Richard Lohan from Camden presenting

Our RIX Community Event on Tuesday 27th February may have taken place in blinding snow blizzard, but everyone attending walked away from the day with a clearer vision of how they can use Wikis to make information easier to understand and more person-centred.

The aim of the day was to go back to basics and re-calibrate people’s ideas about what makes a high quality Wiki.

Richard Lohan, Accessible Information Officer for the London Borough of Camden, shared Camdens’ Wiki portal of accessible public information Wikis. Richard explained his working approach to making & maintaining this exemplar set of Wikis that provide information about council services and local activities in Camden.

Follow the link to see how Richard’s consistent ‘one image, one sentence, one idea’ and use of photo-symbols and sound make information that is extraordinarily clear and easy to understand.

Richard delivered a workshop where he gave practical tips and guidelines on how to make information better for everyone. Perhaps the most vital point Richard stressed was that since the 2010 Equality Act, “making information easier to understand is, in fact, a legal requirement” and a reasonable adjustment that is the responsibility of all local authorities and education organisations to make.

Other presentations included Judith Appiah & Michal Tapps from the PurpleSTARS Project, who demonstrated how Wiki can be a useful tool for researchers & co-researchers alike.

RIX Co-Director Gosia Kwiatkowska also made a presentation that brought the focus of Wiki use clearly back to the principles and approach of Multimedia Advocacy. Breaking down the components of self-advocacy Gosia explained how “without putting these principles into practice, the Wiki is just a tool like anything else“.

Richard’s accessible information workshop

 

Gosia presenting

The adverse weather conditions (and perhaps the looming April deadline for transition to EHCP) meant for a smaller than usual attendance, however the smaller group gave us the opportunity to deliver a highly person-centred community event that really addressed the needs of everyone who came.

All attendees were asked to identify individual learning goals in the morning and by the end of the day had successfully met their learning objectives!

Actress Sally Phillips was hosted by the RIX Research & Media team this week and introduced to our RIX Wiki software, when she made a public appearance at UEL on Monday to talk about her career and her advocacy work for people with Down’s.

Sally is well known for her role in TV and Film, including Smack the Pony, Miranda and Bridget Jones Diary. She is also a mother of Olly, who has Down’s Syndrome and is a passionate advocate for people with Down’s. Sally produced and hosted a BBC Documentary called ‘A World Without Downs’ in 2015, which challenges the whole set of assumptions behind the pre-natal screening for Down’s and what this reflects about the way our society and the medical establishment views people with this condition. Ms Phillips received an honorary doctorate from UEL in November 2017, in recognition of her high profile advocacy work for people with Down’s.

Following her presentation, which was chaired by the RIX Director, Professor Andy Minnion, Sally joined the RIX team and some of our Wiki Champions at the RIX Centre and learned about our work. Ms Phillips met with RIX staff and RIX Wiki Champion, Claire Watts, whose son Alfie also has Down’s Syndrome. Alfie has learned how to build his own RIX Wiki and this helps him to share his life, his interests and achievements and communicate his needs and aspirations with teachers and the various other professionals that work with him.

Claire used her son’s Wiki to present Alfie’s story to Ms Phillips and show how the Wiki helped to improve the way in which her son is supported and perceived as an individual. Her presentation clearly resonated with Sally and echoed some of her own experiences.

Ms Phillips was impressed by the RIX Wiki tool and said that she felt her son Olly would love to have one of his own. We look forward to seeing how Olly, his mother and his family get on with RIX Wikis over the coming months. Watch this space!

 

Re-set your Wiki Button!

RIX Wiki Community Event

Tuesday 27th February 2018 – 10am – 4pm

RIX Research & Media, University of East London Docklands Campus, London. E16 2RD

Calling all Wiki Coordinators! The next RIX Wiki Community Event is going back to basics:

  • Rethinking Wikis for Information
  • Making images work for you
  • Gearing up Easy-to-Read with Multimedia
  • Re-focusing on Multimedia Advocacy – Putting it into practice with Wikis

We’re gathering together great models of best practice that we’ve found out about, that we want to play back to you our community of Wiki users.

We will be sharing the outcomes from our 2017 RIX Wiki Impact Evaluation, as well as talking about Wikis for Local Offer and really zooming in on how to support people to make great Wikis & make your information Wikis even better.

Click HERE to download the flyer or to book your place email rixadmin@uel.ac.uk

How Do RIX Wikis Impact the Effectiveness of SEND Service Delivery?

