Here you will find announcements of conference talks, project awards, and other exciting news involving PAC.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram received the inaugural Catalyst Award from the Themed Entertainment Association as a part of TEA's 28th annual slate of Thea Awards recipients. A new award for TEA, the Catalyst Award recognized individual contributions to the advancement of the industry. The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is the international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences - worldwide. Sina and Corey Timpson, longtime friend and collaborator, are looking forward to attending the annual TEA gala in Anaheim in April 2022.
PAC's founder Sina Bahram was featured on the November edition of the BBC Sounds - Ouch! podcast to discuss his experience as one of twelve AstroAccess Ambassadors, and the experiments they performed during their parabolic flight. "We were really focused on accessible space flight solutions of course to help us as the disabled community, but also because we think that it can benefit the entire aerospace community as a whole" Sina said. "This is something that we take really seriously, because it’s not just a matter of inclusivity but also safety. If there is a safety issue, the lights go out, equipment malfunctions, or something of that nature - the considerations and affordances that have been implemented for enhanced accessibility are now critical for anyone that may not have the use of vision, hearing, and related senses and abilities." There is also an accompanying BBC article that discusses Sina Bahram and Mary Cooper's experience as AstroAccess ambassadors 'It was magical' - meet the first disabled crew to fly in zero-gravity
PAC's founder Sina Bahram, served as one of twelve AstroAcess Ambassadors, a pioneering group of disabled researchers, scientists, and designers. The team successfully completed their first mission: a parabolic flight to test various accessibility and inclusive design considerations in several gravity environments - lunar gravity, Martian gravity, and microgravity. Sina worked with several other blind and low-vision ambassadors to specifically explore barriers and conditions related to orientation, navigation and wayfinding in these gravities without the use of sight. This critical mission yielded valuable insight for future explorations. “I knew it would be a joyous experience just because I looked forward to it for many decades of my life" Sina said. A lifelong space enthusiast, Sina was excited to contribute to such an important project with such esteemed peers.
PAC’s founder, Sina Bahram, will serve as a crew member for the inaugural mission of AstroAccess, made possible by an incredible team of collaborators. Sina, and his fellow Astro Ambassadors will experience weightlessness and carry out lunar gravity, Martian gravity, and zero gravity observations and experiments investigating how the physical environment aboard space vessels should be modified so that all astronauts and explorers, regardless of disability on Earth, can live, work, and thrive in space. This historic mission is a critical first step in ensuring inclusion in the future of space travel and exploration for current and future generations.
AstroAccess is dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in space exploration for the benefit of humankind. The first mission will fly on 17 October 2021 with the ultimate goal of flying one or more team members to space in the coming years. The project is supported through the Whitesides Foundation and is part of the SciAccess Initiative, an international organization dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in STEM. The fiscal sponsor of the project is Yuri’s Night, a non-profit space advocacy organization.
Several years in the making, the Obama Presidential Center officially broke ground to begin an estimated four-year building phase. PAC’s founder Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, have worked with the Center’s team since initial concepting stages ensuring considerations of inclusion throughout the design of the physical spaces, exhibitions, and range of offerings the center will provide. Sina and Corey will continue to work with the dedicated Center team to ensure that ongoing project development furthers inclusion. The Center demonstrates the importance of integrating conversations around inclusion and accessibility from the onset of a large-scale design project, leading to a more seamless and improved experience for all audiences.
PAC's Founder, Sina Bahram, and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, presented their Introduction to the Practice of Inclusion workshop to a group of arts and cultural workers in Raleigh, NC and nationwide. The discussion covered the fundamentals of inclusive design and accessibility, focusing specifically on low/no-cost ways of thinking about access and inclusion throughout the lifecycle of a project. Further, Corey and Sina shared their overall inclusive design methodology, and presented the results of a collaboration with the amazing folks at the Boise Art Museum on embedding inclusive design in the Many Wests Exhibition, as a case study to illustrate the impact that thoughtful design, even with minimal cost implications, can have on better serving the widest possible audience.
