Smart Places Working Group, Accessible & Inclusive Legacies in the Public Realm: 2012-2022(+) – 6th October 2021

06 October 2021

20 people met on 6 October 2021 to discuss “Accessible and Inclusive Digital Legacies in the Public Realm: 2012-2022(+)”. 12 people joined the conversation in person, and 8 joined on Zoom, which made this the first-ever hybrid Smart Places Working Group meeting. The event started with presentations by David Clarke from the Royal Institute of Blind People, Becky Frall from the West Midlands Growth Company’s, and David Boughey from EnV, then concluded with 40-minute breakout conversations.

David Clarke shared his lived experience of interacting with the public realm as a blind person, which ultimately led to a discussion about AccessTech and the built environment in public service.

Becky Frall shared about the WMGC’s current work to build accessible and inclusive visitor experiences as part of the City of Culture and Commonwealth Games cultural programmes, which includes integrating disability awareness training for frontline staff and building interactive visitor maps.

David Boughey shared about the Coventry Ambassadors volunteer programme, which he and his team have been running since the 2012 Olympics, and discussed how, in this instance, technology has been a barrier rather than an enabler. David was joined by Astrid Clarke and Marie Goodwill-Allen, two Coventry Ambassador volunteers who have been part of the programme since it began.

The speakers shared the following asks:

  • David Clarke: 
    • How can the public sector integrate AccessTech into the built environment and public realm to benefit people of all abilities?
  • Becky Frall: 
    • What is best practice for an interactive visitor map? 
    • Is there an existing technology-or an idea waiting to hatch-to create an interactive and accessible visitor experience for City of Culture, Commonwealth Games, and beyond?
    • What does an accessible communications portal look like for frontline staff?
  • David Boughey:
    • How can EnV use technology to make Welcome Walks more accessible?
    • What does an integrated physical and digital Welcome Walk experience look like?

Actions and Next Steps:

  • Sarah Windrum and Devon Geary will request a conversation with Adam Hawksbee about digital inclusion and accessibility within the West Midlands Digital Roadmap.
  • SPWG network will consider completing a STEAMhouse Sprint to dig deeply into the idea of accessible and inclusive digital legacies in the public realm. 

Current Progress on Actions

  • Devon Geary and Sophia Tarr have had a follow up conversation about this and agreed that the event attendees involved in this conversation will need to meet again to drill down to the specific question the Sprint would address, including which people should be involved in the Sprint. There will also need to be a discussion about resource and who will hold the Sprint.
  • Please email Devon if you’d like to be part of this conversation –

You find our more about the next Smart Places Working Group, or access any previous content here.