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

Lokkju Brennr lokkju at gmail.com
Fri Sep 10 00:37:48 CEST 2010

I hadn't heard of that either, actually - I was referring to EHS[1].
I do like the idea of giving more information on the space's inherent
accessibility - things like stairs, alternate access, doorways, and
anything else that may interfere with someone using the space.
Essentially, providing a visitor to the website with enough
information to make a determination of their own ability to access the


[1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_hypersensitivity

On Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 3:33 PM, Leigh Honeywell <leigh at hypatia.ca> wrote:
> 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.
> -Leigh
> [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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