The Kowtha Constellation Accessibility and Economic Philosophy
I am cognizant of the paradox as the sole director here at The Kowtha Constellation Limited, that running a business that focuses on inclusivity and sustainability while also existing in this economic system based in cishet patriarchy, capitalism, and colonialism. It’s a difficult and tenuous balance of applying liberatory and generative praxis and acknowledging structural inequality and the realities of late stage capitalism.
The broader impacts of accessibility are well beyond economic justice. Access makes services available to those less likely to be able to thrive in a space. Part of this is indeed financial accessibility, creating stepping stones to acknowledge in real ways gendered, racialized wage gaps and other financial structural inequities. Serving those with disabilities and making my offerings accessible in a variety of ways is a mission close to my heart. Access and how that translates into our services depends on many factors that are nuanced, yet it is coming with an approach of making accommodations and adjustments that support individuals and groups. In addition, consistent refining and continuous learning are part of our ongoing objectives.
Depending on my own capacity, I frequently take on a mentorship role for a member of my community, generally under the age of 35 years old, in need of professional mentorship and guidance. Generally, this is by invitation only and lasts six to twelve months in a container that works for both of us.
Prices and Program Design for Marginalized Folx
For every single service or training we provide here at The Kowtha Constellation, there is an available sliding scale or marginalized rate available. In some cases, I am open to exchanging labor or services in a barter.
Redistribution of Resources
We focus on redistribution of wealth and resource in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the ways we have put our efforts into action since 2018.
- A bi-annual fundraiser for the local food bank, summer and winter.
- A fully sponsored seat in Sowing Post Capitalist Seeds for a QTPOC participant, each cohort, sponsored by The Kowtha Constellation in addition to any other scholarships.
- Direct giving to a number of individuals via Patreon (or other platforms) as a monthly patronage to support their work. Most of these individuals are disabled, or chronically ill, BIPOC, or LGBTQIA+, or other marginalized folks.
- Annual fall tree planting.
- Support of organizations with missions we are in solidarity with. In the past we have given to The Woodland Trust, The Southhall Black Sisters, Sakhi Education for Girls, Soul Fire Farms.
As a trained educator and scientist, I am curious about theory and research. But more importantly, I’m dedicated to curating praxis and approaches that support individuals from justice and accessibility frameworks.
Accessibility in spaces, especially online spaces, is more than creating low priced offerings or having a recording of a lecture available. It is crucial to be considering the needs of the most marginalized in all steps of the customer experience, from the design, to implementation, to delivery. Often, it is the marginalized individuals and groups that benefit the most from these, often small, measures that account for a variety of physical, mental, learning, emotional, and other hidden disabilities.
By current UK statistics, one in five individuals has a disability and one in five has a mental health issue. We also acknowledge that historically BIPOC/BAME groups have faced structural inequity GLBTQIA+ individuals have faced discrimination and lack of support in many spaces. By serving these groups, we often, inadvertently create space for tangential groups. For example, making space for wheel chair users helps those with luggage, those with walkers, those in larger bodies, and those with strollers and buggies. Similarly, in online and virtual spaces, we can make space for those who are often not catered for in such spaces. In Sowing Post Capitalist Seeds for example, we can orally take applications (and type them out for individuals) and encourage people sharing in the Mighty Networks space in a variety of modalities that suit them.
We value accessibility and we endeavor to increase accessibility as we continue to grow.
Currently we have the following in place:
- a variety of payment options and plans
- closed captioning for the video recordings
- live closed captioning provided by Otter.ai
- we use trauma responsive practices
- we aim to teach for a variety of learning styles, including neurodiversity
- we aim to accommodate a variety of time zones
- we aim to have the transcripts available after the calls in addition to the recordings
- we are continually learning and refining our ability to facilitate inclusive spaces, including gender, racial, and ability diversity