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Workshop: Accessibility & the Audiovisual Essay: The Good, The Bad, and The Upturn

Convenors: Will DiGravio (video essayist, critic, podcaster) and Cydnii Wilde Harris (film scholar, writer, video essayist)

This workshop aims to broach the topic of accessibility from both macro and micro scales. In the macro, how do we feel about the ease of ability to enter this community? In the micro, how does the issue of accessibility pertain to how we individually work with the media? Our discussion will also center around what our colleagues think when they hear the word accessibility and how it is reflected through their work and process.

Questions & topics to be considered

  • Do we create with the intention of our work being as accessible as possible? How do we work with language, visuals, and audio, and what sort of questions occur to us about accessibility during the creative process?
  • Our community of practice is very open and accepting of the work of undergraduates, aspiring academics, and non-academics all together. We (Will and Cydnii) would probably not be talking to you today if not for this openness. Do you agree that the community is open in this way? If so, how can we continue to improve this spirit of openness? What about the medium do you believe lends itself to inclusivity? And if not, what can we do better? What sort of barriers to entry have we experienced or witnessed, and what are we actively doing to combat them? 

  • Much of the work we do as practitioners revolves around sharing our work: uploading to video sharing platforms, posting links to social media, sharing and commenting on the works of others, etc. How can we make sure we are creating online environments in which video essayists feel comfortable and welcome to share their work? What do we as a community do right? What do we do wrong? What can we do better? 

  • Access to technology is essential to creating videographic criticism. In your work as a practitioner and/or teacher and/or student of this work, what roadblocks have you encountered in your work? What resources do you need to be your most successful? How can we make our practice more accessible in this way? 

  • Early career and aspiring scholars may not have their videographic work accepted. Or, they may have to produce their videographic work alongside more “traditional” scholarship, thus doubling their labor. What can be done to avoid this doubling of labor? What role can institutions and tenured faculty, for example, play?

Complimentary Readings and Viewings