Using Technology to Encourage the Participation of Persons with Disabilities: Exploring Cultural Leisure Activities in a Theatre Environment
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Inclusive ‘relaxed performances’ are leisure activities where people can participate, within a theatre environment, often with the use of assistive technologies, adapted texts and scripts that support interaction and social inclusion. This paper presents a participatory collaborative research project that examines the challenges faced by people living with disability when accessing theatre performances, and how design, technology and adaptations can facilitate participation and promote empowerment. Embracing a participatory approach with attention given to persons with visual impairments, people with mobility impairments persons with language and communication limitations and those on the autism spectrum, data was collected in 4 phases, from the pre-performance to the presentation of the performance. Post-performance analysis used interpretive approaches and evaluation analysis. Results include the development of potential strategies for the inclusion of people from all perspectives in performances. These strategies include the use of audio description which provides visual information about gestures, props and the layout of the stage.
KeywordsInclusive theatre Technology Co-creation Participatory action research Relaxed performance Social inclusion Disability Design strategies
Many thanks to all our partners, including the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Federation CJA, Société Inclusive, CRIR/Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille du CISSS de la Montérégie Centre, CRIR/Centre de réadaptation Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay du CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.
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