Accessibility, in general usage, is often understood pragmatically as being able to freely access a certain building or event, or public transport. This term, however, covers a lot more:
Accessibility is relevant for persons with
- physical and/or motor impairments
- sensory impairments
- psychic impairments
- chronic diseases
- autistic perception
- reading, spelling and/or arithmetic disabilities
- acute conditions, injuries, sequelae of accidents
- or similar.
Accessibility in the wider sense enables persons with different forms of disabilities adequate
- organisation of their daily routines
- aids or
Accessibility of the provision of goods, services or information
Since 1 January 2016, the Act on the Equality of Persons with Disabilities has been applicable to all companies throughout Austria. All goods, services and information intended for the public must be accessible. A ten-year transition period was granted for the removal of barriers in buildings, means of transport, traffic and transport facilities before the Act entered into force on 1 January 2006. This period expired on 31 December 2015.
Accessibility means that
- goods and services which are sold publicly must be accessible,
- business premises, establishments, etc. must be clear of structural barriers;
- all customers must have access to information (e.g. website or brochures).
Accessibility of structural and other installations, means of transport, etc.
Accessibility is deemed to exist if structural and other installations, means of transport, technical commodities, information processing systems and other designed areas of life can be accessed and used by persons with disabilities
· in the commonly practiced manner,
· without particular difficulty, and
· generally without help from others.
The factual difficulty lies however in the following: Although the law intends to establish accessibility as fully as possible, there is no discrimination if removing barriers involves high costs and expenses, or is even illegal.
For example, required structural changes may not be permitted due to monument protection regulations.
Accessibility for artists
All the dimensions mentioned are relevant for artists with special needs or with specific limitations. For the purposes of this chapter, three areas are concerned in particular:
· accessibility when travelling
· accessibility of spaces in which artists practice or wish to present their art.
But there are also the following fundamental dimensions:
· accessibility of education and work – this relates specifically to social and labour law provisions, and
· accessibility when it comes to cultural participation (and here: as an active artist as well as a viewer or spectator)
These areas will be dealt with in the following.