An acronym which refers to Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual, while the + represents the countless affirmative ways a person may express their sexuality or gender outside of the heteronormative binary. The 2S (representing Two-Spirit) has been moved to be listed first as a way of recognizing that Indigenous peoples were the first to inhabit our land.

Ableism (ableist)

Discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or people who are perceived to be disabled. Ableism characterizes people with disabilities as inferior by situating those who are able-bodied as the norm. Under this belief system, people with disabilities need to be ‘fixed’ in order to be considered as valued citizens.


An inhabitant or descendent of Acadie. Acadians are descendants of the French settlers who arrived in Acadie in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many Acadians were expelled from their lands in the 1750s after the French lost their colony to the British. Those that hid or returned are the ancestors of the Acadians living in Nova Scotia today. Acadians have a unique culture, a distinct French-Acadian dialect and a rich musical culture that lives on today.


Having the ability to approach or enter a place. This can also refer to information and having the ability to take in and process this information.

Access measures

Tools used to provide greater access during a performance.


An acronym meaning Assigned Female at Birth. This means that when the person was born someone examined their external anatomy and made the judgment that their birth certificate should be marked as female. Note that the sex they were assigned at birth has nothing to do with their gender at all and an AFAB person can identify as any gender.

Aging art

A new art movement that examines how we age, how we change over time, and how we can embrace a more authentic version of ourselves over time. Aging art is a social justice movement that questions how we view our bodies, our identities, and challenges long-held beliefs that the aging body should be hidden away. It challenges us to embrace the changes in our bodies and minds over time rather than feeling shame over them.

Ally (plural allies)

Someone who supports an individual or group facing alienation or hardship, even though they do not belong to that group themselves.


An acronym meaning Assigned Male at Birth. This means that when the person was born someone examined their external anatomy and made the judgment that their birth certificate should be marked as male. Note that the sex they were assigned at birth has nothing to do with their gender at all and an AMAB person can identify as any gender.


A term that refers to taking something that doesn't belong to you and most often refers to an exchange that happens when a dominant group takes or borrows something from a minority group that has historically been exploited or oppressed. This act reinforces stereotypes and contributes to oppression.

Arts coalition

A collection of artists/arts organizations that wish to work together toward the common goal of a more equitable arts community. Often engaged in advocacy work. Coalition members are responsible for the oversight and management of the coalition including but not limited to community engagement, fiscal decision-making, strategy development and implementation, with no single entity having more influence than another.

Arts modalities

A term referring to the many ways of expressing ourselves artistically. In this report, we give examples of some of the dominant performing arts modalities but there are many more examples that are not listed and are equally valid within this conversation.


A person who does not believe in the existence of a god or deities.


A racial and cultural classification based on the person having a highly melanated skin colour.

Blind or partially sighted

Blindness refers to a spectrum of vision loss. A person’s experience of blindness can range from sight loss which interferes with your daily activities to total blindness. Total blindness does not mean that the person sees nothing at all, some people still see changes in light or a haze. Someone who is partially sighted has partial vision in one or both eyes. It is common for a blind person to identify with the Disability community as they do not identify as having their own unique culture and language, but not every blind person will connect with that label.


An economic and political system where the means of production of goods and services are owned and operated by private individuals, with the goal of making a profit.


The text version of audio content in a video, which has been synchronized with the video. Captions are used to make your content more accessible to a variety of users, including those who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, people learning the language, and for neurodivergent individuals.

Chronic illness

A health condition that lasts one year or more, that requires treatment, and may limit daily living activities. Chronic illness is often incurable. Although chronic illness may lead to disability, not everyone with a chronic illness is disabled, and most people with disabilities do not have a chronic illness.


An umbrella term for persons whose gender expression matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. It is disrespectful to use normal or regular to refer to cisgender folks.

Cis-female (Cisgender-female)

A person who was assigned female at birth and their gender identity remains female.

Cis-male (Cisgender-male)

A person who was assigned male at birth and their gender identity remains male.

Closed space conversations

Conversations intended to take place in an environment where only people of a certain identity are invited to participate. Closed space conversations typically happen within groups of underrepresented communities, with the goal of having a space where they can feel safe to share openly without fear of repercussions and without having to explain basic concepts and ideas which are understood within the community.


The practice of domination (often by subjugation) of the people in power over the other people in the area. This often happens by establishing colonies and typically has the goal of economic dominance. Colonizers may impose their language, religion, beliefs, or cultural practices on those with less power. The strongest example of that in our region would be when the European settlers colonized Turtle Island, stealing the land, resources, culture, and language of the Indigenous people in an act of genocide.

