Build an Inclusive Audience with Radical Readability

Recorded On: 05/30/2019

image About this Webinar

May 30, 2019 at 3:00PM EDT

Every arts organization wants to be more inclusive. But do the words we use to communicate with the public keep new visitors away?

This presentation will examine the impact of text readability on inclusion and explore how arts organizations produce marketing materials that require high levels of education to read easily, why this is counterproductive to audience development, and what we can do about it.

Arts workers in North America, whether working in curatorial or communication departments, tend to be highly educated and have exceptional English language comprehension. They suffer from the “curse of knowledge”—a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with others, unknowingly assumes that they have the background to understand. As such, we often write text that our privileged colleagues can understand, but that many others will struggle with. About 1 in 3 Americans only have basic reading skills. As much as 20 percent of the population has a learning disability. And over one million immigrants arrive in the US each year, many of whom are highly educated but speak English as a second or third language. Unless we want to exclude these people, many of whom are already marginalized, from our organizations, we must write copy that the general public can read with ease.

Learning Objectives:

During this Session, attendees will:

1. Learn how text that is difficult to read alienates current and potential audiences

2. Discover how to evaluate the readability of their own text

3. Gain skills to improve the readability of their own text

Rob Maguire

Director, Marketing + Communications, Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Rob Maguire is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada. Before joining the university in 2017, he held marketing roles at Vancouver's renowned Museum of Anthropology and the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, and taught copywriting at the University of British Columbia. Rob is particularly passionate about socially engaged art and cultural policy, and supports projects that seek to educate, inspire and build our communities. He also moonlights as the board president of Pi Theatre, a bold and uncompromising company based in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.






Build an Inclusive Audience with Radical Readability Webinar
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