From performances by artists with disabilities to sensory retreats and multi-sensory experiences, the Education City Stadium fan experience developed by Qatar Foundation will offer an inclusive and welcoming environment for every supporter when the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off.
The Education City Stadium will host eight matches during the tournament, including one quarter-final. On matchdays, fans will be able to enjoy a range of accessible activations on their way to the match via the routes taken from transport hubs, parking spaces, or drop-off locations to the stadium.
Performances will include singing, dancing, and freestyle football, and will highlight both the culture of Qatar and the nations playing at the Education City Stadium.
“Something for everyone was our guiding motto when designing the Education City Stadium fan experience,” said Brooke Reid, Manager of Engagement and Activation at Education City, Qatar Foundation.
Inclusive performances will include the Korean Traditional Music Orchestra for the Blind, which is comprised of visually impaired musicians, and dance-offs between international break-dancers with disabilities. Live sign interpretation of musical performances will be available for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Other performances will include Omar Offendum – a Syrian American hip hop artist – and rock band Faraway Martin.
Several sensory activations will be present within the Education City Stadium fan experience to help supporters with sensory regulation, including a freestanding music wall with instruments and noise-making capacity that will allow those that need auditory regulation to play and engage, while creating an opportunity for sensory stimulation.
Other sensory activations will include a tactile wall, composed of rubber, seashells, sanded timber, wool and mosaic tiles and a tactile path – composed of concreted pebbles, carpet, exercise mat and cork. The tactile materials – a mix of soft, hard, raised, and other textured surfaces – will help people to self-regulate, and avoid sensory overload, exhaustion, or burnout.
A wheelchair-accessible light tunnel with soothing light patterns and noise reduction will allow fans to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the fan experience and be in a safe, quiet space that can help reduce feelings of distress that can arise from overstimulation. Meanwhile, a mobile sensory trailer, supplied by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, will also be present along the route to the stadium, serving as a safe space and a refuge for fans with sensory issues.
Rest benches, with access for wheelchair users, will be available throughout to provide respite to whoever needs it. A limited number of golf carts will also be available to support fans with limited mobility to move back and forth from the stadium.
Other activations will include an interactive location where spectators will attempt to head a football, a wall with plants representing the 32 nations participating in the tournament, a gigantic trophy, a photo booth, a Qatari majlis, and sustainability sculptures.
Accessibility volunteers – trained by Qatar Foundation and part of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ volunteering force – will be positioned at key points of the fan experience. They are informed and trained to interact, accommodate, and support fans of all abilities.
“For example, accessibility volunteers will carry visual communication cards that will allow them to interact and support fans that are non-verbal, deaf and hard of hearing or even those that are unable to communicate because of a language barrier,” Reid said.
Activations will start three hours prior to match kick-off times, pause during the match, and resume for two hours after the game, and will include cultural performances relevant to countries playing on specific match days.
Source & cover image credit: Press Release
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