PAC’s founder, Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, served as project advisors for Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab project: Activating Smithsonian Open Access, a prototype incubator that awarded seven prototypes to increase engagement with 2D and 3D digitized collection objects available through Smithsonian’s Open Access initiative. Sina and Corey provided RFP language to ensure inclusive design and accessibility considerations, served as reviewers to ensure inclusion be a criteria for advancing projects to the final round and provided coaching for project teams to ensure the prototypes incorporated inclusive design considerations throughout development.
PAC’s Founder, Sina Bahram and long-time friend and collaborator Corey Timpson, are excited to expand on the past year of robust work with partners at the Baltimore Museum of Art made possible by a Museums Empowered IMLS grant. Sina and Corey will continue their workshop series of “The Practice of Inclusion” with the staff covering implementation of inclusive design in public programs, digital and web products, exhibition development, visitor services and other areas across the museum enterprise. Sina and Corey commend Gamynne Guillotte, BMA’s Chief Education Officer for her commitment to inclusive design and applaud the entire BMA team for championing inclusion and their energy around the work.
The Boise Art Museum opens its exhibition Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea after thoughtful and deliberate integration of inclusive design in the exhibition development process. PAC's founder Sina Bahram, and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, worked closely with the incredible Boise Art Museum team, who deeply embraced inclusive design and established firm commitments to accessibility throughout the planning, development, and production of the exhibition. The exhibition opened with a series of thoughtfully created affordances, including Tactile Representation Models and an Audio Guide that includes visual descriptions and label text including artist comments being read aloud. This exhibition marks an important milestone in the Boise Art Museum's inclusive design practice, work that is ongoing and continuing to expand in future offerings.
PAC’s founder, Sina Bahram, sat down with Perry LaRoque for an episode of his podcast “Taking Flight”. Sina demonstrated a screen reader speaking at 950 words per minute, and spoke on some of his personal experiences navigating barriers and what led him to his career in inclusive design. Sina also spoke on how accessibility and disability are incorporated into broader diversity and inclusion efforts, and the importance and business case for incorporating inclusion, accessibility, usability, and analysis in project and product design and development.
During the 2021 Conference, PAC's founder, Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator led a session titled “Inclusive Design: Informing Museum Practice” on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, from 11:00 am – 2:30 pm. Sina and Corey shared their Ecosystem of Inclusive Design methodology and had an unscripted dialogue of continuous questions and answers with participants that covered inclusive design and accessibility across all aspects of museum practice.
PAC was delighted to work with the excellent folks at Fight for the Future to assist in the launch of "Who Can Get Your Book", a newly created platform that identifies the availability of publications produced in paper, E-book, and audio formats. The site discusses why these formats are important from a broad accessibility standpoint including increasing access to individuals with disabilities, those with low income, illiteracy, and addressing authoritarian surveillance barriers. The platform provides a quiz for writers and publishers that indicates a score of access and availability based on decisions in the publishing process in an effort to expand the adoption of more accessible formats across the publishing industry. The site also provides explanations for various publication formats to educate on how they serve to increase access to a range of individuals. PAC provided accessibility consulting on the development of the project and worked with the incredible team at Fight the Future to ensure this outstanding new resource was born accessible.
In this article for the American Alliance of Museums, PAC's founder, Sina Bahram demonstrates the primary ways inclusive design and accessibility can be integrated into the procurement process. Sina outlines clear recommendations at every stage of procurement, from drafting an RFP, evaluating proposals, through contracting. Additionally, he describes essential things to keep in mind when considering collaboration with an external accessibility partner.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, was honored to speak at the United Nation's 6th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly. Sina spoke on his career experiences, ranging from researching as a computer scientist specializing in human-computer interaction (HCI) to becoming a Champion of Change. He expressed the importance that all of us adopt an inclusive design mindset and methodology to create a more equitable and accessible experience for individuals who have low or no vision. Sina gives his sincere gratitude to Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite for the invitation to join the day’s event and applauds his fellow speakers, all of whom shared incredible stories from their own paths in overcoming access barriers and recommendations for young people interested in pursuing careers in STEM.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, was delighted to author a post for the American Alliance of Museums online journal focusing on ten key practices for improving the accessibility of museum websites. Sina's article provides clear considerations for content creation, technical requirements, and gives recommendations on easy-to-use tools that any museum staff member can utilize to gain insight on the performance of their website as it pertains to accessibility.
