Leadership / 09.22.21
Why the Events Industry Must Prioritize Accessibility Post-COVID
The Drum (09/15/21) Ormesher, Ellen
Experts offer suggestions for the events industry to rebuild after the COVID pandemic by becoming more inclusive for people with disabilities. Lawrence Orr with disability equality charity Scope said virtual events that surged in prevalence during lockdowns are by their nature more accessible, while organizers who were forced by the crisis to transition quickly to online events discovered they were reaching new audiences with the inclusion of those with disabilities. Eventbrite's Sebastian Boppert said the events management and ticketing platform issued up to 200 million tickets to some 4 million events in 2020, many of them free. He suggested small and simple tweaks by organizers could open up events to an even wider audience, like narrated slideshows for blind or visually impaired attendees, and sign language interpreters for the hearing impaired. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People's Annie Harris said that changes to improve the ability for Deaf people to navigate virtual events have been welcome but there is still more that can be done. She adds that these enhancements made through the pandemic do not preclude live events from making positive changes to expand accessibility. Orr also anticipates more hybrid events as live shows return, so that the industry becomes available to the widest group of people. "It’s worth mentioning that the adjustments made to improve accessibility often benefit all event guests, and very rarely do they negatively affect non-disabled guest experiences, so the case for better accessibility is strong," he said.
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Tags: Accessibility , News