Equity and Accessibility in Galleries and Museums: From Collections to Facilities

Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries Professional Development Workshop

Images (top left to right): Jet Coghlan, TANGLED Art + Disability; Heather George, Woodland Cultural Centre; Armando Perla, Canadian Museum Association; (bottom left to right) Juline Chevaliar, Royal Ontario Museum; Wendy Ng, Twin Muses Consulting; Heidi Ophelia Persuad, TANGLED Art + Disability.

Thursday, June 1st, 2023
9:30 AM to 4:15 PM
at the Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave, Toronto

This is a hybrid event, in-person and streaming.
ASL interpretation available upon request.


Art institutions strive to be creative places of learning through their collections, exhibitions, programming, and facilities. This all-day workshop for art professionals will deepen the current understanding of key issues making collections accessible, welcoming, and informative for all communities. Understand and learn how to remedy the numerous barriers that prevent many from exploring and enjoying the world of art. If you build the space and relationships, they will come.


1) Inclusive Digital Media & Physical Access in Practice with Heidi Ophelia Persuad, Gallery Manager, and Jet Coghlan, Digital Coordinator, TANGLED Art + Disability

This presentation will explore a brief history of disability justice and principles. It will also cover the application of experimental practices based on lived experiences that are ever changing and growing.

2) Access within Public Art Galleries and Museums

Access for people living with disabilities is vital for creating an equitable space. This presentation explores the different aspects of access, including buildings and services, appropriate consultation, discourse and decision-making. Concrete examples of inclusive practices and accessible environments, such as audio-description, visual stories and research on artists with disabilities, will be shared.

3) Representation in Collections with Wendy Ng, Owner of Twin Muses Consulting and former Senior Education Specialist at Art Gallery of Ontario and Ontario Science Center; and with Juline Chevalier, Assistant Vice President, Interpretation, Royal Ontario Museum

Collections and exhibitions must respond to equity issues across communities, including race, gender, class, and disability, while offering multiple levels and types of knowledge and perspectives. This session will analyze and discuss how art institutions can use education and interpretation of their collections to ensure that historically excluded communities are represented equally and respectfully.

4) Engagement with Communities (Part 1) with Heather George, Executive Director, Woodland Cultural Centre, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory

Building relationships with different communities is a fundamental pillar of public art institutions. This session will discuss legal, ethical and practical considerations for collaborating and partnering with communities represented in collections, and ways to address under-represented and marginalized people. Cultivating community relationships takes time, creativity, and care must be maintained to create meaningful lasting partnerships.

Engagement with Communities (Part 2) with Armando Perla, Vice-President Canadian Museums Association and former Chief Curator, City of Toronto History Museums

There are currently no ethical guidelines for public art galleries and museums in Canada or abroad that provide a path for art professionals to work responsibly with historically marginalized communities. This presentation highlights ways to engage with communities to collectively create unique Ad Hoc guidelines.

5) Roundtable Discussion: Barriers and Access with Heather George, Juline Chevalier, Jet Coghlin, Wendy Ng, Heidi Ophelia Persuad

There are many barriers that prevent people from visiting art institutions. Financial means, cultural accessibility, and public access are all obstacles hindering people’s ability to visit public art galleries and museums. This lively discussion will provide understanding of these issues and different solutions institutions can take to increase their accessibility to people.

6) TOUR the Textile Museum’s exhibition Gathering with Roxane Shaughnessy, Senior Curator & Manager of Collection, and Leah Sanchez, Senior Manager, Community Engagement & Learning. Gathering is the inaugural installation of the museum’s Collection Gallery and explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment.


GOG Members: $175.00
General/Non-Members: $275.00
Artist / Independent Art Worker $55.00
Student: $45.00

Download Registration Form and email to members@galeries-ontario-galleries.ca with subject line ‘Equity and Accessibility in Galleries Workshop Registration.”


The Textile Museum of Canada is an accessible venue, accessibility information available.

ASL interpretation available upon request. GOG is committed to making our programming accessible to all participants and it is our policy to hold events where physical barriers do not exclude people with disabilities from participating.

Upcoming GOG Professional Development Workshop on May 31st, 2023

Details on our website.

Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries has over a 50 year history as an arts service organization (ASO) and represents over 270 members—public art galleries, museums, artist-run-centres, and arts organizations. Through advocacy on issues, policy, legislation to all levels of government, and delivery of innovative and cutting-edge professional development opportunities and network-building, GOG advances, empowers, and strengthens the visual arts sector in Canada.

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For more information contact:

Craig Berggold
Workshop Coordinator
Galeries Ontario / Ontario Galleries
E: project@galeries-ontario-galleries.ca
T: (416) 598-0714

GOG gratefully acknowledges the Textile Museum of Canada for its partnership and providing the venue for this workshop; and the funding contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, the Department of Canadian Heritage.