Accessibility in Virtual Events: A Technical Step By Step

Our bet is that virtual events, hybrid experiences, and remote meetings are here to stay. We want to help events professionals know how to make accessible services work in platforms like Zoom and YouTube. Let our experienced panel of production people, event planners, and service providers show you how they get set up. Take a peek through the back end of platforms; learn what ASL interpreters, captioners, and audio describers need from you tech-wise in order to do their work; and anticipate what roles and responsibilities you’ll need to make virtual events run smoothly. Nerd out with us for a series of tutorials and Q&A!

Archived Event Videos

Accessibility for Virtual Programs: A Technical Step by Step

Archived Event Speakers

Risa Jaz Rifkind will discuss setting up ASL interpretation for virtual events.

Risa is a justice advocate who seeks to make change by shifting access to power and influence.

As Director of Civic Engagement and Marketing at ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, Risa propels the organization to realize its vision to have people with disabilities lead with power and influence. By identifying and developing strategic partnerships, Risa positions Members to take on leadership roles that advance their careers, civic engagement, and equity for people with disabilities. By integrating this vision into all internal and external communications, she leads Advancing Leadership’s brand awareness, public and private Member programming, and community engagement and outreach. She is also an Advancing Leadership Member.

Risa is passionate about the arts and serves as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium as well as on its Board of Directors as Treasurer.

Eddie Medrano will discuss setting up captions for virtual events.

Eddie graduated with a B.A. in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College in 2010 and has been actively involved in live production since. With over 10 years of experience in live events, Eddie currently serves as the Assistant Director of Production at Chicago Humanities Festival. When not planning events or livestreaming from his basement, he lends an occasional hand to Fitzgerald’s Nightclub filling in as an AV tech and production manager.

Through his efforts, he is proud to stand among the countless individuals working to normalize accessibility in the arts and entertainment industry.

Bridget Melton will discuss setting up audio description for virtual events.

Bridget most recently live extemporaneously audio described the 2021 Presidential Inauguration and the 2020 Democratic National Convention, both partnered with Martin Wilde. As the main describer for Hamilton: An American Musical (Broadway in Chicago) during its three year residency in Chicago, she live described over 25 performances.  Active in the cultural accessibility community for many years, she works to create a welcoming environment for all.  Around the United States, and virtually, she can be found at various theatres promoting inclusion as an audio describer, advisor, or volunteer. She holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from SMU Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, TX.

Hillary Pearson will discuss how to plan for virtual event roles and responsibilities.

Hillary (she/her/hers) is the Senior Manager of Operations and Accessibility Services at the Harris Theater, overseeing daily facility communications, front of house plans surrounding visiting companies’ events, and accessible services for engagements. Hillary works internally and externally to inform staff and renters on accessibility features in-house and share further resources on accessibility, maintains relevant access and inclusion training initiatives for all users of the space, and helps navigate collaboration with service providers. Hillary has also recently been selected as a Co-Chair of the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC) Steering Committee and has had the privilege to attend the annual Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference for several years. Hillary has both presented and co-coordinated many CCAC Professional Development workshops geared around patron experience and customer service practices and has also co-presented a workshop centered around strategies for rental venue accessibility at the national LEAD conference in August of 2019.