The nature of accessibility studies

Keywords: access, accessibility, accessibility revolution, accessibility studies, accessible filmmaking, affordances, audiovisual translation, design, human rights, information revolution, human-computer interaction, interdisciplinarity, Isotype, media accessibility, maker-user gap, Marie Neurath, Otto Neurath, universal access, universal access in human-computer interaction

Abstract

Accessibility has come to play a pivotal role on the world’s stage, gradually pervading different aspects of our lives as well as a vast range of fields, giving rise to a plethora of fruitful new ideas, methods and models, and becoming an ever more key issue within a process that is reshaping the very fabric of society. The ubiquitous effects of accessibility have led to the emergence of a new research field, namely accessibility studies (AS). This paper presents both the path that has led towards the emergence of AS as well as the distinctive features of this new field. AS is defined as the field concerned with the investigation of accessibility processes and phenomena, and the design, implementation and evaluation of accessibility-based and accessibility-oriented methodologies. The analysis is carried out mainly, though not exclusively, in reference to media accessibility (MA), as it is one of the most mature areas in which the process of the formation of AS has been taking place. It concludes by arguing that AS is a timely field that addresses the most pressing issues our society is facing nowadays and appealing to MA to embrace its identity as an area of AS.

Author Biography

Gian Maria Greco, TransMedia Catalonia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona / Galician Observatory for Media Accessibility, Universidade de Vigo

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow and a member of the TransMedia Catalonia Research Group at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), where he directs the project UMAQ. He is Research Associate at GALMA, Universidade de Vigo (Spain). His research focuses on the theoretical foundation of accessibility studies and how it relates to human rights, the media, and the performing arts.

Published
2018-11-14