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Digital Access Research Project Launches at Harvard

Focusing on the digital accessibility of performing arts, the project is being coordinated by researcher and dramaturg Magda Romanska.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: The Digital Access Research Project (DARP) has officially launched in a collaboration between the metaLAB and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. The project will focus on the digital accessibility of performing arts to develop guidelines for law- and policymakers and performing arts organizations.

DARP developed out of metaLAB’s FutureStage project, which examined the future of performing arts amid the social and technological challenges of the pandemic. DARP continues this inquiry, with a renewed focus on the digital accessibility of performing arts events and the codification of streaming as part of disability laws in the U.S. and globally. DARP is led by international experts in disability law, copyright law, digital technology, and performing arts management.

The project is coordinated by Magda Romanska, a principal investigator at metaLAB, faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center, and professor of dramaturgy at Emerson College. DARP hopes to issue strategies to address accessibility, as well as author’s and performer’s rights for performing arts companies that offer events that can be streamed or made otherwise available online.

DARP group members include director Sam Gold; Kasia Lech, University of Amsterdam professor and executive director of the Theatre Times; Columbia University theatre management and producing concentration head and professor Steven Chaikelson; Doug Reside, curator of the theatre collection at the New York Public Library; Ilinca Todorut, artistic director of the International Online Theatre Festival; and Heidi Wiley, executive director of the European Theatre Convention, among others.

MetaLAB is a production studio, idea foundry, and knowledge design lab that experiments in the networked arts and humanities. It is based at both Harvard University and the Freie Universität Berlin.

The mission of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, also based at Harvard, is to explore and understand cyberspace, to study its development, and the need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions surrounding it. It is an entrepreneurial nonprofit research center.

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