During the 2020 Conference, PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, presented "Touch and Multi-sensory Experiences: Developing Safe and Inclusive Practices During Covid-19", examining the details related to ensuring rich inclusion and access for onsite and remote audiences under the unique conditions created by the pandemic. The session discussed intention, design, execution, management, and maintenance across the museum enterprise, focusing on strategic objectives and practical tactics for sustainable solutions.
PAC authored and recorded visual descriptions for a series of videos featured in Lincoln Center's ADA30 program. Authored and recorded by seasoned describer J.J. Hunt, the videos highlight a range of disabled artists and were presented with an embedded track of audio description.
As part of Lincoln Center Activate, PAC's founder Sina Bahram presented a session titled "Digital Inclusion". Sina shared his insight on creating inclusive practices in the digital realm. The conversation addressed key considerations for ensuring inclusion with implications from COVID-19, the accessibility of remote offerings, and the role of technology in furthering inclusion.
GSM Project hosted a webinar to discuss what accessibility will look like for museums, both during and after COVID-19. As part of the series Cocktails with Creatives PAC's founder Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, dear friend and collaborator spoke on what institutions can do to enhance inclusion while responding to the evolving needs of the pandemic. Sina and Corey also spoke on adopting new techniques for reducing barriers to access in exhibitions and increasing inclusion in the presentation of content across platforms.
During a 90-minute session with frog for San Francisco Design Week 2020, PAC's founder Sina Bahram and, Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, provided an overview of their inclusive design methodology and discussed key considerations of an inclusive approach. Sina and Corey illustrated principles through use cases and examples of past work then reviewed previous work from frog and examined opportunities to further inclusion in future projects.
PAC's founder Sina Bahram was excited to speak with Pattie Reaves, Principal User Experience Developer at Alley for a webinar on the hows and whys of creating accessible websites and digital interactions. During the session, Sina and Patti discussed fundamentals and demonstrated what it’s like to navigate the web through speech.
During the 2020 virtual conference, PAC's founder Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson held an hour-long unscripted session "The Inclusive Design and Accessibility Answer Hour" with discussion on topics raised by attendees. The conversation covered a range of themes addressing inclusive design and accessibility across the museum ecosystem.
PAC's founder Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, joined colleagues organizing the initial launch of Smithsonian's Open Access initiative to promote accessibility and inclusivity-related metadata in their efforts. Corey and Sina facilitated a pan-institutional conversation across Smithsonian around accessibility, inclusivity, and data sovereignty.
PAC's founder Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator, were delighted to engage staff at the Corning Museum of Glass in their "Practice of Inclusion" workshop series. The training provided an introduction to inclusive design, accessibility, and strategies for application across the institution. Over 200 staff members from across the museum joined Corey and Sina for a series of lectures to build institutional awareness around inclusive practices, discussed strategic planning on inclusion, and developed a roadmap to chart milestones for future implementation. Corey and Sina were delighted to participate in several onsite demonstrations, particularly when given the opportunity to make their own glass.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator facilitated an Interaction Lab workshop at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum joined by designers, museum professionals, and disabled performers to explore gallery spaces through a range of modalities. The workshop challenged assumptions around how visitors inhabit exhibition environments and navigate museum spaces through movement exercises, description activities, and discussion.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram presented on enhancing inclusion while maintaining preservation goals. The conference, hosted at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, explored the critical tension within cultural institutions between ensuring the preservation of objects while making them available to the public. Sina's session discussed the role of inclusive design in broader conversations of maintaining the care of objects and access.
