Accessibility Policy and Commitment
(During this year’s Bookfair events — Opening Gathering and Art & Anarchy Launch on May 22 (6-9pm), and the Anarchist Bookfair on May 23 & 24 (10am-5pm) — there will be collective members and volunteers identified with purple armbands (near the welcome table, but also participating in Bookfair events). These individuals can be approached if you have any concerns and questions, and the individuals are mandated to make decisions concerning the implementation of our accessibility and safe(r) spaces policies. When possible, Bookfair participants are asked to get in touch with the organizing collective in advance by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org concerning accessibility and/or safe(r) spaces.)
The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair collective actively strives to create an accessible event. We aim to avoid replicating the barriers in society that exclude and marginalize people. Consistent with our principles, we organize the Bookfair in a way that attempts to challenge exclusions deriving from the main forms of social oppression. We are also attentive to less-acknowledged, but no less real, barriers to participation, such as allergies.
In 2010, the Bookfair Collective initiated an Accessibility Fund that is focused on helping to overcome barriers to access to the Bookfair for people with disabilities as well as counteracting ableism. More info about the Bookfair Accessibility Fund is available HERE.
Concretely, our current measures to create an accessible event include:
- providing free childcare;
- making the event safe for and welcoming to children and their parents;
- identifying Bookfair programming that is “designed for kids” or “for all ages”;
- providing translation between English and French;
- organizing ASL or LSQ translation, when notified in advance;
- helping to subsidize adapted taxi transportation to-and-from the Bookfair for people with disabilities;
- free admission;
- requiring journalists to ask before they take pictures;
- assuring wheelchair access to main floor events at the Centre d’éducation populaire de la Petite-Bourgogne et de St-Henri (CÉDA) (the upper floors, where some workshops were held and art displayed in the past, are not accessible to wheelchairs) and being willing to move workshops to wheelchair accessible rooms upon request; our second venue, the Georges-Vanier Cultural Center (CCGV), is wheelchair accessible;
- making the event free of smoke (including around entrance ways) as well as nuts, and perfumes/scents, in order to enable an event that’s kid-friendly and accessible to people who might have allergies, including allergies that are life-threatening;
- providing a space free of animals (except for helper animals such as guide dogs);
- a policy of zero tolerance for racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic and other oppressive behaviors;
- providing gender-neutral washrooms;
- attempting to accommodate specific requests relating to access communicated in advance.
Both venues that host the Bookfair, CÉDA and CCGV, have a policy of no alcohol or other drugs and we ask all participants at the Bookfair to respect this guideline, including in Parc Vinet (the park area between CÉDA & CCGV). The Bookfair collective requests that participants who want to consume do so at a location away from Parc Vinet, CÉDA and CCGV.
Where access depends on the behavior of other participants, we will take steps to communicate and enforce access guidelines, and ask that Bookfair participants concerned about accessibility do the same.
All of our attempts to improve access are made within the limits of our current resources. We welcome suggestions for improvement.