Virtual Ability: 2015 IDRAC in Second Life

Virtual AbilityVirtual Ability has announced the speakers and schedule for the 5th International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), which will take place in Second Life on  Friday, November 13th and Saturday, November 14th, 2015, with the theme It’s All About the People.

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, and will feature presentations from Canada, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Presentation will be of around 90 minutes duration, including time for discussion and breaks between, with the first session on each day starting at 09:00 SLT and the last at 15:00 SLT.

IDRAC 2015

Schedule of Sessions

The conference schedule, as it stood at the time of writing, was as follows. Please visit the conference page on the virtual Ability website for any updates and to read the biographies of the individual presenters. All times are SLT.

Friday, November 13th

09:00 Effectiveness Study of a Community-Based Pain Clinic – Muhammad Abdul Hadi
10:30
The Edge of Normal – Hana Schank
12:00
The Right to be Rescued – Jordan Melograna
13:30 WORLDS APART: Why SL Makes Me More Normal Than RL – Mook Wheeler
15:00 Disability at Intersections: International Conversations on Disability in Relation to Other Identities and Social Justice Spectrum – Akemi Nishida
The Sojourner Auditorium
The Sojourner Auditorium, virtual Ability Island

Saturday, November 14th

09:00 Who is The Sojourner? What is Dreams? – Golda Stein
10:30
Making a Difference, One Line of Code at a Time – Captain Code
12:00
People Helping People – Down to the Marrow – Katsii Tennen
13:30 Freaks: Stories of People on the Fringes of Life – Slatan Dryke
15:00 3:00pm – Closing Performance: ~DRUM~ (Divine Rhythms of Universal Music)

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Virtual Ability announce IDRAC speakers and schedule

Virtual AbilityVirtual Ability has announced the speakers and schedule for the 4th International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), which will take place in Second Life on October 3rd and 4th, 2014 under the title of “Technically, we’re accessible… right?” Exploring True Inclusion in the Digital World.

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, with the first presentation taking place at 05:30 SLT on Friday October 3rd. Speaking at the event will be:

  • Babar Shahzad Chaudary. a Doctoral Researcher for Mobile Computing/Embedded Systems at University of Oulu, Finland
  • Catherine Easton, who will be speaking on access to the Internet and human rights
  • David Sloan, who will present From Checklist Accessibility to Accessible User Experiences
  • Dr. Edmund F. LoPresti, an adjunct faculty in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, who will be speaking on Assistive Technology for Computer Access
  • Gregg Vanderheiden, who will be discussing AutoPersonalization in Real and Second Life
  • Laura Hall, who will be presenting Fun for Everyone: Assistive Technology for Video Gaming
  • Gunela Astbrink, an ICT policy advisor and researcher
  • Brian Kelly, presenting Web accessibility is not (primarily) about conformance with web accessibility standards
  • Tim Creagan, Sr. Accessibility Specialist at U.S. Access Board
  • Anthony Giannoumis, presenting A Revaluation of the Cultural Dimension of disability policy in the EU: the impact of digitization and web accessibility
  • blondieCART, iSkye Silverweb, and Gentle Heron from Virtual Ability, presenting Hear With Your Eyes – How It’s Done
  • Joel Foner, presenting Wait, what was that? Using inclusion to create a huge win for everyone, not just those who ‘need it’
  • Tom Boellstorff, presenting Bytes and Pixels: The Social Impact of Digital Inclusion.
The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 ISRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc
The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 ISRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc

Full details of the two-day programme, which will include social activities as well as the main speaker programme, can be found on the Virtual Ability blog. Attendance for the event is open to all, and Virtual Ability extend a warm invitation to anyone wishing to attend.

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Virtual Ability Inc announce IDRAC 2014

Virtual AbilityOn Sunday  September 7th, Virtual Ability Inc., announced the 4th International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) take place in Second Life on October 3rd and 4th, 2014.  The theme for the 2014 conference is “Technically, we’re accessible… right?” Exploring True Inclusion in the Digital World.

