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Accessibility Statement and Resources

In Brief

         This website and its related in-person exhibitions are an effort to share creative expressions during the time of COVID-19 as widely and as accessibly as possible. In order to be transformative, access must be a foundational consideration for any project. What follows is a discussion of how access was foundational to this project: from the survey which gathered art and information to our in-person exhibitions to our lasting online archive.


The Project

Creativity in the Time of COVID-19: Art as a Tool for Combating Inequity and Injustice (CTC-19) is a project documenting how everyday people are using creativity to cope with the pandemic. Crowdsourcing examples of creativity during COVID-19, our public humanities collaboration focuses on highlighting art as a tool for combating inequity and injustice. 

CTC-19 includes physical exhibits as well as a digital archival collection of the works submitted by contributors from all over the globe. The project endeavors to reach those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic whenever and however possible. COVID-19 continues to reveal profound structural disadvantages and inequities, causing minoritized communities to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

Accessibility, for us, is a process—it is an ongoing mission to build from and to a project that is accessible possible for as many as possible across educational backgrounds, dis/ability, age, race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. Through this process, we work to implement design choices that undo, avoid, or reduce barriers rather than create new ones. Accessibility, for CIC-19, is not just about ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) or WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) requirements. Instead, accessibility is part of an ideology of justice. In his book, Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education, Jay Dolmage outlines the ways in which stigma connected to disability is not and cannot be a singular issue, emphasizing that “The stigma of disability is something that drifts all over—it can be used to insinuate inferiority, [and] revoke privilege.”[1] When projects do not consider the ways in which barriers to access exist in their foundational frameworks, this stigma continues under the auspices of accommodations–changing access for bodyminds that were originally excluded from the way the project was envisioned.

We seek to set a new standard for accessibility in museums, universities, and online resources. This means that our curation spaces utilize or have utilized braille, large print, multiple languages, ASL interpretations, 3D printing of select artworks, and many methods aimed at providing multiple points of entry and access to curated works. For our online archive, this means including webpages that are screen-reader friendly, incorporating alt text (alternative text which describes an image), creating audio descriptions (narration of key visual elements of a video), and writing image descriptions (longer descriptions of images that allow greater access to the artistic components of a work).

Integral to CIC-19 are the principles of disability justice, a series of principles which address intersectional concerns of disability, race, gender, and the myriad ways that the expected variety of humanity is partitioned by social and cultural practices. Patty Berne, co-founder of Sins Invalid and co-author of their “10 Principles of Disability Justice” emphasizes the intersectional nature of disability:“We know that each person has multiple identities, and that each identity can be a site of privilege or oppression. The mechanical workings of oppression and how they output shift depending upon the characteristics of any given institutional or interpersonal interaction; the very experience of disability itself is being shaped by race, gender, class, gender expression, historical moment, relationship to colonization, and more.” With CIC-19, we attempted to design access as capaciously as possible to include as many perspectives and participants as possible.


Access Considerations


All too often, access is an afterthought in the design, execution, and curation of academic projects. CIC-19 from the outset built its grant proposal, information gathering, exhibitions, and archive design around considerations of access. Because the project is meant to be as-accessible-as-possible, it was conceived with the principles of Universal Design in mind. Universal Design is described as “the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.”[2] To this end, CIC-19 was based around not only gathering information from as many people impacted by the pandemic as possible, but then circulating the creative expressions and what was learned as widely as possible and with as few barriers to access as possible.

         When referring to people and interaction, this access statement uses the term “bodymind” as a way to talk about how a person’s mental and physical experiences inform one another–for example, it’s harder to think sometimes when we’re distracted by physical pain or why it is sometimes harder to move as one wants to when a person is distracted. This access statement conceives of disability as an experience that arises in the interactions between the variety of bodyminds that can be found in humanity and the physically, digitally, and socially constructed spaces in which those bodyminds move. For example, when a person uses a walker to go through a museum, they might experience disability when stairs block their way, when touchscreens assume there is no gap between the user and the interface, or in comments from museum patrons who do not expect the clink and clank of assistive technology in a space of creativity.

