This page contains information about creating access documents as a disabled artist. We have tried our best to lay out the information available in a convenient and efficient manner, but we always welcome feedback and additions to our resources. Please contact [email protected] with any contributions.

What is an access doc?

An access doc, or 'Access Rider,' is a document that outlines your disability access needs. You might make one so that you can give it to galleries/institutions/organisations when you start working with them on a project, such as a gallery you're doing a show at, to let them know what you need them to facilitate to make sure you have equal access to work.

Access Docs for Artists

Access Docs for Artists is a website resource created by Leah Clements, Alice Hattrick, and Lizzy Rose in 2018. The website contains examples, tips, and resources for creating your very own access doc that you can share with artists organisations.

Example Access Rider format

In the example below, you should replace any text written in red with your own information, or delete if inappropriate. You can make your rider as detailed or as streamlined as you feel best suits your needs.

Jane Doe's Access Rider

Introductory paragraph

I am a Creative Producer and Artist. I regularly work with and for arts organisations on collaborative projects and events.

I am autistic and live with chronic pain. You can find out more about supporting neurodivergent employees and colleagues in NEUK Collective's Manifesto

Access requirements

My invisible disabilities, though hidden, impact my life daily. There are particular things that I need in order to gain equal access to workplaces and opportunities. To fully support me in our collaboration, please take the following requests into consideration.

Essential:

  • I need appropriate hardware to support my work, including (but not limited to): ergonomic seating, portable computer and/or mobile device, supports for working at a desk. Where these are needed and not covered by my Access to Work funding, I will alert you at the earliest opportunity.
  • I need greater flexibility around working hours in order to accommodate daily fluctuations in pain and energy levels.
  • I need frequent short breaks in order to maximise comfort and capacity to work throughout the day.

Desirable:

  • I prefer to keep my camera off when using systems like Zoom so that I can fully concentrate on the conversation.
  • I benefit from consistent routines and planning, spontaneous calls or meetings can disrupt my day and energy levels.
  • When working in an office space, I prefer to use noise-cancelling headphones to prevent overstimulation. To get my attention, please refrain from touching me, but signal visually that you would like to talk.

The Social Model of Disability

I identify as disabled under the Social Model of Disability. I would appreciate any collaborators learning a bit about this in order to avoid unexpectedly encountering ableism at work.

Emergency information

My emergency contact is my husband John Doe. He can be reached on this number: 07123456789.

Should I become overstimulated or experience autistic meltdown, please allow me time and space in a quiet environment to recover. In such a scenario, clear and direct communication is desired, but please do not physically touch or try to move me.


Watch artist Dolly Sen discuss how access riders have helped her practice


Banner image: Performer Yolanda Mercy and two other people sitting on chairs in a theatre space. Yolanda is leading a workshop at Camden Roundhouse.