Creating Accessible Performances 101

Recorded On: 06/18/2019


 About this Webinar

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990 and yet people with disabilities still do not have full access to cultural events today. This session will explore what accessibility entails and how presenters can move beyond architectural accessibility to programmatic accessibility. 

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will gain an awareness of the core issues and principles for presenting accessible cultural events
  • Participants will gain an understanding of strategies for making access an integral part of an organization’s mission, programs and outreach.
  • Participants will understand how making accessibility a priority creates better experiences for people both with and without disabilities.

Rhoda Bernard

Managing Director, Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs

Rhoda Bernard is the Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, a catalyst for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of visual and performing arts education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in government from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Music with academic honors in jazz voice from New England Conservatory. She earned both her Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Bernard regularly presents research at conferences throughout the United States and abroad, and she provides professional development workshops for educators in local, national, and international forums. Her work has been published in several book chapters and in numerous journals, including Music Educators JournalMusic Education ResearchAction, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education; Mountain Lake Reader; and Arts and Learning Research Journal. Bernard has been honored with the Berklee Urban Service Award (2017), the Boston Conservatory Community Service Award (2011), the Boston Conservatory Faculty/Staff Spirit Award (2007), and the Outstanding Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention (Second Place) from the Arts and Learning Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. A vocalist and pianist who specializes in jazz music and Jewish Music in Yiddish and Hebrew, she performs regularly with a number of klezmer bands and has recorded two CDs with the band Klezamir. 


Judith Smith

Founding Member and Artistic Director Emerita, AXIS Dance Company

Judith Smith, Founding Member and Artistic Director Emerita of AXIS Dance Company, is one of the world’s driving forces in physically integrated dance. She was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado. Prior to becoming disabled in a car accident at age 17 in 1977, Judith was a champion equestrian. She transferred her passion for riding to dance after discovering contact improvisation in 1983. Judith helped launch AXIS in 1987 and she grew the Company to be the nation’s leading physically integrated dance ensemble. She has left an amazing legacy and vision for the future of AXIS and integrated dance.

Her advocacy and equity work led to the first-ever National Convening on the Future of Physically Integrated Dance in the USA, followed by six regional town halls throughout the country in 2016. This project, supported by the prestigious Doris Duke Charitable Foundation National Project Program, culminated in an extensive report and the launch of the AXIS Artistic Advancement Platform to Advance Artistry, Opportunity and Equity for Dancers with Disabilities. She has been instrumental in the creation of the Dance/USA Disability and Dance Affinity Group and co-chairs the group.

Judith is currently working as an independent consultant in dance and disability. She is an activist for the environment, animals and people with disabilities. She gardens for pollinators, birdwatches, raises butterflies and is involved in thoroughbred racehorse rescue and adaptive carriage driving.


NEA Design for Accessibility -- A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook:

Light for the World – Disability Inclusion Scorecard:

British Council Disability Arts International:

Make Accessibility Information Easy to Find on Your Website and Keep it Up to Date:

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Creating Accessible Performances 101 Webinar
Creating Accessible Performances 101 Webinar (w/ captions)
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