Accessible Live Events call for papers

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Tuesday, 30 June 2015 11:56am

The University of Antwerp is hosting a special international symposium on Accessible Live Events on 29 April 2016 and is seeking proposals for papers and presentations.

Audience cheering whilst facing the stage at a live performance. A person's hands are raised in the foreground making a 'heart' shape.

Accessibility of live events is the next wave of access, but its spread and impact varies tremendously from place to place. It includes access to performing arts, sports and even live gatherings such as processions and events of significance (e.g. state funerals, processions, openings of parliaments and buildings). 

The amount of live access is subject to many factors, including government support, technology, professional access service availability, consumer demand and advocacy and the prevalence of other access services in that country (e.g. television access).

Media Access Australia CEO Alex Varley is a member of the Scientific Committee for the symposium and agreed that live event accessibility is a growing area of interest.

“Live event access can often be a catalyst for change in a country with limited other access as it is often organised at a local level, without the need for legislative and regulatory input. As such it is haphazard in approach and reliant on keen local advocates to turn it into something sustainable.

“However, access to sport and performing arts is very effective at gaining media attention and showing decision makers that such services are vital for full participation in entertainment for people with disabilities, particularly the message of needing to go beyond just physical access issues.” 

The Unlimited conference is seeking contributions from policy makers, funders, providers, advocates, consumer organisations and academics who are involved in accessibility for any live events. This covers audio description, captioning (or subtitling for the hard of hearing as it is known in Europe) and sign language. The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2015.

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