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A Visit to ZSL London Zoo: Summer 2017

Tags: #LondonZoo #SummerOuting #social
Banner Image credit: Ryan Prince Art.

On Sunday 16 July, we went on our first group social visit to ZSL London Zoo and we were quite fortunate to have good weather throughout our 4 hour visit, except for very light showers right at the end of the day. We were keen for our VI’s, family and companions to have a memorable and fun day out, exploring some of the animal enclosures and visitor areas throughout the zoo. We also had the opportunity to check out some of the facilities including the shops, Amphitheatre and the Terrace Restaurant.

A view of the Penguin Beach. There are 3 penguins to the left of this photograph, all perching comfortably on the side of the beach. There is a outbuilding in the background, with 2 large trees close by. In the foreground is a view of the clear blue water.

Image: A view of the Penguin Beach.
Image credit: MaMoMi.

ZSL London Zoo

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) was founded in 1826 and is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Their groundbreaking science and active conservation projects are now in more than 50 countries and their two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Our Visit

From visiting the Land of the Lions, birds in the Snowdon Aviary, the giraffes in Into Africa, the Tiger Territory, Gorilla Kingdom, the Penguin Beach and a walk-through of the tropical birds enclosure that is called the Blackburn Pavilion, the zoo provided an intriguing space and ideal location for a group social visit. With over 20,166 animals (the official figure from 1st of January 2017) at ZSL London Zoo, there was a lot to view, experience, enjoy, have lots of conversations around and learn from.

Images, clockwise from top: Andrew giving a little intro on entry to the zoo; Lynn and Victoria have a chat; a view of the Tiger Territory through the protective glass; Camels feeding; the group listening to the Macaws as they are being fed; Devaki and our support team and family all stroking the goats in the Touch Zone; and Ramona and Jean with support team.
Image credit: Ryan Prince Art.

Admittedly, we did not expect to see all the animals but the time spent was just about right for us as we weaved around and negotiated so many outdoor spaces and indoor animal enclosures. It was an even more enjoyable day as the weather in London was quite nice, with only a few minutes of light drizzles observed near the end of our visit.

Access

It was great to see that the zoo had a lot of accessible areas, with places like the Land of the Lions and the Tiger Territory wheelchair friendly and with lifts. We also noted that walking around was quite easy with most of the paths made with tarmac. There were also several disabled toilets located around the zoo, and for our pitstop for lunch, we chose to use the toilets by the Terrace Restaurant.

There was a limited number of wheelchairs available for hire which can be booked in advance. Understandably, the zoo has a number of listed buildings like the penguin pool, which restricts the upgrade needed to make it physically accessible to wheelchair users and children.

Assistance dogs are not currently permitted inside ZSL London Zoo because some of their animals react negatively to the presence of dogs. The Zoo is working with Guide Dogs UK to resolve this and hope to be able to welcome guide dogs to certain areas of the zoo in the future.

Finally

This was an incredibly fun day and we’d recommend ZSL London Zoo as a viable place to visit. We shall be planning more group visits in the future, with a focus on specific animals, enclosures and sensory experiences.

Images: On the left are Jean and her companion; on the right is a group photograph with all VI’s, family, companions and MaMoMi support team.
Image credit: Ryan Prince Art.

Thank you to the staff at ZSL London Zoo, with a special mention of the Discovery and Learning department, and the Press Office.

London Zoo Tiger Territory

Image: The group walking into the Tiger Territory
Image credit: Ryan Prince Art

Andrew Mashigo
MaMoMi

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Action Painting: A Musical Composition

“Action Painting” is a musical composition created in response to a painting from our 2016 Dialogue Beyond Sight Exhibition. This musical composition was done at the chamber orchestra, in Malaga, Spain, by music composer and orchestra conductor Mr. Antonio Moral Jurado, and reveals a process that mimics the relation and points of union between approaches to a pictorial work and approaches to a musical work.

Spanish artist Ismael Moga attended our collaborative exhibition, and was one of the many sighted artists who contributed immensely to the dialogue around cross-disciplinary practice with visually impaired and blind creative practitioners. His painting, AfterHere, was created during a workshop activity run by British artist Rachel Gadsden, who co-curated the exhibition.

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AfterHere, painting by Ismael Moga

Image: AfterHere, by Ismael Moga.

“Action Painting” uses reference points such as style, movement, speed, energy and all those elements that give surface and colour to the painting’s texture. It also uses as a starting point the musical work, idealisation and abstraction of the creative process in the creation of the watercolour painting “AfterHere”.

In this composition, Ismael was looking to create a framework for action, by channelling certain sounds and gestural impulses happening through the harmonic and temporal spaces, which may sometimes be limiting. “Its leads to the obtaining of certain timbral or tonal determinations and colour implications, a function of the alternation between themselves”, Ismael said.
Below is the musical composition ACTION PAINTING, by Mr Antonio Moral Jurado.

Credits:

Artist: Mr Ismael Moga.
Musical composition title: Action Painting.
Author: Mr Antonio Moral Jurado, 2017.Music commissioned by Mr. David García Carmona, Director of Chamber Orchestra of the CSM of Malaga, Spain.
Director of Orchestra: David García Carmona.

