The beginning of Green Digital Accessibility
Sarah Anne McDonagh (UAB) & Chiara Gunella (UAB)
On 2nd December, we held our very first conference on the topic of Green Digital Accessibility in Barcelona.
The first of its kind, the aim of the conference was to draw together researchers, educators, broadcasters, user organisations and designers from the fields of media accessibility, environmental education and the media and digital sector to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities of combining the two related fields of sustainability and accessibility.
While you might think that sustainability and accessibility are not a natural fit, both topics appear in the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals, specifically Goals 4 (“Quality Education”), 8 (“Decent Work and Economic Growth”), 10 (“Reduced Inequality”), 11 (“Sustainable Cities”) and 17 (“Partnership for Goals”). Indeed, the UN has identified the need to ensure that the transition to net zero is inclusive to everyone, irrespective of age, sex, disability, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or social status (McDonagh & Zapata, 2023). With this in mind, the GDA conference sought to forge new links between sustainability and accessibility through a series of talks and discussions with experts in the fields of media, media accessibility, web design, environmental education and tourism.
We had the pleasure of two keynotes, from experts in the media and digital sectors. Our first speaker Hemini Mehta from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) focused her presentation on the current media landscape, highlighting trends in sustainability and accessibility. While there is increasingly more work done around sustainability in film and tv production, there still remains a lack of awareness around accessibility.
Our second keynote Tom Greenwood, from the London-based WordPress company Wholegrain Digital, focused on the digital side, highlighting the synergies between accessibility and sustainability. You can read his thoughts on the GDA conference here.
The rest of the conference was full of interesting talk and presentation ranging from accessible gardens to accessibility in crisis communication. You can find the full list of presentations on our website.