ACCEASY Project’s LTTA (Learning Training Teaching Activity) was held from the 31st of August to the 2nd of September in Foligno. The town is home for one of the Italian project partners, EGInA, and is located in Umbria, the green heart of Italy, a region rich of cultural and environmental heritage. Professionals from the cultural and tourism sectors were invited here from the different partner countries, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and Cyprus to learn about accessibility to cultural and environmental heritage for people with intellectual disabilities and/or cognitive difficulties.
During the three days of activities, every morning was dedicated to themed sessions hosted by Centro Studi and organized by the different project partners.
The first day FAB and Cyprus Autism Association gave an overview of the concept of disability and types of disabilities, while EGInA and La Locomotiva discussed why understanding disabilities and their challenges is important for cultural heritage experts and operators, and how communication is crucial to facilitate access to culture for everyone.
A local experience of accessibility was presented to the participants in the middle of the Natural Park of Spada Lakes, were the organization La Rondine has worked in collaboration with people with cognitive, intellectual and physical disabilities in the realization of the first tourist guide of Umbria using augmentative alternative communication. The group walked through the park by the social workers and the organization beneficiaries using this special guide and understanding the development process of this innovative tool.
Dinner was hosted by Numero Zero in the city of Perugia, the first inclusive restaurant of Umbria where 50% of the staff is made of psychiatric patients supported by catering professionals and supervised by a clinical team.
The second day was dedicated to an introduction to “Easy to Read”, a method of presenting written information to make it easier to understand for people with reading difficulties.
Guidelines for the use Easy to Read and a presentation of ACCEASY’s intellectual outputs were presented by the Italian partners EGInA and aCapo. Following a coaching circle was guided by EGInA to allow the group to share experiences and express feelings related to social and cultural exclusion. The goal of this collaborative collective activity was to identify the needs and challenges of making culture accessible for everyone. Following, FAB presented some good practices of Easy to Read tourism information: leaflet about Burgos and Cathedral app.
The day ended with a visit to the town of Assisi where all participants were involved in an exercise to learn how to measure the level of accessibility of a site of cultural interest: the beautiful Saint Francis Cathedral.
On the third day, Umbria’s cultural heritage was at the centre of all the activities.
EGInA introduced to the participants to the “Giostra della Quintana” baroque fair, which is the cultural heritage element chosen to be presented in Easy to Read through the project ACCEASY.
A Digital Ghost Hunt was organized to explore the town of Foligno through augmented reality to show how this technology can be used to educate and engage people with the local cultural heritage. Paolo Russo, the president of CRHACK LAB presented the cultural association’s work on the territory to enhance and promote culture among youth through the use of digital technology. Using their smartphones, participants were guided in the search of georeferenced “digital ghosts” scattered around the main points of interest in Foligno’s historic center.
The activities ended with a visit to the Taverna of Rione Badia, one of the old wards of the town. The trainees were welcomed by the organization La Locomotiva and Badia ward’s committee which during the last years have collaborated to make the local traditional fair more accessible and participative for the guests of La Locomotiva. The organization, which works in improving skills and inclusivity of people with intellectual disabilities through creativity, community engagement and active citizenship, has organised a series of activities which constitute a good practice transferrable to other realities and countries.
LTTA participants were very impressed and interested about the presented good practices and very active in the discussion, showing their understanding of how crucial and useful it is for operators in the cultural and tourism sectors to understand disabilities, their challenges and needs.