Saturday, February 19, 2011

Open Letter to Proud Galleries

Dear Mr Proud,

I was dismayed to hear that today, your gallery refused entry to a woman who is a wheelchair user, on the basis that her wheelchair took up too much room. Your website boasts of 'some of the best press coverage in the country' and 'exciting, cutting edge and sometimes controversial' exhibitions, and states, rather ironically in the circumstances, that "Based upon a formula of exhibiting accessible shows around popular themes Proud Galleries instantly took the photography industry by storm".

How accessible is a show if a woman is not allowed to enter because of her use of a wheelchair?

As well as being deeply disrespectful and offensive, I am sure you are aware that this is also illegal under the Disability Discrimination Act. I see also that you have Mencap listed under your Sponsors, and I will be contacting them separately to ensure they are aware of this situation.

Dear Mencap,

Please find below an email I have just sent to Proud Galleries, who list you as a sponsor. I thought you would want to be aware of the situation.

**Edited to add. Since posting this message, @proudgalleries have posted the following tweet:
"Sorry for upset. We have 2 wheel chair access points, we open our doors to everyone. Capacity was reached, it was a 1 in 1 out policy to all."