When Disabled and Deaf Arts consultant Alison Smith found herself at Hello Digital in October 2009 without the British Sign Language interpreter she was told would be booked by organisers, her protests would have remained unheard were it not for delegates using Twitter. Talk About Local along with many others helped her get her voice heard by the event’s organisers, retweeting her requests for information that was picked up from Barcelona to New York.
Soon afterwards, we found ourselves working with Alison as she was getting started with developing peskypeople.co.uk, which raises awareness of digital access and inclusion issues for Disabled and Deaf people, when she won a makeover for the website at the Talk About Local Unconference. We spent the day working with her on rebuilding the site in line with its aims, discussing how to drive her various campaigns forward and ways of integrating other tools such as Twitter with the website.
Alison has since built upon Pesky People to create a fast-growing business that successfully campaigns on behalf of others – working with disabled people, industries and organisations to improve digital access and inclusion. Pesky People has been awarded funding from Unltd*4ip and Media Trust/Community Voices. In 2010 she received Arts Council England funding for the Go Genie digital accessible platform for Disabled people, was a Finalist in the SMK Foundation (Consumer Action) 2010 Awards and and winner of the Grasnet prize at Interactivsm with Enabled by Design and NOKIA’s ‘Pitch n Win’ £25,000 investment prize.
Throughout this growth Talk About Local has continued to give Alison support with advice on lobbying, campaigning and developing project ideas.