Details of speakers, and presentations will follow in due course. for now, Virtual Ability extend an open invitation to all to attend the weekend’s conference, stating:

Join colleagues, friends, and community members for presentations on web accessibility, advances in assistive technology, creating an accessible user experience, accessible gaming, emerging standards for technology, and more! Presenters from Spain, U.K., U.S., and Australia will join us at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island within Second Life.

Why don’t you join us, too? 

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, and I’ll be covering the programme and speakers through these pages as they are announced.

The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 ISRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc
The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 IDRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc

In the meantime, those wishing to know more about the conference, its focus and aims, should contact  sister@virtualability.org or Sister Abeyante in-world.

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Virtual Ability announce IDRAC panelists

Virtual AbilityFollowing-on from the initial announcement about the 3rd Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC), which I previewed here, Gentle Heron of Virtual Ability Inc has supplied details of the panellists who will make up the four international panels which will be held during the conference.

IDRAC will take place on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th September 2013 at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island. The central theme is “Let Me In”, focusing on different perspectives about access that are of interest to persons with disabilities, and seeks to address issues of inclusion and freedom of participation.

As well as keynote speakers on each of the two days and presentations from noted experts and specialists from around the world (again, please refer to my previous post for details), the conference will include four panel sessions over the two days, in which disability rights around the world will be discussed.

The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island - locations of the 3rd IDRAC
The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island – locations of the 3rd IDRAC

In all the four panels comprise:

International Panel 1: Friday September 27th, 17:30 SLT

  • Roth Grut – Brazil
  • Losairam – Ecuador
  • Jens Nerido – Denmark
  • Moderator:  Svea Morane (United States)

International Panel 2: Saturday September 28th, 07:00 SLT

  • Letty Pienaar – Germany
  • Winter Wardhani – Portugal
  • JayJay Zifanwe – Australia
  • Moderator: Tom Bukowski (United States)

International Panel 3: Saturday September 28th, 13:00 SLT

  • Slatan Dryke – Italy
  • Libido Siemens – Greece
  •  jihan wonder – Egypt
  • Moderator: Blu Heron (United States)

International Panel 4: Saturday September 28th, 17:30 SLT

  • LifeSkillsWorker – Canada
  • Loquacia Loon – Malaysia
  • Kiremimi Tigerpaw – Japan
  • Zsuzsa Tomsen – United States
  • Moderator: Kopilo Hallard (Australia)

Commenting on the upcoming conference, organiser Gentle Heron said, “We are so excited! We invite you to attend the conference if you can, and tell your friends about it – bring them along! The slate of presenters is broad and varied. Presenters hail from places as diverse as Germany, South Africa and the Netherlands. Panellists come from places as widespread as Brazil, Italy, Japan, Ecuador, and Denmark.”

For full details on the conference programme schedule, including updates and changes, please refer to the IDRAC Presentation Schedule.

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“Let Me In”: The 3rd Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference

Virtual AbilityFriday September 27th and Saturday September 28th will see the 3rd Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) take place in Second Life.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Let Me In”, and focuses on different perspectives about access that are of interest to persons with disabilities, and seeks to address issues of inclusion and freedom of participation.

Virtual Ability Island - the hub of Virtual Ability's work in Second Life
Virtual Ability Island – the hub of Virtual Ability’s work in Second Life

Persons with all types of disabilities can be fully functioning community members, given appropriate accessibility accommodations when needed. However, despite increasing legal protections ensuring access and community participation, significant barriers to equal access for persons with disabilities still exist:

  • A person with a disability or chronic health condition may not have access to all the facilities, resources, and communities that persons without these conditions have. A person with a mobility disability may be stymied by a flight of stairs leading to a public building, by public transportation their wheelchair won’t go into, or even by the tall threshold of a shop
  • A person with a visual impairment may be unable to benefit from daily newspapers or printed textbooks
  • A Deaf person may not be able to communicate on the phone, or receive information on radio announcements or at public lectures. Persons with developmental or intellectual disabilities may have difficulty understanding public policies or getting appropriate health care.

