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Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability

In August of 2000, a group of 25 education managers, executive directors, development directors, PR/marketing managers, and house managers – all of whom were responsible for accessibility at their respective cultural arts organization – gathered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. to discuss institutional cultural arts and disability issues. While the level of experience among participants ranged from more than 20 years in the field to less than six months on the job, everyone shared one common goal: the desire to create accessible cultural arts programs that are inclusive of people with disabilities and older adults.

That initial group has now grown into a national professional network of more than 100 organizations focused on expanding the breadth and scope of accessibility services and programming across the country. At the annual conference in 2004, the group adopted the name LEAD – Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability. LEAD’s work is focused on:

- exploring practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments;
- communicating information about arts and accessibility; and
- sharing resources and knowledge among professionals in the field of accessibility.

LEAD accomplishes its objectives through an annual conference, an active communications network, and resources generated by the LEAD network and maintained by the Kennedy Center.

At the 2010 conference in San Diego, CA, Lisa Carling, Director of TDF Accessibility Programs (TAP) and Sarah Aziz, TAP Coordinator, presented two sessions on captioning for the theatre with Tabitha Allum, Chief Executive of Stagetext, London’s premiere captioning company.  Below are links to pdf copies of the materials presented during these sessions.  If you have additional questions about captioning for the theatre, please email