IMD2020 Think Piece by Becki Morris, Director, Disability Collaborative Network (DCN)

Everyone has their part to play within intersectional inclusive practice.  It is a choice to be inclusive.  Becoming inclusive as a museum is about understanding what causes barriers and why, and we can do that through collaboration and information sharing.  Collaboration then allows us to identify and plan how these barriers can be removed.  Disability Collaborative Network’s mission for the past 5 years has been exactly that.  And now, through our partnership with EMBED, a unique cross-sector inclusion consortium, we are bringing business skills and intersectional inclusive strategy into the sector.

Inclusion is now critical to the survival of the sector.  It’s critical to represent itself to all people and their changing needs as a sector that is fully inclusive and accessible for all – intersectional inclusion is for each and every one of us.  There are key lessons to learn from the COVID crisis, lessons which have revealed that we have an opportunity to change the sector in a way that will support its longevity and accessibility.  COVID has shown the need for visitors to be able to engage with digital experiences, digital communications and digital content.  It is also clear that, as a sector, we must now embrace flexible working practices.  These are key lessons.  However, another lesson is the need for us to influence inclusion within society: it affects the perception of the sector as one where everyone is welcomed.  This is paramount to the engagement of both workforce and visitors.

We need to focus on creating collaborative narratives as part of equal partnerships that engage in multiple inclusive ways.  It is also clear that the fragility of the sector needs to change, underpinned by embracing good business practice within a non-profit organisation.  My fear is that issues around money will be the challenge that results in a lack of collaboration, losing the opportunity to come together and thereby limiting creativity and innovation.

I finish with a question: how can we come together to create a clear path and timeline for the sector that embraces and embeds intersectional inclusion and digital ways of working?