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Contemporary Art Programs /

Serious Play - Lessons in Learning/Unlearning: Alt-Text as Poetry

This workshop will explore how alt-text —an element in web design whose wording often values less creative needs like algorithms and click throughs —can possibly be reframed through poetry writing as a liberatory art practice.


FRI, JUL 19, 2019 | 12:30-2PM




Gallery at BRIC House
647 Fulton Street
(Enter on Rockwell Place)
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
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Image by Christine Butler


Alt-Text as Poetry

July 19, 2019 12:30-2pm


Play has traditionally been understood as an activity of childhood; an essential space that allows children to learn to recognize patterns and systems within our cultures. How does the practice of play transform when it is removed from the confines of recreation and applied to the processes of artistic creation? These events embrace forms of childhood play through the use of experimentation, chance, and failure, and grant us momentary freedom from the restrictive rules and limitations that burden us in our everyday lives. BRIC is proud to present a series of public programs in conjunction with Serious Play: Translating Form, Subverting Meaning where play offers us a space to engage in the difficult issues we face in the 21st-century such as the over-saturation of digital content, overlooked forms of accessibility, and the uncomfortable lexicon of systemic oppression that afflicts African American communities.

Alt-text is an essential pillar in web accessibility. Its primary purpose is to describe images to visitors who are unable to view them; whether because of browsers that block images or because a viewer is blind, has low vision or is unable to process visual information. Alt-text ensures the digital realm is a more equitable and accessible space for all users. 

Led by Shannon Finnegan and Bojana Coklyat, this workshop will explore how alt-text —an element of web accessibility whose wording often values marketing and promotional needs like algorithms and click throughs —can possibly be reframed through poetry writing as a liberatory art practice.

Workshop accessibility info:

The workshop uses a slide presentation. All content from the presentation is read aloud and described. Three of the exercises involve participants describing 8.5 x 11" images. A variety of images are provided with a range of contrast and complexity. The exercises involve writing 2–3 sentences in 5–10 minutes, but participants don't need to finish writing in order to participate in the discussion. One exercise asks participants to use an image from their own phone. If they don't have a phone or have access to images on their phone, participants describe something in the room. 

Large-print worksheets are provided. Participants are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet if they prefer to type or dictate. All workshop materials can be emailed ahead of time upon request by emailing


Accessibility at BRIC:

BRIC is committed to welcoming people of all abilities. The main floor of BRIC House has an accessible entrance on Rockwell Place, in addition to an accessible, all-gender bathroom. Our Community Media Center, located on the 2nd floor, is accessible via elevator. The Gallery level is accessible via a wheelchair lift. 

Portable FM assistive listening devices are available for programs on the Stoop and in the Ballroom upon request. To make a specific access request, or to let us know other ways we can provide you with a welcoming experience, please contact Nia I'man Smith at or (718)683 -5986.

For more information, visit our accessibility page.


This program is a part of the exhibition Serious Play: Translating Form, Subverting Meaning.

EXHIBITION ON VIEW June 27 - Aug 18, 2019
OPENING RECEPTION: Thurs, June 27, 2019 from 7-9PM


Venue Information:

The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators. 

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