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National Association of Re-enactment Societies: Guidance notes for disability discrimination
This guidance document is primarily aimed at re-enactors who are working for a promoter, whether
or not the service is being provided for a fee, and, under these circumstances, the majority of
responsibilities to spectators will be those of the promoter. NAReS member groups may wish to
reflect this in any contract.
All re-enactment societies should be aware of the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Acts
(1995 and 2005) and the requirements that, without adequate justification, a member with a
disability should not be treated any less favourably than another and that, where necessary,
reasonable adjustments shall be made to facilitate the participation of such members in the
activities of the society and their access to its services.
The definitions of adequate justification and reasonable adjustment are not set out in law but are
open to interpretation depending on the circumstances of any particular case. It should be noted
however that adjustments that compromised the health and safety of members (included
members with disabilities) are likely to be considered unreasonable.
Wherever possible, a safe and appropriate role in re-enactment should be found for all members,
suitable to their abilities and the requirements of the historical presentation involved. Reasonable
adjustments for the accommodation of the needs of persons with disabilities should be made as
necessary, subject to the avoidance of fundamental alteration to the provision of the service,
performance or presentation in question.
In the case of a person whose disability does not come upon them in a rapid and unexpected way
(e.g. learning disability), a society’s competence tests will normally demonstrate whether an
activity is suitable for the individual, just as it does for those without disability.
In the case of those whose disability does come upon them in a rapid and unexpected way (e.g.
epilepsy), consideration should be given to where the person could be and what activity they could
be performing if their disability strikes. The worst case scenario should be considered but this
assessment should also be tempered by the known likelihood of an attack.
In both cases if the individual feels that their condition has become more complex or significantly
worse over time then they should bring this to the attention of their group and further competency
testing or adaptations may be required.
Where any equipment necessary for the disabled to cope with their disability is not considered
authentic to the period re-enacted, it may be permitted provided that it is not obvious and is used
with discretion so as not to fundamentally compromise the authenticity of the re-enactment.
In cases of doubt concerning the interpretation of the legislation, it is recommended that
independent legal advice be sought.
Societies should note that they will be considered to be providing services to the public and will fall
under the provisions of Part III of the Act. This will include making provision for members of the
public with disabilities to access and view their performances, including (for example) the provision
of appropriate routes through living history exhibits (consider access by wheelchairs and walking
frames) and the availability of large print promotional or educational material (RNIB currently
recommend font sizes 16 to 22 in a plain typeface).
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Disability Discrimination Act 2005
Disability Rights Commission
NAReS guidance notes are based on what is believed to be current good practice. They are not
intended to be exhaustive in their content and are open to revision.
These notes are intended for guidance only and should not be construed as being mandatory, or
applying to all circumstances which may arise. They are designed to work in conjunction with any
member groups’ own rules, regulations or recommendations.
NAReS cannot be held responsible for the actions of other official bodies, or for the imposition or
effect of any legislation/regulation of which it was unaware at the date of issue of this guidance
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