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Join us for our first Cultural Accessibility Conference

Accessibility Conference Logo: Reads Art-Reach Presents Cultural Accessibility Conference September 11th from 8-5 PM 3 logos: Green Paintbrush, Puruple Light Bulb , Pink Thought bubble

Wednesday, September 11  | Friends Center
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia PA 19102

Art-Reach is proud to host its first-ever Cultural Accessibility Conference. For over 33 years, Art-Reach has created accessible experiences in the arts for people with disabilities. As a leading resource for the cultural community, Art-Reach provides training and educational opportunities to promote inclusive and accessible art opportunities throughout Greater Philadelphia.

Conference Schedule

8-9 AM: Registration & Breakfast

9:15-11:55 AM: Morning Presentations

12-1 PM: Lunch Break. Please note lunch will not be provided.

1:10-5 PM: Afternoon Presentations

5:15-7 PM: Happy Hour, located at Tir Na Nog on 16th & Arch


Disability Justice In Cultural Spaces: Understanding Our Past to Create a More Equitable Future

When considering access for people with disabilities at your cultural institution, many of us focus on accommodation. This workshop will help you develop a new lens that is oriented around disability justice and the long struggle for equity for people with disabilities in public

In an interactive discussion, we’ll cover some of the most exciting and critical points in disability history in the US–not just the passage of laws and standards, but the hard work that activists engaged in to get there. We will talk about the lessons learned about equity in public spaces that apply to your work today. This information will help your access work be more informed and grounded in the needs of the individuals you serve.

You’ll leave this discussion inspired to implement access initiatives at your organization that go far beyond “checking the box.” Most importantly, you’ll have the initial concrete tools and knowledge to do so.

Presenter: Embry Wood Owen, a Philly-based researcher and writer who works at the intersection of disability, sociology and technology.

Service First: Customer Service & Accessibility

Service First is the universal design approach to customer service and guest interaction. It encourages your guest-facing staff to take ownership of their expertise in the venue and allows guests and patrons with disabilities to easily access accommodations according to their unique request.

While Person First language approaches let us know what to SAY -Service First helps us understand what to DO. In this session, I will cover the principles of Service First and then break the attendees into group to problem solve scenarios using the Service First Model.

Like a game of Clue – attendees will receive a Venue (with Specifics), a Guest (with a disability to be accommodated), tools for accommodation (not at all like weapons), a Detective (a knowledgeable guest-facing staff member) and an Accommodation “Crime” to solve.

Presenter: Dani Rose of Ticket Philadelphia

Accessibility for Neurodiversity

This session will include best practices for initiating sensory-friendly programs, providing previsit materials, staff training, and other logistics for successful inclusive events at your arts organization.

Presenter: Roger Ideishi of Temple University Occupational Therapy

Making the field trip relevant: Programming for students in special education classrooms

Go beyond universal design and learn how to make your field trip offerings accessible in content for special education classrooms. Join a former School District of Philadelphia special education teacher and museum educator as she discusses museum workshops for students with low-incidence disabilities that integrate life skills with cultural content. Using curricular examples of these skills taught in Philadelphia, we’ll reflect on our own programs and devise ways that we can offer students opportunities to generalize what they learn in the classroom in the novel settings that are our cultural institutions. We’ll also discuss strategies for opening up the conversation with special education teachers to learn about the range of their students’ needs, to better inform our lessons and the types of accommodations and modifications we need to implement during field trip visits.

Presenter: Megan Becker

The Past and Present of Disability and Accessibility at the Mütter Museum

In the past two years, the Mütter Museum has developed accessibility programs in the areas of Touch Tours, ASL Tours, and Sensory Friendly Programming. The museum’s content as a museum of medical history, human anatomy, and pathology—and effectively, of disability—has proved both challenging and revelatory as a site for accessible programming. Using our collections as a springboard, we have developed programs designed to tell stories of the lives of extraordinary individuals with a variety of illnesses, pathologies, and disabilities in ways that are accessible to individuals living with disabilities every day. Through a series of grant-funded initiatives, we have built a large collection of replicas, casts, and 3D prints of objects in our collection to be used as touchable interactives for many populations, including blind/low vision, sensory sensitive, school groups and children; created an ASL video tour; and built an innovative sensory friendly program designed to promote empathy.

Presenters: Meredith Sellers of the Mütter Museum

Online Accessibility

The team at Accessibility Ventures will share information about technology, trends, laws, tax benefits and opportunities related to online accessibility.

Presenters: Andy Burstein  and Alex Cohen of Accessibility Ventures