In an article for Slate, April Glaser discusses the experience of blind users when navigating Facebook, and the accessibility bugs on the platform. PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, was quoted on the topic of systemic accessibility across large tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, among others.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram will present the closing keynote "Thinking About All Users" on Sunday, November 17 at 3:30pm in the Legends' Ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator of PAC presented at the 2019 MCN Conference for a session titled "Multi-Sensory Design Towards Inclusion and Access". Many multi-sensory exhibitions aim to create immersive experiences, yet remain inaccessible for a variety of visitors. This session will examine multi-sensory exhibition design and how engaging various senses can provide not only a rich and immersive experience, but can facilitate greater accessibility, widening audiences, increasing demographics, and facilitate inclusion. Examples from different museums will be examined for not only what they achieved, but the potential they hold (or held) for increasing inclusion and access. The presentation deck from their discussion is linked above.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram met with faculty and senior administrators at Manhattan College to discuss increasing inclusion for students with disabilities as well as making the campus more welcoming to everyone. Sina spoke to the university's leadership team, discussed digital accessibility for the website, and met with a range of faculty, staff from the Accessibility Committee, and various teams across campus to discuss strategies and tactics for enhancing inclusion for various aspects of university life from digital experiences to accessible teaching techniques and accommodations for students with disabilities.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram keynoted the symposium with Barak adé Soleil and led a breakout session on accessible websites. Sina also met with colleagues at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC discussing a range of first steps to improve inclusive design at the museum.
In an article for Ars Technica, Kate Cox discusses Domino's v Robles, the recent case brought to the Supreme Court over web accessibility and the ADA. PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, spoke on the potential impact of the case, and the difference between accessibility and inclusive design.
Sina Bahram, PAC's founder, is honored to serve as an amicus curiae on the case Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, which is being heard by the Supreme Court of the United States. The case centers on the state of Georgia's claim of copyright over the official state code (OCGA), which includes all laws enacted by the state legislature. The claim made against Public.Resources.Org argues that this important information should not be made freely available, which is antithetical to the spirit of inclusion and access that PAC supports. The brief filed collectively by the amici curiae conveys the essential right of access for individuals with print disabilities under the ADA and articulates the violation to those rights the case presents.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, gave the keynote address at the Western Museums Association Annual Meeting which focused on the ways in which museums engage with their communities, staff, and other museums. Sina's talk addressed embedding accessibility and inclusion into all aspects of museological practice from design through implementation and operational considerations.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram spoke on the panel "Building the Equitable Web" with Pattie Reeves from Alley and Alejandro de Onis from the Knight Foundation. The session covered key issues in web accessibility and how developers can implement inclusive design practices in their work. With many foundations and granting organizations in attendance, the panel also discussed the role of grantors in championing accessibility for the projects and grantees they support. By encouraging inclusive design considerations in funded projects, granting organizations can amplify the work and influence the sector at large.
PAC was delighted to collaborate with the team at the Peabody Essex Museum to develop a guided tactile reproduction of Morning Mist, an abstract painting featured in the Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction exhibition. PAC in collaboration with J.J. Hunt, long-time friend, and seasoned describer, authored and recorded the guided visual description of the painting, in addition to working with the museum team on the design and development of the physical installation. The tactile reproduction was the first in the museum's history, marking an important milestone in the museum's commitment to inclusive design and accessibility.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, will give the Keynote at WMA's annual meeting. This year, WMA will focus on "the ways museums engage with their communities, staff, and other museums."
Sina's keynote will be on Saturday, October 5, at 9am in the Boise Centre room 100DE.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, spoke with Doug Schumacher on speed listening and text to speech engines. Sina shared his personal experience using VoiceOver and other screen reader technologies and the process of training to comprehend increased speed. Sina also talked about inclusive design considerations of voice assistants, limitations with existing interfaces and the future of using audio to consume content.