Panels of citizens from around the world will provide background as conference participants explore both policy and implementation aspects of providing full accessibility.

Commenting on the upcoming conference, Alice Krueger (Gentle Heron in SL), President of Virtual Ability, Inc., said:

For persons with disabilities, access to information is critical. We must be included in research about the world, and our needs must be considered in policy development. We also should have access to buildings, transportation, and all the other resources used by persons who do not have disabilities. Having access to the full function of communities in which we engage is equally important. “Let me in” is a logical follow-up to last year’s IDRAC conference which focused on communities people with disabilities belong to.

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island.

The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island - locations of the 3rd IDRAC
The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island – locations of the 3rd IDRAC

Programme Outline

For full details on the conference programme schedule, including updates and changes, please refer to the IDRAC Presentation Schedule. All times given her are SLT.

Friday September 27th

  • 08:30-09:30 – Keynote Address, Dr. Letitica De León:- Play to the Strengths: Accessible Fun and Learning for All Children
  • 10:00-11:00 – Dr. Sarah Rule: Training Community Based Rehabilitation Personnel in South Africa
  • 11:30-12:30 – Vulcan Viper: Accessibility in Mind
  • 13:00-14:00 – Vicki Robinson:  Teaching Physics to Deaf Students in a 3-D Immersive World
  • 14:30-15:30 – Jennifer Sarrett:  Disability in the Developing World: The Case of Autism in Kerala
  • 16:00-17:00 – Teresa Goddard: Service Animals in the Workplace
  • 17:30-18:30 – International Panel #1: Disability Rights Around the World

Saturday September 28th

  • 06:00-07:00 – Dr. Wisdom Mprah Does Disability Matter? Disability in Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies and Research in Ghana
  • 07:00-08:00 – International Panel #2: Disability Rights Around the World
  • 08:30-10:00 – Keynote Address, Dr. John Stone, The World Report on Disability
  • 10:00-11:00 – Christel Schneider:  European Language Portfolios for Specific Purposes
  • 11:30-12:30 – Dr. Margaret Stineman:  Empowerment Medicine: Engaging Together
  • 13:00-14:00 – International Panel #3: Disability Rights Around the World
  • 14:30-15:30 – Mike Rose: Inclusive Emergency Preparedness, or “I’ll Open My Own Doors” 16:00-17:00 – Dr. Nina Slota: Gender, Community, and Collaboration: The Experiences of Women Living with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • 17:30-18:30 – International Panel #4: Disability Rights Around the World.

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Virtual conference for disability rights

Virtual Ability, the first winner of the Linden Prize in 2009, will be holding the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference in Second Life this weekend (July 23-24th). The aim of the international conference is to “begin to explore legal protections around the world for persons with disabilities.”

Panels will discuss local legislation that supports the rights of persons with disabilities, with panelists attending from Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the US and the UK, and include:

  • Scott Gill, Executive Director of Access 2 independence, a Center for Independent Living in Iowa, US, who will be discussing the independence movement
  • Simon Walsh, from the UK; who will be comparing the US ADA legislation with the UK’s DDA
  • Sister Abeyante a Salvatorian Sister, who will be discussing advocacy for disability (civil and human) rights
  • Roberta Walker Kilkenny, a college instructor; who will be making a presentation on significance of the UN Convention.

Other organisations attending the event include: the National Service Inclusion Project and the Job Accommodation Network.

Commenting on the conference, Alice Krueger, president of Virtual Ability, Inc., stated: “It is a great pleasure to host so many wonderful speakers. Our audience will gain information about the extent of the issues facing people with disabilities, and the potentials for solutions to barriers.”

Further Information