Disability is not just a medical diagnosis; it's a vibrant part of our history, culture, community, and identity. Disabled scholars such as Jina B. Kim, David Mitchell, Sami Schalk, and Sunaura Taylor (and many more) argue that disability arises from the interaction of historical assumptions, cultural practices, community norms, and as part of one’s personal identity. It arises as part of the many interactions between people and their built environment. Being disabled isn’t a bad thing; the building without a ramp, the image without an image description, the event without an option for remote participation, these things are the problem.

Disability challenges traditional concepts of "normalcy." It instead recognizes the benefits of human variance and the potentials that exist by creating structures that support the depth and breadth of human experience. Disability studies encourage us to question social norms and embrace variation. By engaging with this exhibition, we invite you to explore disability as a multifaceted aspect of human existence, a celebration of human variation, and a call for societal inclusivity.


The Survey

In the design of the survey at the heart of the project, the Principal Investigators (PIs) and Graduate Student Leaders set out to create a survey that could be circulated in multiple languages. This resulted not only in a survey that was translated, but was offered in a variety of English formats, including American Sign Language (ASL) and plain English (English language that uses as little jargon or complex ideas as possible). In this way, it was the hope that the CTC-19 survey would reach as many participants as possible. We recognized that making or doing something during the time of the pandemic was a broad response to the historical event people found themselves in, and it was our belief that by making our survey as access as as possible, it would reach those deeply impacted by the pandemic’s harms who shared the experience of reacting to the pandemic creatively. In this same vein, the grant decided to focus not on the creation of “art.” Art, as an idea, carries with it social expectations for mastery, access to resources for materials, and other barriers to entry that are socially constructed. Instead, the project focuses on the more open-ended practice of creativity. In the research leading to and occurring during CTC-19, we found that “people benefit from the engagement in creativity in helping them achieve positive, flourishing experiences.”[3] This inclusive framing of creativity makes space for the plurality of ways people reacted to the pandemic: from baking bread to to creating worlds in videogames to developing a particular route for wheeling around one’s neighborhood in a power wheelchair.


In-Person Exhibitions

         In order to create exhibitions that were as accessible as possible, CIC-19 created an accessibility consultation team with disability arts leaders and local disability groups in order to consider what it means to go “beyond compliance.” One of the main issues that comes up in the realm of compliance is that it pushes access considerations to linger at the very minimum instead of spreading out into greater possibilities. Jay Dolmage argues that “the ADA gets talked about as a huge leap in human rights, but it delivers very little. In fact, this is how it does most of its damage: it ensures that only very little gets done.”[4] Whereas ADA standards create a minimum of access, usually by focusing and physical access to a space, the in-person exhibitions were designed idealistically to generate as few barriers to access as possible.

         Before exhibitions were held, the accessibility consulting team of CIC-19 visited each space to imagine how to remake them or alter them to enhance access to parking spaces, inclusive restrooms, breakrooms, and the creative expressions themselves (work was hung at an alternative height to the typical museum approach to account for wheelchair users and people of various heights). In addition to physical access, the CIC-19 exhibition spaces utilized access technology, design, and curation for broader bodymind access. Exhibitions feature materials for multisensory engagement, including tactile objects, sensory-friendly hours, spaces for sensory decompression, audio resources, and QR codes that lead to audio descriptions of visual works. In “Transforming Access,” Margaret Price describes the how the work of accessibility is not an objective but a process: “Access is unfolding, it's relational, it's not something you finish--it's very much a practice”[5] In our commitment to making exhibitions as accessible as possible, we integrated QR codes. They were used to access audio with image descriptions and artist statements for the pieces displayed. These make the creative expressions more accessible to blind and low vision people wanting to access creative expressions through another sense and to anyone who prefers audio over image or audio and image as a way to engage.

