4C18 Update - Remote Access Pilot Under Way

There is much to report on this time around. I'm please to announce that we have contracted with Greg Zobel (Western Oregon University) to help us with our remote accessibility pilot this year, as well as help with making other aspects of the convention more accessible, particularly to those convention-goers who cannot make it to Kansas City in March.

Here's the updates.
  1. Collaboration with local activists (Ersula Ore, Victor Del Hierro, Romeo Garcia, David Green). This group is done and has move to help other groups, as needed. 
  2. Technology and Access (F2F and OL) (Stephanie Kerschbaum, Aja Y. Martinez, Bump Halbritter, Casie Moreland, Zan Goncalves, Brenda Brueggeman, Chad Iwertz, Ruth Osorio, Kristen Ruccio, and Dev Bose). NCTE-CCCC has negotiated a contract with Greg Zobel to develop a pilot program and its assessment for virtual access of several major events from the convention and enabling 1 room at CCCC 2018 with accessibility options for remote attendance and participation, as well as developing assessment measures to get feedback on the quality and success of the pilot. I'll say more below about this work. 
  3. Welcoming Companions Project (Al Harahap, Brent Chappelow, Dana Driscoll, Brian Hendrickson, Amy Meckenburg-Faenger, Alisa Russell, Mary Stewart, and Matthew Vetter). This group is currently analyzing the data from the survey, and have determined that there is a need for the program, so it will be offered. Additionally, they have tested several phone apps that look to be useful for this project. 
  4. Donation to Local Movements (Casie Moreland, Kayla Bruce, Jess Boykin, Hillary Coenen, and Kayla Koury). This group is working with and facilitating donations for:  Literacy KCThe Center for American Indian Community HealthBlack Lives Matter, the Black Archives of Mid-America, and Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. The group is also in the process of asking some of the publishers who will be in the expo for help or donations too.  
  5. Letter Writing Campaign (Holly Hassel, Thomas Ferrel, and Daniel Mahala). The Write-In team continues to develop informational materials that will be available for attendees to stop by the Write-In table, learn about local anti-racist activism, and create a postcard or letter to state or local policymakers. They have secured several hundred stamped postcards for this effort. They are meeting next week to review and draft an informational overview of the state-level policy decisions that led to the travel advisory from the NAACP.
  6. Work with Local Committee and Activists on Press Release and Press Coverage (Jessie Moore). Jesse has written a draft of a press release for the convention, and will be sharing that with me for collaboration soon. I also agree with her wish to use social media strategically in order to draw more attention to our SJAC projects. This may, in part, take the form of an additional hashtag linked to place (e.g., #4c18 #KansasCity) or the like.
  7. Preconvention Statement on Actions, Activities (Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia). This is work is done. These members are already in other groups. 
  8. All-Convention Activity (Holly Hassel, Jessie Moore, David Green). We are still gathering volunteers to be table/discussion leaders at the event. Additionally, the deadline for the social justice and activism statements from various folks and the caucus was Sunday, Jan 21. This means soon, that packet of statements will go out to everyone, as a way to begin reflecting on our own work as activist work and CCCC as an conference. 
  9. Program Statement and Cover Art (Al Harahap, Michael Pemberton, and Romeo Garcia). the program statement on the scope of the SJAC work is complete, and will be a part of the chair's letter that goes in the program. Expect that. Also, the cover art for the program is complete. 
  10. Pre- and Post-Workshops Dedicated to Activism and Organizing (Michael Pemberton, Romeo Garcia). The group has just about completed all their work. The final touches on the room arrangements were made this week. 
The biggest item in the above list is #2, and Greg, the NCTE staff, and I have been working daily on planning. While the remote access pilot will be small this year, my hope is that the assessment of it that Greg will provide us will reveal just how sustainable offering a portion of Cs annual convention is moving forward. I can say at this point that it's expensive, very expensive. In short, here's what we plan to do in the time remaining, which is very short. The remote accessibility pilot will consist of the following:

  • Live stream the opening general session, the all-convention event, KC cultural event (recorded only), and the annual business meeting. 
  • Live stream FROM the convention all the sessions/presentations in one, special room that is outfitted with the appropriate technology and technicians, which will also be archived for future access online. This room will have a capacity of about 100 attendees. 
  • Live stream TO the convention several sessions/presentations into the same room. 
Additionally shortly after the convention is over, Greg will provide me a report that assesses the pilot. He will be surveying participants, and gathering deeper information about the experience at the convention through a focus group. The Disability SIG is collaborating with him on the assessment. The biggest challenge, besides the costs of everything, in this pilot is the time we have left before the convention.

Finally, a note about remote presenters, presenters who would like to have their presentations live streamed, and remote convention-goers. Expect to hear from me very soon about your options. Because of the timing, I simply cannot make an open call for anyone who wants to try to deliver their presentation remotely, or offer their in-person presentation remotely at the convention. There are too many moving parts, and it is too late in the game to do that. So I'll be contacting just those I can move around on the schedule and that I think might be able to participate in the pilot. Again, this is due to timing and many other parts that are locking into place as we move quickly to the convention day.

So I'll likely be contacting presenters who have accepted their invitations to present at 4C18 very soon, and ask them to participate in this pilot. If you do not hear from me, it is safe to assume that you are scheduled on the program as a regular presenter, round table, etc. Unfortunately, it does not appear at this point that we can test out these options in a workshop, but I'm still looking into it.