ACCESS SERVER: Dreaming, practicing and making access


  • MELT (Ren Loren Britton and Iz Paehr)



ACCESS SERVER is an e-mail server that anonymizes, collects and financially compensates access requests that disabled people send to cultural institutions. This design research project pushes institutions towards caring for disability access, and upholds disabled knowledges that are currently underdiscussed, underpaid and not cared for by cultural institutions in Europe. In line with the UN Disability Treaty from 2016, ACCESS SERVER supports cultural institutions in transforming their practices so that accessibility is cared for. In this paper, we conceptualize ACCESS SERVER in relation to access, ableism and direct and indirect discrimination. We tend to conflicts, questions, and frictional anti-assimilationist crip technoscience (Hamraie and Fritsch, 2019) perspectives, and locate friction and its relation to heat as a link through technical practices that take shape against ableist cultural institutional infrastructures. In analyzing frictional experiences that emerged when institutional workers encountered the concepts around ACCESS SERVER and our demands for access, we identify three key barriers to partnership building between disabled people and institutions on the basis of our experiences with a European cultural institution: lack of accountability, lack of engagement and barrier guilt. Finally, we discuss technical-financial questions to realize ACCESS SERVER



2023-01-16 — Updated on 2023-02-07


How to Cite

MELT (Ren Loren Britton and Iz Paehr). (2023). ACCESS SERVER: Dreaming, practicing and making access. First Monday, 28(1). (Original work published January 16, 2023)



3. Disability expertise resists and transforms ableist norms