disability accessibility

Direct Access appoints Steve Dering as new chief operations officer

Steve Dering has been appointed chief operations officer by disability accessibility consultancy Direct Access.

Having spent the past two years project managing the organisation’s work on Expo 2020 Dubai, the new chief operations officer will assume his duties on 1st July 2020.

Dering, who has been with Direct Access since 2017, spent the past two years focused on the design, finish specifications and ancillary aids required to make the aforementioned UAE site fully accessible – not just in terms of physical construction but also within programming and curation.

He is now expanding his scope across all areas of Direct Access’ work, including in the museums and heritage sector. The organisation’s industry clients include the UNESCO Roman Baths in Somerset, Preston’s Harris Museum, historic Stowe House, and the West Midlands Museum Development Association.

“As lock-down eases, organisations are reviewing their accessibility in line with government guidelines for social distancing which is creating some interesting challenges for our museum and heritage clients,” notes Dering.

“Achieving heritage accessibility is much more than just adding elevators and ramps, as heritage encompasses everything from natural landscapes to ceremonial traditions. Making heritage available for future generations is a key part of sustainable conservation practises, which should include the participation of people from all ages and abilities.

“It is important to remember that people are not disabled; rather, it is poorly designed environments that create barriers which disable people.”