         Through these exhibitions, CIC-19 also educated visitors on disability, access, and curation. HIVES created a series of informational placards for the in-person exhibits that preemptively offered answers to such questions as “Why QR codes?”, “What Is Disability?”, “What Is Neurodiversity/Neurodivergence?”, and “When Is Disability?” These placards offered informational context to visitors about disability identity and community as well as the importance of access. They offered tools for visitors to understand the importance of access and create more access themselves in the future.


The Online Archive

         A final element of CIC-19 is its online, accessible archive of creative expression. This project was designed with assistance from Agile Humanities and is hosted via the open-source database platform Omeka S. Consulting with our accessibility team, the database features not only basic website accessibility considerations, but other crucial design elements in order to make its navigation as open as possible. Working with local disability arts organization DisArt and MSU’s disability and environment focused HIVES Research Workshop and Speaker Series, CIC-19 developed a checklist of access needs and wants for the final digital project.

         Among the elements that structure this database are extensive accessibility relations. DisArt has created audio description, captions, and image descriptions to accompany visual submissions that are hosted in connection with database entries. These files ensure that digital archive patrons have multiple ways to engage with the hosted creative expressions. In addition to these entries, the website is crafted to include brief alt-text for each visual image alongside an extended image description that provides for greater detail and evaluation. In creating the descriptions of these works, CIC-19 trained users using excerpts from Art Beyond Sight’s checklist of creating image descriptions. These suggestions increase access not only by providing one means of access for low-vision and blind website visitors, but also by modeling practices of interpretation and language for discussing visual creative expression.


Standardized Accessibility Statement for Creativity in the Time of COVID-19


For visitors who are seeking a standardized statement that describes the Creativity in the time of COVID-19 website, please note the WCAG compliance statement below:

This is an accessibility statement from Creativity in the Time of COVID-19.

Measures to Support Accessibility

Creativity in the Time of COVID-19 takes the following measures to ensure accessibility of Creativity in the Time of COVID-19:

  • Include accessibility as part of our mission statement.
  • Include accessibility throughout our internal policies.
  • Integrate accessibility into our procurement practices.
  • Assign clear accessibility goals and responsibilities.

Conformance Status

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) defines requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It defines three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. Creativity in the Time of COVID-19 is partially conformant with WCAG 2.1 level AA. Partially conformant means that some parts of the content do not fully conform to the accessibility standard.

Additional Accessibility Considerations

The platform on which our website operates, Omeka S, is mostly at the level of WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformance. In addition to technological considerations, CIC-19 has worked from the beginning to integrate access in the form of alt text, image description, and plain language.


We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of Creativity in the Time of COVID-19. Please let us know if you encounter accessibility barriers on Creativity in the Time of COVID-19:

  • E-mail:

Technical Specifications

Accessibility of Creativity in the Time of COVID-19 relies on the following technologies to work with the particular combination of web browser and any assistive technologies or plugins installed on your computer:

  • HTML

These technologies are relied upon for conformance with the accessibility standards used.

Assessment Approach

Creativity in the Time of COVID-19 assessed the accessibility of Creativity in the Time of COVID-19 by the following approaches:

  • Self-evaluation

This statement was created on 2 April 2024 using the W3C Accessibility Statement Generator Tool.



[1] Dolmage, Jay. Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education. U Michigan Press. 2017. 117

[2] Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. “About.”

[3] Tang, Min, Sebastian Hofreiter, Roni Reiter-Palmon, Xinwen Bai, and Vignesh Murugavel. “Creativity as a Means to Well-Being in Times of COVID-19 Pandemic:Results of a Cross-Cultural Study.” Frontiers in Psychology. V. 12 March 2021. 13.

[4] Dolmage, Jay. Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education. U Michigan Press. 2017. 68.

[5] Price, Margaret. “Margaret Price: Transforming Access.” Ohio State University Department of English. 20 August 2021.

Web Accessibility In Mind:

This resource offers multiple perspectives on creating access on the web. Among the available resources are trainings, national and international standards, and practical advices on web access.


