To reach as many as possible, communication must be accessible. This is required for the public sector since 2018, and the private sector from 2025. Still, most university courses do not cover the topic of accessibility.
How can we make sure that students of communication learn how to reach all users, no matter of ability? How can we promote a more inclusive teaching experience for all? This is what the EU-funded ADORE project has aimed to do, by bringing accessibility to the forefront of higher education curricula related to communication.
ADORE Final Conference on Accessible Communication was organized as the hybrid multiplier event, where the ADORE project team presented the results of the Erasmus-funded ADORE project. This event held at Tallinn University and conducted via Zoom was offered without any cost. The conference included several parts, namely an opening session, a keynote address, five presentations, a discussion segment, a question-and-answer session, and a closing session.
The ADORE final conference commenced with an opening by Professor Katrin Niglas, who serves as the Vice Rector for Research at Tallinn University, and Professor Anastassia Zabrodskaja, who is both the ADORE project leader and the Head of the Master's program in Communication Management at Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media and Arts School. Subsequently, Professor Anastassia Zabrodskaja delivered the keynote address regarding the ADORE project.
Professor Anastassia Zabrodskaja presented a gap analysis concerning the training needs related to accessibility for university teaching and training staff in communication-related fields. Professor Boštjan Šumak and Dr. Maja Pušnik from the University of Maribor, Slovenia, provided an overview of the mapping of higher education communication programs where accessibility training could be integrated. Susanna Laurin from Funka Nu AB in Sweden discussed co-creation of a needs-based accessibility training toolkit for university teaching and training staff working on higher education communication programmes. Darja Ivanuša Kline from Institut za napredno upravljanje komunikacij (Institute for Advanced Communication Management), Slovenia, introduced development of a set of personas representing professional profiles in the field of accessible communication. Professor Sergio Sparviero from the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg in Austria provided recommendations on the inclusion of accessibility in curricula for higher education communication programmes.
The panel discussion featured Dr. Christopher J. Jenks, who is a Professor of Intercultural Communication at Utrecht University in the Netherlands; Maarja Jõgioja, the Disability Coordinator at Tallinn University (2022-2023); and Mikael Becker, a University lecturer at Mid Sweden University in the Department of Natural Science, Design, and Sustainability. The discussion was moderated by Susanna Laurin.
During the question-and-answer session, it became evident how passionate the audience was about digital accessibility. The conclusion of the conference was filled with enthusiasm for future directions after the completion of the ADORE project.
ADORE is carried out by a consortium of five European partners (Tallinn University, Funka Nu AB, University of Maribor, Paris-Lodron University Salzburg and the INUK Institut za napredno upravljanje komunikacij). ADORE is coordinated by Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media and Arts School. The project coordinator is Dr. Anastassia Zabrodskaja, Professor of Intercultural Communication, and Head of the MA programme in Communication Management.
For further details regarding the ADORE project: