular to monitor the implementation of the legislation of 11 February 2005 aimed at bringing the built environment into compliance. They ask the Delegation for Development and International Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Communication to lead a working group on this subject and to provide them with information and methodological tools. This group will be set up as soon as the texts are published. Other thematic groups may be created according to the needs of public institutions.
Finally, the approach adopted and the initial results obtained have led to new institutions seeking their participation in the work of certain groups. This is how four museums of the City of Paris and two museums of the Seine-et-Marne network will participate in the training sessions for intellectually challenged audiences. In addition, the Paris Île-de-France Regional Tourism Committee has joined the "Promotion - Communication" group.
City of Science and Industry (pilot)
Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis
National Library of France
Public information library
Centre Georges Pompidou
National Monuments Centre
Palace of Versailles
City of Music
Air and Space Museum
Museum of Arts and Crafts
National Navy Museum
Musée du quai Branly
National Museum of Natural History
Paris National Opera
Palace of discovery
Parc de la Villette
National Museums Meeting
Chaillot National Theatre
Headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Communication:
Direction des musées de France, Direction de l'administration générale and Délégation au développement et aux affaires internationales.
Achievements and projects of the second stage groups
The results of the five working groups are characterised by concrete progress and an intensification of relations between the institutions which took part.
1. Pricing Group
Bibliothèque nationale de France (pilot), Cité de la musique, Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Château de Versailles, Centre des monuments nationaux, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Musée d'Orsay, Musée du Louvre, Opéra national de Paris.
The group drew up an overview of the pricing practices allowing each institution to position itself in relation to those offering the same type of offers: museums and exhibition venues, performing arts, cinema and public reading libraries. As a result of this review, several institutions participating in this group have decided to change their fee schedule. For example, the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée du Louvre have reduced their rates for groups of people with disabilities; the Cité de la musique and the Centre des monuments nationaux have changed their rates for individuals. Finally, the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie and the Bibliothèque nationale de France have decided to grant full free access to persons with disabilities and their potential accompanist.
In conclusion, the report presents proposals for developments in line with the law of 11 February 2005 on equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship of persons with disabilities, the principle of a right to compensation for the consequences of disability. It is up to the departments of the Ministry of Culture and Communication to which it was forwarded on 30 October 2005 to identify, where appropriate, recommendations which could be more widely disseminated.
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2. Employment of Persons with Disabilities Group
Cité des sciences et de l'industrie (pilot), Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bibliothèque publique d'information, Centre Pompidou, Château de Versailles, Cité de la musique, Musée du Louvre, Musée du quai Branly, Musée national d'Histoire naturelle, Parc de la Villette, Théâtre national de Chaillot, Direction de l'administration générale, Direction des musées de France.
The group drew up an inventory of policies and practices in this field in the participating institutions and found that there was no established policy on the employment of disabled people.
It decided to work on three axes: the information/awareness of the staff of the establishments, the access to employment of the disabled, the adaptation to the workplace and the retention in this position for the employees with disabilities of these establishments.
He created, on Sémaphore, the intranet of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, a space for information (regulatory texts, addresses and useful contacts…), sharing of experiences (testimonies of workers with disabilities and employers) and work tools (Pooling of Applications) which is intended to assist members in the implementation of human resource practices in the employment of persons with disabilities.
Finally, he wrote the guide How to welcome and work with a disabled person to line managers and co-workers.
This work has fostered advances in some institutions. On 8 December 2005, the Louvre Museum signed an agreement with its social partners for the employment of people with disabilities and the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie signed an agreement with AGEFIPH on 7 February 2006.
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3. "Reception of the mentally handicapped" Group
Centre des monuments nationaux (pilote), Bibliothèque nationale de France, Centre Pompidou, Théâtre national de Chaillot (Accès culture), Cité de la musique, Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Musée du Louvre, Musée national d'Histoire naturelle, Opéra national de Paris, Meeting of national museums.
Mental disability is often misunderstood by the mediators of cultural institutions who find themselves unarmed, in terms of communication, in front of the diversity and complexity of induced disabilities. How to behave? How to establish contact? How to transmit? How to evaluate the relevance of the service?