World Wide Web Consortium-Web Accessibility Initiative:

The W3C develops standards and guidelines to help everyone build a web based on the principles of accessibility, internationalization, privacy and security. Among its web access resources are a very clear and direct set of accessibility fundamentals for those just beginning to consider web access.


A11Y Style Guide

This application is a living style guide or pattern library, generated from KSS documented styles...with an accessibility twist.


MSU Digital Accessibility Guidelines

Learn how to create accessible content and improve the overall digital experience for all users. 


Penn State Online Accessibility

It’s important to not only provide ALT text, but also provide one that is useful in the context of the document. You may not need to include every detail about the image, and you may be able to skip over purely decorative images, but those that contain critical information need to have it to spelled out in the ALT text.


W3Schools HTML Accessibility

Always write HTML code with accessibility in mind! Provide the user a good way to navigate and interact with your site. Make your HTML code as semantic as possible.


Accessibility for Museums

The Sensational Museum Project:

The Sensational Museum asks how regulated access provisions can be redesigned so that they can benefit all museum audiences. This interdisciplinary project will design and create sensory interventions that are accessible to all – using what we know about disability to change how museums work for everyone.


Cooper Hewitt Guidelines for Museums

Cooper Hewitt’s Guidelines for Image Description is a living document. The design tools here, like all creative resources, must continue to be tested in various environments and discussed broadly. These guidelines are created to be both comprehensive and responsive to provide guidance while maintaining fluidity to evolve.


Art in America Article, “How Museums Are Making Artworks Accessible to Blind People Online”

Alt texts (also called alt tags and alt attributes) are descriptions of images intended for blind and low-vision people who access them using software called a screen reader, which converts the text into braille or audio. Instead of repeating caption information noting a work’s medium or providing historical background, alt texts describe what sighted visitors would see.


Critical Design Lab’s Radical Standards for Access

Standardization schemas for the built environment and accessibility often employ checklist-style standards or performance standards to evaluate a designed space. These standardizing practices also produce ways of creating accessibility that are predictable, measurable, and achievable. But what would it mean to standardize radical accessibility, unending process of trying to do better? What would it mean to create standards for speculation, aspiration, and reflexivity? 


“A New Model For Access In The Museum” By Carmen Papalia

A blind social practice artist describes his own work—and play—in and around museums and volunteers his services as access coordinator to any museum willing to rise to the challenge of his provocations.


Accessibility For Social Media

Image Description & Alt Text Training Slideshow

This slideshow offers training and examples for developing image descriptions and alt text. It includes step-by step directions to incorporate them into various social media platforms. 


Art Beyond Sight’s Guidelines For Verbal Description

The following guidelines comprise a basic methodology that museum educators and art teachers can use to create successful verbal descriptions of painting, sculpture, and architecture, as well as works in other media.


Feminist Media Studio’s “Talking To Each Other: A Collective Sounding Project”

In this project, the FMS, AIM, and our community partners, want to collectively work, tinker and experiment with the frictions and challenges between technologies, access and critical forms of media making. 


Accessible Pedagogy Resources

HIVES Accessible Pedagogy Panel

Join HIVES’ invited speakers Garth Sabo and Tyler Smeltekop to discuss everyday tips for leading an accessible classroom and to offer speculations on accessible tomorrows and tomorrows and tomorrows.


MSU Accessible Learning Conference: “Creativity and Access Roundtable”

This roundtable discussion features a community of disabled undergraduate students who have been working to ensure the accessibility of the Creativity in the Time of COVID 19 project. At the center of the discussion is their ongoing efforts to imagine accessibility beyond mere compliance while simultaneously navigating inaccessibility in their student life. 


Additional Access Resources

Radical Accessibility: Research & Recommendations Report From Reason Digital

This report shares unique insights into the world of digital accessibility in the charity sector: the attitudes and behaviors of beneficiaries, the accessibility needs of those

accessing websites, the impact of coronavirus and, ultimately, what you should do.