What Counts: Roos Wattel helps us bridge the gap by making museums more accessible for deaf people

TEDxAmsterdamWomen - Roos Wattel

Roos Wattel was born deaf. Throughout her life she’s bridged the gap between the hearing world and the deaf world, between deaf culture and hearing culture. And now she is doing the same for museums in the Netherlands.

Roos started her own company, Wat Telt (What Counts), that focuses on improving accessibility in the culture & art sector. Roos has focused specifically on improving accessibility in museums. “Museums are an intersection where cultures, perspectives and experiences come together. They serve as a role model for a more inclusive and accessible society.”

In 2015, Roos created the ‘Musea in Gebaren’ (Museums in Sign). With this program, she trains deaf people to be signing museum guides. Today, 16 museums in the Netherlands offer tours in Dutch sign language provided by trainees of ‘Musea in Gebaren’.

Her work is about inclusivity. She says that “making things more accessibility for one group of people has an impact on accessibility for all people.” I would encourage you to abandon your medical perspective of deaf people and see it as a culture.”

Roos’ talk ended with applause but a silent one – the audience signed their appreciation to Roos for sharing her story.