The group has chosen three priority areas of work:
- training of mediation staff. A test training took place in the fall of 2005, which brought together eight participants from four institutions for six days. Thanks to the assessment of this test, two initial training sessions and one advanced training session were scheduled in 2006, each for ten people for seven days;
- creation of an inter-institutional bundled offer: thematic cycles bringing together the interventions of the institutions members of the working group are proposed on a permanent basis, from September 2006, by the PEP75 association, which organises stays of discovery of the Parisian heritage for the young disabled public, school or extracurricular;
- drafting, in 2006, of a list of recommendations for establishments wishing to improve the reception of people with learning difficulties. It is based on a concrete approach to the professions and issues of the sectors concerned (museums, monumental and architectural heritage, live entertainment, libraries, etc.). It proposes practical solutions for the design of projects to welcome people with disabilities based on the cultural specificity, the reality of the teams and the means of each institution.
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4. "Promotion - Communication" Group
National Museums Meeting (pilot), Bibliothèque nationale de France, Public Information Library, Centre des monuments nationaux, Cité de la musique, Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Centre Pompidou, Château de Versailles, Musée Guimet, Musée du Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Musée national d'Histoire naturelle, Théâtre national de Chaillot and Comité régional du tourisme Paris Île-de-France.
The group wanted to answer the following questions: how to ensure that the people concerned are aware of the offers that institutions are developing for them? How to reach them and communicate effectively these offers?
He worked on three axes:
- participation in fairs and events: an important and unified participation in the Autonomic exhibition, bringing together many actors of accessibility, on 7, 8 and 9 June 2006: 13 establishments are present in a "Culture Village". They will offer stands, conferences, debates, a tactile and olfactory gallery (mouldings, plant species...) and a workshop space to give visitors a glimpse of the diversity of their cultural activities (choreographic workshops for the deaf, cuneiform writing for the blind, etc.). At the same time, institutions have strengthened their cultural offer for people with disabilities during this period. The 4th Forum of the school visit, organized at the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, on October 4, 2006 (54 institutions participating in 2005 and an attendance of 1000 teachers), highlights the proposals for schools with disabilities;
- joint communication. An inter-institutional electronic letter called @riane was created by a dozen institutions of the group. Quarterly, its writing is rotating between all institutions. This letter summarizes the main services offered to visitors with disabilities. It is available online at: www.arianeinfo.org/ . Each institution distributes it to its relays and contacts, in electronic or paper form;
- the marking: the group puts in place signage on the accessibility of cultural institutions in cultural weeklies (Pariscope, Zurban, Télérama…). Establishments awarded the "Tourism and Disability" label will be mentioned. Contact information for one contact person per facility will also be provided. A pilot partnership could be initiated with Zurban, before being extended to other similar weeklies. Its implementation is scheduled for June 2006.
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5. New Technology and Disability Group
Saint-Denis Cathedral Basilica (pilot), National Library of France, Centre des monuments nationaux, Centre Pompidou, Château de Versailles, Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Musée des arts et métiers, Musée du Louvre, Musée du quai Branly, Parc de la Villette, Reunion of national museums, Théâtre national de Chaillot (Access culture).
The University of Paris 8 Saint-Denis (Department of New Technologies and Disability) is associated with the group’s work.
The applications of new technologies in the field of accessibility for disabled visitors have so far been insufficiently explored. The working group chose to work on several topics:
- audioguides for the visually impaired;
- video guides in sign language;
- audiophones with magnetic loops;
- tactile and sound models;
- digitization and restitution of inaccessible objects, to make them tactile;
- 3D sound rendering.
After an overview of the existing arrangements, the participants decided to monitor and exchange information on the achievements planned by some participants. The news of the programmed projects led the group to give priority to the production of audioguides for the visually impaired and video guides in sign language.
Several institutions have planned projects since 2006:
- the Palace of Versailles;
- the Basilica of Saint-Denis;
- the Musée du quai Branly;
- the Meeting of National Museums, with the Orangerie Museum;
- the Louvre Museum.
First concrete achievements that allowed the members of the group to enrich their information to complete their projects, the video guide for the visit of the Grand Apartments of the Palace of Versailles is put into service in July 2006 and the one for the visit of the royal necropolis of the Basilica of Saint-Denis in September. They offer a guided tour in sign language by a deaf speaker.
A specific audioguided route for people with visual impairments including tactile elements and audiodescription was also put into service in September 2006 at the Basilica of Saint-Denis.
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