Curator of Access & Special Projects: 

Marcus Dicky Horley

Address: Bankside London S81 9TG

Phone: +44 (0)20 7887 8888

5 August, 2011

(3rd Interview) 


Services Offered:

Monthly BSL Tours, Touch-tours, Raised floor plans, Large print text, PDE interpretation in BSL & subtitled, Subtitled films, Text to speech software, CCTV Magnifier 

Target Audience:

Adults with learning disabilities, Users of mental health services, the physically disabled, Visually Impaired & deaf

Community Programs With:

Women's groups, Homeless groups, learning disabilities, mental health user groups

Past Partnerships With:

Mencap (learning disabilities), Shape (all disabilities), Royal National Institute Of Blind People, Cutting Edge (Touch Tour flyers in large print and braille)



Social barriers for disabled:

Prejudice & stereotype. Few public services are offered. Limited access to information, buildings and transportation

What the Tate does to aid:

Identify weak points in public systems. Involve disabled people with all decision making that pertains them. Deliver disability equality through accessible facilities 


The 5 Methods Of EXPERIENCING the art

  • Touching Original artwork replicated and donated by artists
  • Touch Tours us cotton gloves for handling art (comfortable, doesn’t transfer dust or moisture). Latex and polythene glove alternatives available.
  • Ability to handle artwork
  • Verbal and written art descriptions
  • Raised 3D Images of selected artwork
  • I-Map (Computer animation to make artwork easier to understand)

Per Our Conversation...

Is there any one particular group whose needs are given priority?

One of the biggest complaints of the disabled communities is the isolation and separation that is pitted between them and the general public. Having the option to be visible and independent is an ongoing struggle, but much wanted. 

Do you work with consulting groups throughout the entirety of developing a gallery?

The Touch Tour used to be Drop-In only but failed because those with disabilities were not accustomed to such accessible features from a museum. Tours were later changed to more manageable smaller groups that combined the sighted patrons with the blind.  

Since the Tate tries to constantly works with the disabled communities to ensure maximum inclusion, feedback with our demographic group was needed to work out the best fit for the blind community. The Royal National Institute of The Blind (RNIB) provided key suggestions for gallery accessibility.

In addition, the curators and guides are trained to be respectful to those with disabilities. 

Final Thoughts?

There is a fragile balance between necessity of disabled programs and general programs which makes funding very important. 

Finding a way to meet both group needs is important! Example, the use of wi-fi allows to transmit information from one gallery to the next which offers benefits to multiple communities and multiple abilities. 


Words of Wisdom!

“Everyone is in the disabled spectrum. Take into account all disabilities!”