There are plenty of people out in the LARP world working to make the hobby more accessible. One such person is Andy, affectionately known as Accessibility Andy who volunteers for Empire LRP run by Profound Decisions. Since we are in the quiet period for fest games, I took the opportunity to ask Andy about his role at Empire.
1. Though you are known as “Accessibility Andy” to many, what is your role actually called?
My role within PD is referred to as Accessibility Officer
2. Expanding on the above what does your role encompass?
I liaise with the Traffic, to make sure there are accessible camping areas cordoned off, and with the sparky teams [electricians] to make sure service users that have power requirements in those areas have them, as well as on other parts of the field.
Other then that I constructed, with assistance from the rest other members of the site crew, and maintain all the accessibility ramps on the OC [out of character] and IC [in character] field. I also assess the accessibility of areas and try to keep routes free of obstructions.
I also help with personal set up and take down of service users that require it, again I call upon other members of site crew if I need extra hands.
3. What does a typical event look like for you?
I try and on site from the Wednesday or Tuesday before the event starts so I can perform my general site crew duties before focusing on what ever accessibility jobs I have to, such as check all the ramps and make sure they are fit for use and repair them if not.
During events I am on radio most of the time in case anything should occur that needs my attention.
4. Are there any particular aspects of Empire that you think make for good accessibility?
That there are a lot of aspects of the game that do not revolve around combat.
The plot team are working on writing more accessible quests and that the members of the ref team that are on the Sentinel Gate [an IC location at Empire events] are provided with details they can pass on to players.
5. From your position as Accessibility Andy what tips can you give to players coming to Empire in the coming year?
If you need help, ask. I’m on radio from Thursday and any member of the crew should be able to reach me. Other than that all I can say is, do it. Come along and we will do all within our power so that you can engage with the game as much as you want to.
6. Are you looking forward to anything new or interesting in this year’s games?
Getting back in the field: the Site Crew of PD is like a extended family really and it’s great to be part of a team like that. I’m also hoping to engage more in plot during time in.
Finally, if a player, new or existing, has access needs or queries how should they go about alerting PD?
There is a dedicated email address for all accessibility based issues and requirements firstname.lastname@example.org . Both my self and the game team see them and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.