Group of contributors to the P5JS ecosystem gathered at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University to work through four primary tracks. The inclusion track was led by Research Fellow at the NYU Ability Project, Claire Kearney-Volpe. PAC's founder, Sina Bahram worked with P5JS inventor Lauren McCarthy and other fantastic collaborators interested in inclusion to improve the user experience when creating or enjoying the artistic output of creators. During the conference, collaborators did an informal review of the P5JS website focusing on accessibility, internationalization, and inclusive language for non-native English speakers. Collaborators also worked to make animations more accessible out of the box, as well as enhance P5JS's existing impressive graphics exploration affordances for people with low or no vision.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram presented at the 19th annual Kennedy Center LEAD Conference, the largest annual gathering of accessibility professionals and cultural workers organized by the Kennedy Center. Sina co-facilitated a capacity-building pre-conference workshop on making the visitor experience more inclusive and conducted office hours to advise attendees on digital accessibility questions and projects.
Vox Media wrote an "Update on accessibility improvements we’re making to Chorus" and discussed their partnership with Prime Access Consulting. PAC worked with the awesome team at Vox to identify opportunities for enhanced accessibility across design and implementation.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram gave the keynote address at the 2019 Tessitura Learning and Community Conference titled "Welcoming the Widest Possible Audience". The talk focused on creating equitable experiences through principles of universal and inclusive design.
The EPIQ conference is an international professional development workshop for educators to learn the foundational skills necessary to teach students computer science using the Quorum programming language. PAC's founder, Sina Bahram serves on the steering committee as well as the board of the Quorum Outreach and Research Foundation (QORF). You can learn more about PAC's work with EPIQ and the Quorum programming language on the project page.
In a recent episode of On View, PAC's founder, Sina Bahram spoke with Chris Barr on what it means to make museums welcoming to broader and more diverse communities. Sina talked about the difference between accessibility and inclusive design and the role of technology as an equalizer.
PAC's founder Sina Bahram and Corey Timpson, long-time friend and collaborator were present for AAM's Annual Meeting.
Corey presented Inclusion: Rich Experience Design for All Multisensory design sets us on a path toward rich storytelling and inclusive experiences, but breaking trail can be difficult. Examine two museums’ approaches—such as tactile imaging, audio tours, and first-person testimonies—to make photography exhibitions accessible and experiential for everyone. Learn how user feedback has informed innovation and how one design intent can be applied to different contexts, producing varying results.
PAC's founder, Sina Bahram spoke with Bluecadet web developer Shaun Baer and Communications Director of Harvard College Admissions & Financial Aid Victoria Marzilli, on the importance of integrating web accessibility and inclusive design into marketing strategies. They discussed lessons learned from the development of Harvard's admissions website.
As part of a cross-institutional effort, PAC's founder, Sina Bahram led a Lunch & Learn for Smithsonian employees on the use of image descriptions to improve digital accessibility. The session took place alongside the creation of Guidelines for Image Description, published for public use.
Claire Voon published an editorial titled "This Open Source Software Could Make Museum Websites More Accessible," which discusses the work that PAC did with MCA Chicago to create the Coyote Project.
A workshop hosted at MIT's Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship. Field experts focused on the role of library information systems and information architecture in supporting diverse communities to discover, access, create, and learn from library collections. PAC's founder, Sina Bahram participated in the discussion. The session will result in a public white paper.
During the 2019 Conference, PAC's founder, Sina Bahram led several sessions including:
Join PAC's founder, Sina Bahram, as he presents with Pamela Horn on the award-winning Cooper Hewitt Accessible Labels App. This year, MCN sought proposals that "investigate how museums can use technology to foster human connection and dialogue, advance accessibility and inclusion, and champion inquiry and knowledge."
Sina and Pam will be speaking on Friday, November 15, at 1:30 pm in the Hopscotch room of the Curtis Hotel, which is on the 3rd floor.