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Accessibility photo library launches to drive change

Accessibility advocate, Mary Fisher, in collaboration with the Access Alliance and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, have launched a photo library to encourage the public to notice access barriers in our everyday lives.

Mary toured Wellington’s city centre pausing to document both positive and problematic examples of accessibility in action. The photo library is to showcase these examples and provide a resource for anyone interested in making sure their buildings, products and services are accessible to all.

The public are encouraged to view, share, and contribute to the photo library here on Flickr.

Mary Fisher, an Accessibility Advocate and Paralympic swimming medallist who is blind says “For me, living with a disability in Aotearoa New Zealand at the moment means I often miss out on information, and travelling independently can be a challenge. With education and government-led initiatives we can become fully accessible."

“I helped put this library together to give others a sense of the everyday barriers disabled persons face in the hope that bringing them to light will help remove them.

“Accessibility is about more than the built environment, it means all Kiwis, 24% of whom identify as having a disability, can access websites, public transport information, menus, health forms, education and signage. We all deserve access to the resources and information we need to have a job and partake in community life.

“Technology has increasingly enabled greater access however, many digital formats still in common use are inaccessible to some people.

“Signage is a big one for me, the accessibility photo library includes examples of good and poor signage. I'm fortunate that my workplace has brilliant examples of Braille labels on doors, draws and buttons which help me navigate."

Paula Tesoriero, Disability Rights Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, says “Disabled people experience everyday barriers in the built environment, in the digital world and in gaining access to goods and services.”

“Usually we won’t even notice when something is inaccessible unless it directly affects us. This photo library can help us all become more conscious of everyday barriers and draw attention to them.”

Chrissie Cowan, CEO of Kāpō Māori Aotearoa, a national indigenous Disabled Persons’ Organisation and Chair of the Access Alliance says "The Access Alliance are working with the Government to draft a work programme that introduces accessibility law that will encourage and support the continuance of the types of good accessibility examples shown in the photo library.

"The photo library is a visual collage of what good and not so good accessibility looks like in Aotearoa New Zealand. It highlights that accessibility is broader than the built environment, builds our understanding of what good accessibility should look like, and shows that accessibility legislation and education around accessibility is the right thing to do."

Commissioner Tesoriero concludes “I hope people will share their photos of examples of good and not-so-good design to keep building the library so we can all learn more about what works for accessibility.”

View the video here that features Mary Fisher's experience creating the Accessibility Photo Library.


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