Criminalization of our bodies

The process by which previously legal acts and behaviors are transformed into crime. This could take place through societal institutions (including schools), the family, and the criminal justice system, and can occur through direct regulation, such as criminal bans on abortion and same-sex conduct, or through a more gradual change in interpretation.

Crip art

An artistic movement that looks to ‘crip’ the arts by noticing, embracing and leading with the difference and disruption that disability creates within artistic production. This means moving away from requesting inclusion within dominant art practices and institutions, and instead thinking about how these aesthetic markers that often signify and highlight disability and difference can change and unsettle the larger art world.

Cultural identity

The identity or feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of a person’s self-perception. It encompasses nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, cuisine, aesthetics, social class, or any other social group with their own distinct identity.


A term created in the transgender community, which refers to someone’s unused birth name. A deadname should never be used, as it does not match the person’s gender and personal identity.

Deaf art

An art movement that expresses the unique values of Deaf artists. Deaf art has been especially influenced by history, including the negative and oppressive events of the oralist movement. Deaf art represents aspects of Deaf culture, Deaf identity, American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf gain, deafness, hearing loss, oppression, Deaf perspective, Deaf experience, celebration, resistance, and cultural identity. It is separate from the De’VIA (Deaf View/Image Art Movement) although they both act as forms of resistance to the narrow view of the hearing/oratory art world.

d/Deaf or hard of hearing

d/Deaf is defined as a total or partial hearing loss. Traditionally the lowercase deaf refers to the audiological condition of having hearing loss, while the capitalized Deaf refers to the community of people who share a culture and language. People who are Deaf take great pride in their unique culture and as a result, many people from the Deaf community do not identify their deafness as a disability, while others do identify as both Deaf and Disabled.
Hard of hearing refers to a person with mild to moderate hearing loss. They may or may not identify with the Deaf community. People in the Deaf, deaf, and hard of hearing communities may or may not use Sign Language to communicate. Always ask them their identity and respect it.


According to the medical model of understanding disability, a person with a disability is someone who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This definition focuses on what is lacking in the individual and looks to the system to fix it. The social model of Disability says: Disability is caused by the way society is organized, rather than by a person’s differences. It looks at ways of removing physical, attitudinal, communication, and systemic societal barriers so disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives. Disability is not a personal problem or limitation to be overcome by an individual, but rather a failure of society to be inclusive and accessible. Sometimes the word Disability is capitalized and other times it is not. When Disability is capitalized it is an act of reclamation, which acknowledges Disability as a source of diversity that fosters pride, while celebrating that Disabled people have a shared identity, culture, and community. We embrace the strengths that come with being Disabled. When disability is not capitalized it refers to the medical model definition (or diagnosis) of disability or to a disabled person who chooses not to identify with the label of belonging to the community of Disability.

Disability Justice

A movement developed in 2005 by a collective of disabled queer women of color (all part of the Sins Invalid performance company) as a way of establishing civil rights for people with Disabilities. The Sins Invalid catchphrase is, “an unashamed claim to beauty in the face of invisibility”. At its core is the 10 Principles of Disability Justice, which include intersectionality, leadership of those most impacted, anti-capitalist politic, commitment to cross-movement organizing, recognizing wholeness, sustainability, commitment to cross-disability solidarity, interdependence, collective access, and collective liberation. For more information on Disability Justice visit the Sins Invalid website at: 10 Principles of Disability Justice.


The unfair or prejudicial treatment of a person based on the group or class that they belong to, ie. race, age, ability, gender, sexuality, class, etc. Systemic or institutional discrimination also happens. These refer to policies or practices that appear to be neutral but that have discriminatory effects on individuals based on their identity.

Drag art

The art of playing with gender. It is performance art where a person gets to explore and exaggerate various aspects of a gender identity of their choosing.

Drag artist

A person who expresses themselves using the art of drag. They may be a person of any gender and they may be exploring using any gender signifiers and gender roles.

Drag Kings

A person who uses clothing and makeup to explore and often exaggerate male gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes. Drag Kings were traditionally females or AFAB, but today anyone can be a Drag King.

Drag Queens

A person who uses clothing and makeup to explore and often exaggerate female gender signifiers and gender roles for entertainment purposes. Drag Queens were traditionally males or AMAB, but today anyone can be a Drag Queen.

Economic standing

The economic class a person inhabits. This can be measured by their income, occupation, and education.

