Accessibility and Advocacy

several accessibility symbols laid out on a grid

Alt Text & Social Media

This past November, Instagram added a new accessibility feature to its popular social media platform: the ability to create photo descriptions to benefit blind or low vision users. This “alt text” can be added manually as a post is being crafted or can be automatically generated by an AI using advanced object recognition software. This development follows in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter, who provide alt text functionality through both their apps and websites…

Tin-Men-Book-Cover-Final-Battle-Cyborg-Robot-with-Marionette-StringsScience Fiction, Robotics, and Body Anxiety

A recurring theme in science fiction is placing a human mind into a robot, a virtual world, or another living body entirely. In 2015, Dr. Jeff Preston and I spoke on the popularity of this narrative, and how it can be troubling when viewed through the lens of disability.

We got to chat about Avatar, Tin Men, and a bevy of other interesting science fiction movies and books. You can listen to the interview below, which aired as part of AMI-audio’s Insights program.

A Pledge for SF/F Convention Accessibility

In 2015, a group of writers, creators, and fans decided to put a little bit of pressure on fan conventions that didn’t take accessibility seriously. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention Accessibility Pledge asked participants to boycott inaccessible fan conventions unless a set of accessibility conditions were met.

Like many initiatives of its kind, the pledge was spurred on by a series of negative incidents: including one where a guest panelist was unable to access her presentation area due to it being wheelchair inaccessible.

I had the opportunity to speak with Lynne and Michael Thomas, publishers of Uncanny Magazine, who helped draft and publicize the pledge. You can listen to the interview below, which aired as part of AMI-audio’s Insights program.