After going through all my work from this module, I decided that my artefact based on the idea of disability in education, under the title Un-represented Groups, was not strong enough, and did not show my full potential as a photographer.
I decided to stick with the idea of disability, however I wanted to focus on accessibility, especially in Paris. On a visit to Paris, when travelling around, I noticed that the Metro system wasn’t very ‘disability friendly’, there were often many stairs and long walks linking different lines together. I decided to do a bit more research into this accessibility of the Metro stations, I found:
- Very few Metro / RER lines have roll-on accessibility for the train itself.
- For travellers with reduced mobility, but not confined to a wheelchair, certain stations feature long connections requiring a good deal of walking or stair climbing which may be best to avoid.
- Nearly all stations feature escalators, but there are often small sets of stairs which are present throughout the Metro for traversing over or under connecting lines.
- On the whole, the Paris metro offers poor accessibility to limited-mobility and disabled travellers. For the time being, only Metro line 14 is fully-equipped with elevators and ramps, with selected stations on other lines providing adequate accessibility. Roughly two-thirds of Paris metro stations have escalators.
- Travellers with wheelchairs should keep in mind that only manual wheelchairs can be used comfortably in the metro and RER at the current time, due to the gap between the platform and the train.
- For passengers with sight disabilities, the Metro and RER are insufficiently accessible. Some stations are equipped with raised warning studs along the edge of train platforms. In addition, Metro line 14 and selected trains on line 3 have automatic vocal announcements indicating each stop. Efforts are underway to include vocal announcements on all lines.
- For hearing-impaired passengers, at least one ticketing and information booth in every Metro or RER station is equipped with magnetic inductive loops permitting passengers with hearing-aids to communicate easily with Metro and RER staff. Passengers simply place their hearing aid on the “T” telephone icon at the booth.
- Paris Metro disabled access – There are only a few accessible metro (subway) stations in Paris. The ones that are accessible are not very helpful for getting between the tourist sights. Disabled tourists should use the accessible bus system instead.
The fact that only one Metro line is fully equipped for disabled accessed was a huge shock to me and I feel it is an issue that highlights an un-represented group. I wanted to look into this idea of accessibility for disabled people in the Metro system in Paris. When in Paris I became fascinated with the metro system as I loved the architecture and lighting created by all the tunnels and trains; when looking back through my photographs I could see that some of my photographs showed the poor accessibility and so I pulled them out and looked at this idea of poor accessibility in the Metro system and how my photographs supported this idea.
Many of my photographs showed stairs with no access for disabled people, others had long passageways and some showed the exits and entrances of the Metro stations and how hard they would be to enter for a disabled person. I selected six photographs that I felt showed the difficulties of the Metro system:
After selecting my final photographs, I wanted to create a final layout/outcome; I decided to create a group photograph, showing all the images. I wanted this grouped photo to be misshaped and uneven, echoing the layout of the Metro stations in the city and the linking tunnels between different stations and platforms. To further emphasise my idea of poor accessibility in the Metro system, I decided to place my photographs along one of the lines on the Metro map (not line 14 as this was the line with the good access). This created an uneven layout to my photographs like I wanted, it also added context to my photographs and made an interesting final piece, by combining the line on the map and my photographs. When positioning my photographs along the line, I wanted to create a journey, taking the viewer through the Metro system. My first photographs is an entry to a line and then the last photograph is leaving the metro station; the rest of the photographs are traveling through the tunnels and passageways.