Free Webinar with live Q&A

Aired: Wednesday 19th February 2018,  13:00 – 13:30

Andy Minnion MBE discusses findings from our research, which included nine Local Authorities, showing the impact of RIX Wikis in making SEND provision more efficient.

 

Key Findings discussed:

 

  • How Efficiencies and Cost Savings are being achieved through streamlining personalisation, improved administration, a reduced need for meetings and paperwork and less litigious negotiations.
  • How RIX Wikis have improved Communication between providers and families, meeting SEND Reform aspirations for less adversarial interaction between families and local authorities with reduced disputes and tribunals.
  • How Local Authorities are using RIX Wikis to provide Accessible Information, signposting people to services and information to complement and improve the Local Offer.

 

Links referred to in the webinar:

Camden’s RIX Wiki information portal:

https://www.rixwiki.org/camden/all-our-wikis/

 

RIX Wiki’s embedded into the Camden local offer website:

http://cindex.camden.gov.uk/kb5/camden/cd/advice.page?id=sKy7Tk8j30U

Sensory postcards at Tate Modern

On the 24th and 26th of January this year, the PurpleSTARS mounted a ‘Pop-Up Museum’ at the Tate Modern to highlight the group’s innovative approach to making public culture more relevant and engaging for people with learning disabilities. The Pop-Up was featured as part of the Gallery’s Tate Exchange programme designed to provide educational experience themed around their Art Exhibitions.

Our Pop Up Museum was inspired by a show at the Tate Modern by the Kabakovs, celebrated artists from Russia who use different formats and materials to explore the relationship between art exhibits, their audiences and the authorities that commission art and influence what is deemed to be worthy of putting on public display. The PurpleSTARS were particularly inspired by an installation by Ilya Kabakov called ‘The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away’, made in 1996 and based on an imaginary character who had collected all of the ordinary items and rubbish he gathered throughout his life and then labelled and displayed them in his apartment. The Pop-Up Museum provided a way for visitors to the Kabakovs’ Tate Exhibition to rethink their own throw-away items in the same way, share their own stories of daily life and take part in a re-worked version of a public installation.

Visitors to the Pop-Up Museum were asked to donate a personal object to share any memories and stories associated with their contribution. The PurpleSTARS team guided visitors through the process, supporting and encouraging them to reflect on the sensory dimensions of both their objects and their memories. In this way the Pop Up Museum provided visitors with a cluster of multi-sensory experiences, making the Museum accessible for visitors of all ages and with different abilities. One visitor who created a display featuring pair of used theatre tickets with her mother said of her visit to the Pop-Up, “What a wonderful way to build a memory and story around an object I thought I had very little connection to. Awesome to sit with my Mum and make something together. Thank You”

The PurpleSTARS effectively co-curated their pop-up Museum on the spot at the Tate with its visitors. The team ran creative arts and media activity; using interactive postcards to make labels for the collection and interviewing visitors about their objects on video, running a photo shoot lit with purple light – and building a Sensory Pop-Up Museum Wiki on the spot with all the contributors.

On Friday, Judith, Rafaro and Kate from the Purple Stars delivered a ‘Ten Minute Tate Talk’ about the Pop-Up in front of Kabakov’s installation – making a piece of history as the first ever ‘Tate Talk’ to be delivered within a paying exhibition!

The Pop-Up Museum’s Wiki serves as a permanent Archive for the temporary Museum, providing a way to share the work of the PurpleSTARS more widely and inspiring other Exhibitions and Museums to consider adopting the creative approaches developed by our Enterprise to make their own collections more inclusive.

The ‘Pop Up Museum’ is to be one of a set of Training and Consultancy packages that the PurpleSTARS will offer UK Museums and Galleries when the Enterprise launches later this year. You can visit the PurpleSTARS website at www.purplestars.org.uk.

This project is the latest focus for the RIX Research & Media’s collaborative work with artists and technologists from Reading University and people with learning disabilities affiliated with RIX, who have developed skills and expertise in making public culture more inclusive. The PurpleSTARS sensory specialists are based at the Tower Project in East London and have been developing their professional service offer for Museums and Galleries with RIX as an inclusive enterprise in collaboration with Reading University and Tower’s Jobs, Enterprise and Training programme (JET). The project is supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as a Follow on Project for the three-year Sensory Objects Research Project that the partners completed in 2016.

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