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Australia: Online Workshops to Help Art Organizations Make Art More Accessible

July 14, 2020

In response to the COVID arts shutdown, Accessible Arts, NSW’s peak arts and disability organisation, which trains up to 1000 people every year through its disability awareness training programs – is helping arts and cultural organisations improve how they connect with and support people with disability through a new online workshop: Disability Confidence Training.

Accessible Arts Development and Training Manager Liz Martin says while there are now more online offerings which are beneficial for people with disability, there's also an increased need for awareness in how the sector can help make online content more accessible.

'The shift to online during COVID has certainly reduced a range of physical and geographic access barriers because people with disability don’t need to leave their homes to access online programming or services. However there are still several technical barriers that people with disability experience in relation to online content,' Martin said.

The new workshops offer practical information about engaging online with audiences and staff in ways that improve access and inclusion for people with disability. Martin said the sector can help by looking at technical aspects in relation to how they run their business.

'Lack of captioning and transcripts is a big issue, especially for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing,' Martin said. 'Lack of alternative text for images as well as audio description for videos prevents people with vision impairment from engaging with a lot of online content. And websites with small fonts, low contrast and complex text can make reading and comprehension difficult for everyone, not just people with disabilities.'

According to Martin, these issues aren't difficult to address and will significantly improve how people both with and without disability can engage with online content and services.

The organisation’s CEO, Kerry Comerford, said the training program has been updated during a time when the sector needs it most.

‘During this challenging time for NSW’s arts and cultural sector, many organisations are using the opportunity to upskill their team so they can provide more accessible and inclusive programming, services and infrastructure during and after the COVID crisis,’ Comerford said.

Disability Confidence Training will be held 17 July, 12 August and 16 September.

Source: Arts Hub

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