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Taking a LEAD on Professional Development

Charles G. Baldwin, Program Officer

The Massachusetts delegation at the 2019 LEAD Conference
The Massachusetts delegation at the 2019 LEAD Conference

Through the Universal Participation (UP) Initiative we are creating a community of practice that shares knowledge and innovative solutions when identifying and dismantling the barriers to full civic participation. In support of this work, we are providing professional development grants for staff at organizations with UP Designation to attend the Kennedy Center for the Performing Art’s LEAD Conference (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) for its distinctive role as a leader in both effective and emerging practices.

This is the second year we are offering professional development grants to attend LEAD. Here’s what a few of last year’s grant recipients said about the conference:

Having the opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals and network with such a variety of people who are all striving toward the same goal was invaluable. As someone who has only recently become an Accessibility Coordinator and started delving into this world, it was truly awe-inspiring to see hundreds of other people on the same journey. Each workshop offered new insights and helped me to see where I was with my own knowledge and to feel more confident in my ability to advocate within my organization. — Lillian Lee, Cambridge Arts Council.

I found the whole conference experience to be highly enriching. I came away empowered with new language to use in my work and a sense of upcoming trends in the field, such as: digital access, usability vs. access, and offerings for older children and adults with autism. I also found the new attendee pre-conference session to be a really useful way to start the experience. In that session and throughout the conference, I was able to fill in gaps in my knowledge and gain personal contacts meeting colleagues in the field. — Alli Leake, The Discovery Museum.

I felt that it was a highly collaborative setting for the exchange of ideas and best practices among professionals in the field of accessibility and the cultural arts. What the conference offered to each attendee is a chance to explore and create a vision of the world that can and should value accessibility and inclusion, as it relates to our own unique positions in the organizations we represent. — Dori Legge, Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.

The application deadline is March 17, 2020. Questions? Contact Charles Baldwin.

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