Elder art

An arts movement that encourages seniors to explore their creativity and to use art as a tool for processing emotion and fostering connections, while maintaining physical ability and mental acuity. These goals promote ongoing active engagement in life while allowing seniors to maintain their voice through art.


An Elder is someone recognised within their community as a keeper of cultural knowledge and are well respected members of an Indigenous community. They lead through example, by living their lives according to deeply ingrained principles, values, and teachings. Although their role varies from one community to the next, Indigenous Elders are deeply committed to sharing their knowledge, providing guidance, teaching others to respect the natural world, and to learning to listen and feel the rhythms of the elements and seasons.


A term that refers to the shared culture or way of life of a group. This shared culture can be marked by its practices, values, beliefs, history, religion, and language.

Fat art

A social justice movement that uses art as a tool to challenge the belief that thin esthetics are the norm and that fat esthetics are undesirable. It strives to show beauty, strength and health in ‘fatness’ and removes stereotypes and social stigmas connected to a larger body type. Fat art also shows the social stigmas and obstacles placed in the way of fat individuals, deemed as unworthy in our society. The Fat art movement has played a role in the fat acceptance and body positivity movements.

Femme performers

Femme is used by people who express themselves in a way that is traditionally perceived as “feminine.” Femme can be used as either a gender identity or as a gender expression.


Society views gender as the societal expectations (gender roles) put on a person based on the way their body is perceived (either masculine or feminine). Some cultures recognize a third gender identity outside of the binary of feminine or masculine. A person’s gender may fall anywhere along this spectrum or may be completely outside it. Where you situate yourself may change or evolve from day to day or over your lifetime. Gender includes the ways you understand your physical body, the way you experience your inner thoughts, and the ways you express yourself to the outside world. Gender is how we experience ourselves.


Gendered refers to having certain attributes, characteristics or expectations assigned to a particular gender.

Gender expression

External; how an individual chooses to express their gender to the world around them, ie. through appearance, style, and behaviour. Please note that although these tools can be used to express gender, they do not necessarily have a specific gender attached to them. For example, makeup can be worn by a person of any gender. This means that a person’s gender identity can sometimes inform a person’s gender expression, but a person’s perceived gender expression does not dictate their gender identity.

Gender identity

Internal; the personal understanding and experience of an individual’s own gender. Everyone has a gender identity; for some, it matches the sex they were assigned at birth, while for others they are incongruent.


Genderqueer identity is open to anyone who “queers” gender. This means anyone who does things that are outside of the norm of their actual or perceived gender identity. It can also refer to a gender identity where the person falls outside of, falls in between, or fluctuates along the many gender categories. People who are genderqueer often experience their gender as fluid, meaning it can shift and change at any given time.


The intentional, systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race.


The process of changing the character of a community through an influx of more affluent individuals.

Government supports

Funds provided to an individual by the government with the intention of allowing them to cover their most basic living expenses. These funds have strict rules for qualification and how they can be spent.

Hearing Interpreters

A hearing interpreter is any ASL interpreter who is able to hear. Hearing interpreters may work alone or alongside a d/Deaf interpreter to interpret as a team. Some people believe that the use of a d/Deaf and hearing interpreter team increases the level of accuracy in the overall transmission of information.


The assumption that being cisgender or heterosexual is the norm, and anything that exists outside of that is strange or wrong.


An acronym for Indigenous, Black, and People of Color. Please note IBPOC should not be used indiscriminately when actually referring to a single community within. The acronym BIPOC is still used, but many prefer to show respect to the Indigenous peoples who were the first to inhabit this land.


The action or state of including or being included and fully welcomed in a group.


A term referring to the very first people to inhabit the land. In the case of Nova Scotia, this would be the Mi’kmaq people.


The process of embedding some conception (for example a belief, norm, social role, particular value or mode of behavior) within an organization, social system, or society as a whole. The term may also be used to refer to committing a particular individual or group to an institution, such as a mental or welfare institution. The term may also be used in a political sense to apply to the creation or organization of governmental institutions or particular bodies responsible for overseeing or implementing policy, for example in welfare or development.

Intersections of identity

Social identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, and ability overlap with one another and with systems of power within our community. When viewed through the lens of power, oppression, and marginalization these multiple identities overlap and amplify the effects felt by the person. This means that a Disabled Black woman is likely to face discrimination from the Disability community because they do not understand her Black identity.


