[hackerspaces] thinking (and talking) about how accessible our spaces are (or aren't)

Leigh Honeywell leigh at hypatia.ca
Fri Sep 10 00:33:39 CEST 2010

You're getting a bit ahead of what I'm talking about, Loki - the first
step, which most spaces aren't doing, is to spend some time thinking
about the characteristics of your space and how that makes it accessible
/ inaccessible - and post that publicly.

So while it's not realistic for all spaces to be accessible to folks
with MCS, it /is/ realistic to say "hey, we're likely to use these kind
of chemicals that folks are frequently sensitive to" - lasered acrylic
causes migraines in lots of folks, for example.

I'd never heard of EHS[0] before, though.  Sounds irritating.


[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploding_head_syndrome

On 10-09-09 06:24 PM, Lokkju Brennr wrote:
> One thing to mention here is that if your goal is to be inclusive
> (rather then accessible), then targetting the greatest common
> denominators first will be most effective.  Trying to make you space
> accessible to someone with EHS (beyond being an exercise in futility)
> isn't an efficient use of resources, simply because so few people even
> claim to have it - the same goes for MCS (chemical hypersensitivity -
> fumes, etc).  Basic wheelchair access, on the other hand, is probably
> one of the more common accessibilities that can be solved, and that
> provides the greatest access to the greatest number of people.
> Loki
> On Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 3:15 PM, Leigh Honeywell <leigh at hypatia.ca> wrote:
>> Probably the most insightful and concise document I've read on the topic
>> is the WisCon Access page:
>> http://www.wiscon.info/access.php
>> WisCon is a large (1100-person) feminist science fiction convention with
>> a history of working really hard on access issues.  I think the stuff
>> they've run into and thought through maps pretty well to hackerspaces,
>> except maybe in the scale of things :)
>> I feel like the WisCon doc covers most issues hackerspaces are likely to
>> run into except for chemical smells from equipment.  If you're
>> interested in reading more on the topic, a couple more resources I found
>> are:
>> http://www.doitmyselfblog.com/2008/a-checklist-for-planning-an-accessible-event/
>> Human Resources Development Canada's Guide to Planning Inclusive
>> Meetings: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/disability_issues/doc/gpim/guide.pdf
>> Hope that helps!
>> -Leigh
>> On 10-09-09 05:49 PM, Sylva1n wrote:
>>> Great initiative.
>>> Is there any checklist-style document you would recommend that lists
>>> the main accessibility do's and don't's, or permits a easy assessment
>>> of accessibility issues?
>>> On Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 1:46 PM, Leigh Honeywell <leigh at hypatia.ca> wrote:
>>>> This is a call to action, inspired by a blog post[0] about normalizing
>>>> talking about accessibility in the same way we talk about parking
>>>> availability, cost, time, location, etc. when we talk about events, but
>>>> which I think is also relevant to general info about hackerspaces as
>>>> many of our spaces hold regular non-event-events such as open houses,
>>>> parties, and so on.
>>>> If you scroll down to the bottom of the "location" page on the HackLab
>>>> site, you can see the note we've included about the space's accessiblity
>>>> (and lack thereof):
>>>> http://hacklab.to/location/
>>>> We've also started including mention of relevant access issues on event
>>>> postings (laser and makerbot fumes?  not so likely when we're running a
>>>> food event, but then allergies come into play, etc.)
>>>> It's a small, low-effort thing, but can make a big difference to people
>>>> who might have not participated in your community otherwise, and I'd
>>>> like to invite other spaces to consider doing something similar on their
>>>> interweb presences.  I'm totally happy to help draft this kind of access
>>>> statements, if anyone wants to mail me offlist.
>>>> Another fun thing would be to get various access issues added as a
>>>> thing-people-can-sort-by on the wiki, but that's beyond my wiki-fu.
>>>> Moar access == moar awesomeness!
>>>> -Leigh
>>>> [0] from FWD/Forward, a fascinating blog about gender and disability
>>>> issues: http://disabledfeminists.com/2010/09/09/normalising-accessibility/
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