Dialogue Beyond Sight exhibition is a MaMoMi project supported by Arts Council England

Audience Integration in Public Arts venues: Accessibility.

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Supporting Accessibility in our various communities and amongst diverse interests through the arts, design and other Media platforms ultimately creates a more Accessible society. 

It is a known fact that the ageing population is increasing and greater longevity plus the increased numbers with known and recognised disability means there is an urgent need to tackle some of the issues surrounding Access and Inclusion.

Attending the Audience Accessibility Models for Performing Art Spaces seminar, held at the Daryl Roth Theatre 2, East street, New York, on the 7th of October, gave me an opportunity to gain more insight into the various approaches, policies and strategies currently in place to improve Access.

This event was co-sponsored by Art Beyond Sight and the Inclusion in the Arts, and brought together recognised arts and disability experts, arts professionals, government agencies, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) specialists, program directors and disability advocates, sharing best practices and resources for performing arts spaces.

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 Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen R. Covey

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It is crucial to understand exactly what is desired and what is possible as we continue to unravel some of the issues surrounding Accessibility. The above quote by Stephen R. Covey was used by Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel, founder and President of Art Beyond Sight (ABS), at the close of the seminar.

As we aspire for greater independence for our disabled community, “we all need to listen to the needs of the community and employ the various or multiple ends to fulfil these goals.” – Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel.

Below are a few excerpts and key texts taken from speakers at the seminar.

Speakers:

Julia Pinover is Senior Staff Attorney in charge of Disability Rights Advocates’ New York Office.

“Many of our public accommodation breaks the law by not providing effective communication and suitable seating arrangement.”

The law requires that:

Sight-lines in theatre seating should be comparable to the general public;

We cannot discriminate against people with disabilities, and there are no excuses for denying or segregating them;

We cannot deny someone the right to sit in a performance;

We cannot serve persons with disability with a separate benefit not available to others.

 

John McEwen is the Executive Director, New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

“When you are developing your Access programmes, always have long-range plans.”

Access programme providers should:

Include self-assessments to assess programme, services and facilities;

Create and provide non-discrimination policies (Policy statement);

Find out what more we can do to provide a better service;

Be encouraged to create a grievance procedure to resolve any disputes;

Be encouraged to share Advisory boards across organisations (for developing plans and strategies).

 

Jason R. Mischel is currently the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel, New York City Mayors Office for People with Disabilities.

“We need to make the experience of people with disabilities as best and full an experience as other people are afforded.”

A lot of old buildings do not have appropriate seating and many have very poor sight-lines;

There are differences in the kind of facilities needed as some blind and deaf people have a variation in the tools needed.

 

David Sweeney is Executive Director of the Healing Arts Initiative, formerly known as Hospital Audiences.

“Removing barriers can be challenging.”

Many people have compound disability;

Cultural venues who are non-responsive have incomplete conversations;

We need to remove isolations and cultural divisions;

People need Education (informed perspectives) instead of the ignorance currently observed.

 

Christine Bruno is an Actor, director and coach.

“ADA compliance does not mean the venues or cultural institutions are Accessible.”

Accessibility has to do with communication;

We all need to keep the lines of communication open.

 

Beth Prevor is the co-founder and Executive Director of Hands On.

“Access should be about Audience up, not compliance down.”

The Ethos and ideology should be about improving Access;

We need to develop a centralised calendar for Accessibility programmes;

The experience is about communicating the experience and sharing the experience.

Other speakers included Frances Black, Director of Programs at A.R.T/New York; Lisa Caring, from Theatre Development Fund’s Accessibility Programs (TAP); Heidi Latsky, Artistic Director of Heidi Latsky Dance; Rachel Reiner, Senior Manager of Membership Services and Education Programs at The Broadway League, Inc; David Harrell, Actor, Speaker and disability Advocate; and Alexandria Wailes, Actor and ASL Consultant.

In summary, is this was a successful seminar, openly discussing Accessibility and Inclusion issues, and sharing best practice in Performing Arts Spaces and other Cultural institutions. It is clear that lines of communication need to be kept open not only between public accommodation providers, cultural institutions and their audience but also within the various disability audiences.

It has been stated that cross-institutional collaborations should be viewed as key to the success of removing barriers and improving Access because relevant information, expertise and resources can be shared by all responsive institutions, which will make this knowledge readily available and shared.

There is still a lot that can be done to educate front-of-house and Museum staff, the Managers, collections Curators and Directors on the issues around Accessibility, not only in the arts but in our lifestyle choices. The policies set up by government, and the practices upheld by cultural institutions, organisations and other responsive institutions can be equally supported by front-of-house staff and their management structure.

At the end of the day, the greatest concern and interest we currently have regarding Accessibility is about Audience Integration. 

We shall continue this goal with the end still in sight.

Audience Accessibility Models in Performing Art Spaces was co-sponsored by Art Beyond Sight and the Inclusion in the Arts