Accessibility + New Normal Talks

You are invited to register for a series of virtual conversations called Accessibility + New Normal Talks. These participatory virtual sessions will be about issues that matter to you as your cultural organization re-opens, redefines protocols and practices, and serves visitors, patrons, artists, and staff in our world’s new-normal environment.

Accessibility + New Normal Talks are sponsored by the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), the Access Smithsonian (AS) office of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Theater Development Fund (TDF). These one-hour participatory conversations will be offered on four successive Tuesdays, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. EDT. These accessibility services will be offered for each session: captioning and speakers will be instructed to audio describe visual content during their own presentations. Sign language interpreters will be provided on request. One-week advance notice would be appreciated. June 23, 2020: Cultural Access Town Hall: What are the issues of accessibility and inclusion when we reopen in the new normal?

Brief opening presentations will frame the discussion for both theaters and museums followed by audience participation to address issues that might include: Is accessibility and inclusion being included into the conversations about your organization’s reopening and the new normal? Do you have a role in those discussions? What information do you and your organization need to effectively integrate access and inclusion into the planning? What good examples of approaches, policies, and protocols are being adopted?

June 30, 2020: Digital Audience Engagement

How can we keep our audience for live performances engaged with online content that is accessible until theaters reopen? Please join a TDF hosted discussion on this challenge that may be with us for many months ahead. Topics include: captioning options, watch parties, alternatives for autism/sensory-friendly audiences, comeback of audio dramas and shortage of ASL accessible opportunities.

July 7, 2020: Keeping Museum Tactiles Experiences Safe and Viable

When everyone is talking “contactless museums,” how do we continue offering long-fought-for tactile experiences in museums? Drawing from answers to an Access Smithsonian – IHCD survey of user/experts with a range of abilities, we pose questions in this session to include: If tactile experiences are valuable, how will we continue to offer them in this time of uncertainty and potentially sequential pandemics? Will people still be willing to touch objects if tactiles are part of museum exhibitions? If we offer tactile experiences, what protocols are needed to assure visitors that they are safe to touch? How do we inform visitors of what we are doing to ensure safety and access at the same time?

July 14, 2020: Equality within Diversity: Ensuring Inclusion of People of Color with Disabilities in Cultural Organizations and Programs

This session will provide a forum in this time of hopeful change to look at ways cultural organizations can become more truly inclusive.

After this session, possible topics to extend the number of sessions and expand the sponsoring organizations will be discussed. Recordings of the sessions along with the session transcripts and resource lists gathered from participants will be posted on IHCD’s website after the programs’ conclusion: You can register for any or all of these conversations by filling in the RSVP form at If you require a sign language interpreter for a session, please include that information in your registration. One-week advanced notice would be appreciated. There will be a 110-person limit for each session to effectively facilitate participation and Q&A. If you have questions, please contact Betty Siegel,

Mollie Quinlan-Hayes



Critical Function



ArtsReady is a
national initiative of:

South 90

ArtsReady is
supported by:

Mellon short
Nea 68 Ddcf 68