All Senses Go launches quarterly newsletter
Inaugural Issue: January, 2021
To a new year, to this quarterly newsletter and to All Senses Go.
If you haven’t heard of us yet, we hope you’ll take some time to learn a bit about who we are and our goal of a more accessible media world. We’d love to get you on board.
All Senses Go is a media accessibility consulting group. We are filmmakers, artists, advocates and educators, and our mission is to ensure all audiences, regardless of ability, can engage in the rich cultural content being shared every day. For us, media accessibility is about providing equal access to culture and information and helping filmmakers reach the widest audience possible. Through captioning, audio description, event accessibility and programming, we collaborate with media producers to remove barriers and ensure equitable participation.
When we started All Senses Go last January, we thought 2020 would be filled with in-person film festivals, screenings and conferences where we could help filmmakers address programmatic and physical accessibility. Instead, 2020 brought forth a monumental shift from in-person to virtual events. Audiences changed, goals changed and access needs changed.
With no shared physical event spaces, barriers to access are lower than they have ever been, and yet the need for artistic communication has never been greater. This year, we have seen how organizers confronted digital accessibility, many for the first time, with eagerness and openness. We have also seen how organizations have expanded their missions to include disabled audiences and artists—a powerful shift we hope lasts long after the pandemic ends.
As we transition in 2021 to a semblance of our normal lives, we think now is the perfect time to look back at all we’ve done and learned this year. We hope with our newsletter to keep you updated on current projects, upcoming events and media accessibility lessons. If you would like to learn more about our work or get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
What we’ve been up to
1. Access Reframed
We were thrilled to partner this year with Full Spectrum Features to launch Access Reframed, a series of virtual conversations about media accessibility.
A bit of background
Full Spectrum Features is a Chicago-based nonprofit committed to increasing diversity in the independent film industry by producing, exhibiting and supporting the work of women, LGBTQ and minority filmmakers. Because their mission has always included key facets of diversity and equity, Full Spectrum Features wanted to do more to prioritize an integral community: disabled artists and audiences. With the help of an Illinois Humanities COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant, we were able to work with Full Spectrum Features on expanding their mission to include people with disabilities.
Grishma Shah, artist and doctoral candidate, hosted our first panel, Creator Conversation, on Oct. 9, 2020, with moderator Day Al-Mohammed and filmmakers Reid Davenport, Rodney Evans and Jade Bryan. Their insightful conversation explored accessibility in screenings and festivals from both an audience and filmmaker perspective, collaboration in audio description and captioning, and incorporating access into the creative process.
WATCH OUR CREATOR CONVERSATION: https://youtu.be/4A3-Mm8DrqA?t=1
Our second panel, Presenter Conversation, was hosted by Jason Matsumoto of Full Spectrum Features on Oct. 16, 2020. Day Al-Mohammed joined again as moderator with panelists Cheryl Green, Emily Beitiks and Brenda Avila-Hanna. Representing the perspectives of disability advocates, artists, film festival leaders, equity directors, film exhibitors and distributors, the panelists led an engaging conversation exploring accessibility in screenings, distribution practices and audio engagement.
WATCH OUR PRESENTER CONVERSATION: https://youtu.be/CEqyKuXL13E?t=1
Read more about our conversations here: Highlights from Access Reframed
Panelists in both conversations emphasized the challenges filmmakers with tight resources face funding accessibility. While there are many ways to make media more accessible at no cost, budgets often must include service providers and other access provisions. Our next Access Reframed conversation will explore creative ways to fund accessibility, so stay tuned for updates on our Facebook page!
2. Media Accessibility Workshop
Suppose you’ve made a film of particular interest to audiences with disabilities. You plan to hold a community screening followed by a panel discussion, after which the film will be released online. You have never hosted an accessible screening before, and no one in your company has experience with audio description, captions, sensory-friendly programming, ASL interpretation or CART transcription. Do you know what you need to do to make sure viewers with disabilities can attend the event and watch online?
If not, we can help. All Senses Go is proud to offer a media accessibility workshop for filmmakers, festival organizers and media companies that covers a range of accessibility provisions and best practices in inclusive design. This past year, we worked with Kartemquin Films, Kindling Group and Film Festival Alliance Leadership Lab to introduce film companies to the array of accommodations that can make media more accessible and reach a wider audience.
What collaborators have to say
Impact workshop has had on participating orgs
Want to get on board and make accessible media?
If you’re interested in making your films and events accessible for audiences with disabilities, our media accessibility workshop is a great place to start. Please feel free to reach out—we would love to be a part of your accessibility journey.
3. IDA consultations
The International Documentary Association collaborated this year with All Senses Go to improve the accessibility of their website, events and programs, beginning with their biennial Getting Real conference.
Typically an in-person conference that spans multiple days and brings together folks from all over the world, Getting Real pivoted this year to a virtual format. This year’s conference theme Access. Power. Possibility. highlighted IDA’s focus on the many barriers marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, face in accessing storytelling. In learning how to reproduce the critical benefits of a destination conference on a virtual platform, IDA realized the new format brought forth unique accessibility needs for Deaf and disabled participants. IDA worked with All Senses Go to take a successful step toward their theme and present their most accessible conference yet.
To learn more, check out our blog post: 10 accessibility lessons we learned working with IDA.
All Senses Go launches ACCESS IN FOCUS, a blog on innovation in media accessibility and equitable filmmaking
Check out our first post, an article on Kinetic Light’s film “DESCENT” and innovation in audio description: Transforming dance into a sonic experience.
Stay tuned for more articles highlighting innovation in media accessibility and equitable filmmaking practices. If you’re interested in contributing or being featured, let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Get in touch
Enjoyed our newsletter? Think a friend or colleague might want to get on board and make accessible media? Feel free to forward them this email.