The original name given to Halifax by the Mi’kmaq people, as the original caretakers of this land. K'jipuktuk means Great Harbour and is pronounced ‘che-book-took’. It is important to note that this land was never given or purchased but rather it was stolen from the Mi’kmaq people and is still governed by the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1752.

Lived experience

Refers to an element of a person’s identity that they have first-hand knowledge or expertise through years of living with that particular identity.

Mad arts

Artistic expression based on the principles of the Mad Pride movement, focusing on the history, identities, and expression of Madness. The Mad Pride movement celebrates the strengths of any mind that does not function in a normative way and creates space for the various experiences of psychological and emotional difference. Mad art is a form of resistance and of social justice.


The Indigenous peoples who inhabit Mi’kma’ki. The Mi’kmaw people are the original caretakers of the land on which we live. They signed the Treaties of Peace and Friendship in 1752 between the Mi’kmaq nation and Britain. This was an agreement meant to govern how the two would live peacefully alongside one another and outline fishing, hunting, and trading rights. Unfortunately, the settlers decided not to honour their agreement and instead have spent the past several hundred years attempting to exterminate the Mi’kmaw people. The history and culture of the Mi’kmaw people are passed between generations as an oral history told through legends and stories. As a result, the Mi’kmaw have a rich and unique history of music, storytelling, and dance as well as having many talented visual and tactile artists. The population of Mi'kmaq speakers is decreasing with most speakers being the elders of the communities.


Intentionally or unintentionally using the incorrect pronoun or gender when referring to a person or using language to describe that person that does not align with their affirmed gender.

Mutual aid

Mutual aid is an organisational model where voluntary, collaborative exchanges of resources and services for common benefit take place amongst community members to overcome social, economic, and political barriers to meeting common needs. This can include resources like food, clothing, to medicine and services like breakfast programmes to education. This system of care often happens in underrepresented communities that are not receiving the supports they need in established systems.


The act of meeting people and exchanging ideas with others working within your field, with the purpose of making connections that could lead to artistic collaboration.


An umbrella term used when someone’s brain does not function in a typical or normative way. This used to be seen as an illness or a problem but now our society is starting to realize that these differences come with advantages, allowing them to realize that the person does not need to be fixed. Common types of neurodivergence are autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, down syndrome, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, epilepsy, depression, and anxiety.

Newcomers to Turtle Island (Canada)

Immigrants or refugees who have arrived in Canada during the last five years.


Identifying with a gender between or outside of the gender binary (the normative notion that there are only two genders, that of male or female).


An umbrella term for persons whose gender identity/expression does not conform to that typically associated with the gender they were assigned at birth.


When a person or group in a position of power controls the less powerful in cruel, unjust, and discriminatory ways. These systems of oppression are built on a combination of prejudice and institutional power.

Othering (Othered)

The act of labeling someone as different or not fitting in with the norms of the social group. Othering is when you look at someone and conclude that they ‘are not like you’ or ‘are not one of us’. When an individual is othered it fosters discrimination or prejudice. When applied to a group of people it can serve to dehumanize them and is often used as a tool to take away their rights.

Poverty line

The estimated minimum level of income required for a person to meet their basic needs.

Power dynamics

The unwritten rules navigating how we engage or interact with one another given the various levels of power they are assigned based on their position within a system or organization. This power is not inherently good or bad, but it can be abused by those with more power.


A right or special advantage granted to some people but not others based on their identity. This is not an advantage that someone asks for but rather society’s biases decide that one person is good, and the other is bad based on a single characteristic. They then reward this goodness with benefits or punish those with the undesirable identity. Often privilege is rewarded with not having to consider the discrimination other groups face every day. For example, my white privilege means I do not have to worry about being murdered when I am stopped by a police officer.


To be queer is to exist in a way that may not align with heterosexual or homosexual norms. Although it’s typically used to describe a person’s sexual orientation, it can also be used to express a nonbinary gender identity. Although historically used in a derogatory word to attack gay or lesbian people, Queer has now been reclaimed and used with pride to celebrate one’s strengths and uniqueness as a non-heteronormative individual or community.

Queer art

An umbrella term for any art that draws on 2SLGBTQIA+ imagery or issues. Queer art is a form of resistance to society’s rigid norms around gender, sex, and sexuality. The art itself may examine subjects of queerness or it may simply be queer art because it was created by a queer artist.


A categorization where humans are divided into groups based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry.

Racism (racist)

The prejudice, discrimination, and hatred of people of color based on the incorrect assumption that they inherit distinct characteristics and abilities that distinguish them as inferior, and the socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.

