Continuing Discussions Around Accessibility

As readers of The Historical Cooking Project are well aware, in addition to publishing articles about historical cookbooks, food studies, and food history pedagogy, we publish pieces related to making scholarship accessible. Our post "Thinking Beyond Open Access," addressed the kinds of barriers that prevent scholars writing about their work in ways that can be enjoyed by experts and the general public alike. Being a public history website that does not accept advertisements and relies on the financial and time investment of our editor Dr. Alex Ketchum, issues surrounding class and economics played an important part in that conversation. Furthermore, the topics of sustainability and preservation are a recurring theme on this site.

After organizing the event on feminist publishing and open access with speakers from Guelph (Amy Buckland, Head of Research & Scholarship at the University of Guelph, and the Canadian lead for Creative Commons), Concordia (Corina MacDonald,), and industry (Rebus Foundation (Zoe Wake Hyde) and Librarie L'Euguélionne (Stéphanie Dufrusne)) this fall, our editor wanted to continue these discussions. As a result, she created The Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Practices Speaker and Workshop Series.

The Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Practices Speaker and Workshop Series seeks to bring together scholars, creators, and people in industry working at the intersections of digital humanities, computer science, feminist studies, disability studies, communications studies, LGBTQ studies, history, and critical race theory. The series will bring forward critical approaches to publishing practices, innovative communication strategies, and techniques for making research dissemination more accessible. 



Part of the motivation of this series is that while humanities scholars will critique "traditional" academic publishing and communications strategies as being sexist, classist, racially biased, and inaccessible, the kinds of solutions proffered (such as open access, such as "innovative new technologies," etc) often romanticize and fetishize technological alternatives and do not look at how inequity can be perpetuated or only shifted (especially at the level of algorithms!).

The technologies behind open access scholarship, self-publishing, website design, and other communicative technologies that humanities and social science scholars use as alternatives to traditional academic publishing in order to communicate with the public are not neutral. It is vital that humanities and social science scholars engage with computer scientists and engineers if we seek to truly expand accessibility and create ways of communicating our scholarship in a socially just and feminist way.

The Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Practices Speaker and Workshop Series of 2019 is timely as Montreal grows into “the world’s leading Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Hub.” Samsung, Facebook, Google Brain, Element AI, and Microsoft all have or are developing AI campuses within the city. In 2017, the Forum on the Socially Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence unveiled the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence. It is important that humanities and social science scholars enter into these conversations as AI and machine learning undergirds the kinds of technologies we utilize as we seek to make publication and information distribution more accessible.

This 2019 series will include speakers from across Canada and the United States. Over the course of the year, there will be guest lectures, discussion sections, and practical workshops covering topics such as discrimination in algorithms, open access, data set design, feminist bookstores, podcasting, and website design.

In order to make the series as accessible as possible, lectures will be livestreamed and recorded when possible. The recorded lectures will be hosted on The Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Practices Speaker and Workshop Series Youtube Channel. These videos will also be embedded on the The Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Practices Speaker and Workshop Series website and will be publicized on The Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Practices Speaker and Workshop Series Facebook Page (@FeministandAccesiblePublishingandCommunication) and Twitter account (@feministandacc1). In addition, in order to build connections between Montreal’s academic, artistic, and industrial institutions, some speakers will present more than one presentation in order to speak to both industry insiders and outsiders.

Wheelchair accessibility and accessibility for participants with mobility disabilities will be prioritized when making room bookings.

The first three events can be seen here:January 23: Astra Taylor at McGill at 1 PM

March 15: Kristen Hogan at McGill at 4 PM

March 16: Kristen Hogan at L'Euguélionne at 4 PM

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