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2019. MiCA – Milano per la Cultura Accessibile

Completed project

The project MiCA – Milano per la Cultura Accessibile (Milan project for Accessible Culture), presented by Fondazione LIA in collaboration with the Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano and realized thanks to the support of the Fondazione Cariplo, starts from the assumption that reading and access to culture are inalienable rights and tools of social inclusion that must be guaranteed for all.

The project is fully part of the activities that the Foundation carries out to spread the culture of accessibility both among its direct beneficiaries (blind, partially sighted, elderly, etc.) and among cultural operators and institutions (publishers, museums, libraries, etc.) to guarantee people with visual disabilities access to editorial production and publications with the same methods and conditions as all other readers.

The goal is to make Milan a center of excellence in the field of accessible publishing and socio-cultural inclusion of people with visual disabilities. The presence on the territory of realities in the world of accessibility such as the Fondazione LIA, l’Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano, the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Milan also makes the city the ideal place to implement a network project, thanks also to the concomitant presence of numerous publishing houses, libraries, and other cultural aggregation centers that can further expand the current network.

Awereness and promotion activities

Meet up

Two meetings (Meet up) on specific issues related to digital accessibility aimed at two specific targets that can potentially help spread the culture of accessibility:

  • Meet-up for the Order of Journalists of Lombardy  (September 27, Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano);
  • Meet-up for illustrators and graphic designers (December 10, Laboratorio Formentini).

These are moments of in-depth study on specific topics such as the production of accessible contents for the web and the alternative description of images.

Reading in the dark

Another awareness-raising initiative is Reading in the dark, a format created by the Fondazione LIA, which allows to approach the theme of accessibility of contents by experimenting with eyes, hands and ears the different ways of reading an accessible text and making people aware to everyone how people with visual disabilities read, demonstrating the opportunities offered by digital. The MiCA project includes four events of 2019 on the city of Milan:

  • Reading in the dark as kick-off of the project at Laboratorio Formentini with Claudia De Lillo (Elasti), Andrea Franzoso (DeAgostini) and Clara Ori (Fondazione LIA), April 17;
  • Reading in the dark in English at Università Bocconi within #Bookcity19 with Richard Greenslade and Clara Ori (Fondazione LIA), November 14;
  • Reading in the dark at Università Bocconi within #Bookcity19 with Federica Bosco (Garzanti) and Clara Ori (Fondazione LIA), November 15;
  • Reading in the dark at Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano within Bookcity with Stefania Auci (Nord), Cristina Cassar Scalia (Einaudi), Serena Venditto (Mondadori) and Elisabetta Corradin (Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano), November 16.

In-person training

Based on the experience gained, the project aims to train and inform on digital accessibility in all its components, offering personal services that promote social inclusion and improve the quality of life of people at risk of digital divide: people with visual impairments (blind and visually impaired) and the elderly.

Training for students with visual impairments (blind, visually impaired)

These are some training modules over three days at Istituto dei Ciechi in Milan, designed for blind girls and boys: on 17, 19 and 21 June 2019.
The training course follows a methodology based on the use of mixed techniques. In particular:

  • the first day has a more theoretical approach, with a general presentation of digital reading, tools and the related opportunities in terms of accessibility. This is followed by the presentation of how to use the accessible reading solutions and a first phase where the participants can begin to experiment them;
  • the second day has an entirely hands-on approach (learning by doing) to allow participants to measure themselves in the use of accessible reading solutions and to discuss any difficulties with the trainer and tutor present in the classroom;
  • the third day focuses on detailed in-depth analysis of some specific features: bookmarks, text navigation, purchase and loan.

Training of users at risk of digital divide

Training courses for people at risk of digital divide at Biblioteca Venezia in Milan on September 18 and 20.
The courses for the elderly allow participants to discover the possibilities of accessibility in the field of digital reading in all its forms. The courses are organized within the spaces of a library that wanted to be the spokesperson for the culture of accessibility, promoting the courses among its users.

Accessibility Camp (October 25 2019)

A day completely dedicated to the topic of accessibility for professionals in the publishing world and for content producers. The Accessibility Camp was held on 25 October at the Talent Garden Calabiana in Milan, as part of the MiCA project – Milan for Accessible Culture thanks to the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo, and with the patronage of Regione Lombardia.
The camp is an opportunity for participants to meet experts in the world of digital accessibility, with which to share knowledge, information and experiences through a participatory format. The event aims to offer a moment of study, exchange and discussion on the subject of accessibility between professionals.

The first part of the day is dedicated to speeches given by national and international experts, with and insights into the dynamics and scenarios taking place at a global level. The objective in particular is to try to shed light on what are the possibilities offered by an accessible publication today, in what context – also legislative – content producers operate and what are the areas in which we are still working to achieve optimal solutions.

For the LIA Foundation, the participation of Cristina Mussinelli, Secretary General, Gregorio Pellegrino, Chief accessibility officer, Elisa Molinari, Project manager and Antonino Cotroneo, accessibility expert. In addition, two international guests bring their experience: Avneesh Singh, Chief operating officer of the DAISY Consortium, and Luc Audrain, Head of digitalization of Hachette Livre, with an in-depth analysis of the scenarios in place in the field of accessibility in the publishing world.

In the second part of the Camp, two operational working groups were organized to think together in a deeper and more detailed way on some specific issues. In particular:

  • Accessible mathematics in traditional production processes
  • Reading solutions: platforms and user experience