Sanism (sanist)

An irrational prejudice against people with mental illness or other forms of neurodivergence. A belief that those with neurodivergent minds are inferior to those with neurotypical minds. Also known as ‘mental health discrimination’ of ‘mental health stigma’.


The practice of taking an active role in the process of taking care of one’s well-being, physical, mental, and emotional health.

Sensory overload

A state of excitation, where one or more of your senses takes in more information from your environment than your brain can process, leading to over-stimulation. This may appear as frustration or be read as an outburst. Using sensory toys can help calm a person when in a state of sensory overload.

Service animal

An animal who has undergone specialised training in order to perform specific tasks that support the disabled person they are assisting.

Sexism (sexist)

Discrimination, prejudice, or devaluation based on a person's sex or gender. It is linked to stereotypes and gender roles and includes the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to all others.


The ways in which a person or people experience or express themselves sexually. This can encompass gender and sexual expression (outward expression of self), gender and sexual identity (inward understanding), kink practices, etc.


An Indigenous traditional spiritual ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of a person or space. Smudging involves four elements: the first element is typically a shell (representing water), the second is the sacred plant, white sage (representing Mother Earth), the third element is the fire, and the fourth element is the smoke (representing air).

Social class

A grouping of people within society who have similar socio-cultural aspects to their life. Some examples are the lifestyle, behaviors, and knowledge that a person is socialized to adopt in their formative years.


To treat someone unfairly and to mark them with shame or to discredit them based on a perceived assumption connected to some element of their identity.

Systemic racial discrimination

Systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage people based on their race.


The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic attempt to be inclusive of underrepresented groups by recruiting a person from a minority group without making the effort to educate yourself. Including a single member of the group to give the appearance of equality.

Transgender (Trans)

An umbrella term for persons whose gender identity/expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. A person who identifies with a sex other than the one assigned at birth. The term transgender refers to people whose gender identity (the sense of gender that every person feels inside) or gender expression is different from the sex that was assigned to them at birth. At some point in their lives, transgender people decide they must live their lives as the gender they have always known themselves to be, and often transition to living as that gender.


A term used within Indigenous communities that encompasses cultural, spiritual, sexual and gender identities. The term reflects the complex understanding of gender roles and spirituality in Indigenous culture. Two-Spirit people embrace both their feminine and masculine spirit and were considered blessed by the creator to be able to see through the eyes of both genders, as well as being known in some tribes as the balance keepers. They were often entrusted with honoured roles as healers and counselors within their community.

Underrepresented artists

Any artist whose identity lacks representation in their art form. Underrepresented artists often face discrimination and systemic barriers to success, and are required to do additional work to reach the same milestones as the average artist without that same identity.

Underrepresented communities

A group that is a subset of the population that does not have equal rights or privileges as the greater population.


The historically held, institutionally perpetuated, racist belief that white people are inherently superior to other races and deserve to dominate them. This term refers to political and socio-economic systems where white people enjoy structural advantages and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not.


Work that is not fully developed or has not reached the creator’s end goal.


Presenting a performance of a creative idea, using group discussion and improvisation to flesh out and test aspects of the production before a formal staging

Turtle Island

The Indigenous name for the land settlers have called North America. Note that Canada is located on stolen lands and the Canadian government, who currently decides who is welcome and who is not, took power by force and with violence, as they did not have ownership of the land or the right to govern over it. The ‘lowercase movement’ is rejecting all symbols of hierarchy by not using capitalization except to acknowledge the Indigenous struggle for recognition. Those embracing the movement feel that by capitalizing canada, you are celebrating a government that ordered the genocide of thousands of its own people while imprisoning the rest and removing their language.

Access2 Card

A program designed by Easter Seals Canada, where a person requiring assistance can register for the Access2 card. They are then able to show their card at any registered venue to receive a complimentary ticket for their companion when they purchase a ticket for themselves. For more information on the Access2 program visit: www.Access2Card.ca.

Access and Inclusion Rider

A document that outlines all the access needs and/or standards of inclusion and education that you require of the organization you are working with, so that an artist can be comfortable, safe, and focus on their work.

Accessibility Audit

A thorough, professional evaluation of how well your venue/policies/digital meet the needs of people with disabilities. This information is useful for infrastructure upgrades, and so folks can make informed choices about what events and spaces they can participate in and support.

Accessibility Consultant

An individual with lived experience and/or specialized training in the field of accessibility needs. This person will work with your organization to understand your goals and advise how best to meet the accessibility needs of your audience, performers and staff based on where you are in your learning process.

