ACCESS: Barriers, Boundaries & Beyond
When I first arrived at the UW campus, I was left behind on a campus tour. I was using my walker that day and felt invisible and unimportant. When attempting to navigate through campus on my own, I found it difficult to locate the ADA entrances. I’m not alone as many other mobility-impaired individuals struggle with these issues on campus every day. After complaints to the administration failed, this is my opportunity to show the entire campus the struggles some of their peers face. With enough visibility and support, change is possible.
ACCESS: Barriers, Boundaries & Beyond is a multifaceted activist installation, collaboration, and performance piece that includes video, collage, wayfinding signage, wearables, surveys, and various other methods to connect with viewers. ACCESS is an ongoing project of socially engaged art that examines the perception of accessibility on and off college campuses among students, faculty, and staff, whether disabled or not. The project began as a collage piece documenting inaccessible routes on the University of Washington campus and grew into a collaborative effort with university students across the country, including a is a collection of images in collaboration with Disability Studies students at the Univesity of Miami at Oxford, Ohio. The intent is an exploration of how individuals identify barriers to accessibility, including hidden barriers that may impact individuals with so-call invisible disabilities.
The current chapter in the ACCESS project deals with a more broad definition of barriers to education. Project What’s Your Barrier? calls out stairs as a barrier to my education and asks the viewer about their barriers through an available survey accessible via QR code. This assemblage uses the colors of traditional ADA signage in materials like vinyl and flagging tape to call attention to the inaccessibility of various parts of the UW campus. A prominent site-specific installation at Odegaard Undergraduate Library will be revealed on June 2nd, 2022 calling attention to the central staircase as a focal point, while also utilizing an excess of wayfinding markers to point the way to the closest elevator. Leading up to the event, a sequence of guerrilla art installations designed to block highly visible staircases, calling attention to the difficulties individuals with mobility issues face on a daily basis, will take place on campus with video documentation on display during the exhibition in addition to available viewing on the website tagatsby.com/activism. More information about the ACCESS project is available online where you can take the What’s Your Barrier? survey and have an opportunity to join the fight for accessibility.