Accessibility Guide

A document created to outline the ways your organization is working to become more accessible and inclusive and to list the access measures available for that specific event.

Accessibility Plan

A document that outlines the timeline and steps your organization plans to take to better meet the accessibility needs of your audience, performers, and staff. Your accessibility plan should cover the current production while also looking to the future.

Accessibility Video

A video created to show audience members what to expect when they arrive at the venue. This video will give visual and verbal descriptions of the space as well as provide any warnings of elements or subject matter that may be problematic.

Accessible washrooms

A washroom designed to meet the access needs of a person with a physical, visual, or sensory disability. All accessible washrooms should be tested by an accessibility advisory or by several members of the Disability community, following the accessibility guidelines in the building code is not enough.

Active Listeners

A person trained in a way of listening using verbal and nonverbal messages and responding to that person with the goal of improving mutual understanding. Active listeners will give their full focus and attention to a person and will then confirm the messages they received by repeating them to the speaker. They may sometimes provide further resources if needed.


Text that briefly describes an online image. This text is used by blind or partially sighted individuals (who might be using screen readers) to understand what is happening in an image, or by everyone when an image does not load. For more resources to understand alt-text and how it differs from image descriptions visit the Instagram account @Higher_Priestess.

American Sign Language Interpretation

A visual language that serves as the predominant sign language of Deaf and hard of hearing communities in anglophone Canada (note there are other types of sign language including Maritime Sign Language, used by some here in Nova Scotia). The shape, placement, and movement of the hands as well as facial expressions and body movements all play important parts in conveying information and meaning. ASL has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, but the grammatical structure and syntax differ from English. Like all languages, ASL grows and changes over time.

Anti-Oppression Training

A form of education that examines an anti-oppressive framework. This means that we recognize the oppression that is built into our systems and institutions and challenge inequalities and injustices that allow one group to dominate over another. Anti-oppression training introduces concepts of power and privilege, while teaching the difference between equity and equality. An anti-oppressive framework allows us to understand our place within these systems, question our practices, and create new approaches that counter oppression and move us closer to reconciliation and decolonization.

Assistive Listening Devices

Hear Better in Conversations
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are personal technologies that can help you communicate in one-to-one conversations. They are hand-held amplifiers with microphones that bring the sound you wish to hear closer to your ears. These small devices capture the sound you want to hear and may filter some background noise. There are other personal devices, such as wireless FM devices and propriety devices that are sold by audiologists as ancillary equipment to various brands of hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Audio Description

A form of enhanced narration used to provide information surrounding key visual elements, such as scene changes, settings, costumes, physical movement, and more. It is often described as speaking pictorially. Used to "fill in the gaps" for those who cannot see the content.

Babes in Arms Policy

A policy that outlines the rules in a space for bringing children who are too young to walk or sit by themselves to a performance


A form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips.


The practice of writing phrases without spaces or punctuation, indicating the separation of words with a single capitalized letter. Used as an access measure when writing hashtags, to allow screen readers to differentiate between words.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)

The live, word for word translation of speech and sound into text, which allows a person who is d/Deaf or hard of hearing, people learning the language, as well as neurodivergent individuals to follow what is being said aloud. CART is a service where a specially trained stenographer listens to what is being said and types it, so it can be read on-screen (also known as real-time stenography).

Community Consultant

Community members with lived experience who are paid to offer knowledge and experience to the organization that hired them. Community consultants will use their knowledge and understanding of their community to guide decision making.


The care for children provided or subsidized by the organization while parents are at work, participating in, or watching a performance.

Closed Captions

Time Synchronized text that reflects the audio track and can be read while watching visual content. Closed Captions are in the same language as the audio.

Collective Agreement

A written contract between the organization/employees/contractors that outlines the terms and conditions of employment.

Communication Boards

A picture symbol board that can be used to facilitate communication. The pictures on the board will enable a person to make comments, requests, or give direction without the need for verbal communication. Communication boards are traditionally used by members of the autism community and by people who are non-verbal, although they have many other uses, such as for individuals who do not speak the language or for patrons with anxiety.

Companion Ticket

A free ticket offered to the companion of a ticket buyer who requires support to navigate the space and support their needs during the performance.

Content Notices/Warnings

Verbal and written notices that warn of potentially sensitive content within the material. It is best for these to be identified with approximate time stamps of the sensitive content so those engaging with it can prepare themselves to adequately engage or disengage for their own well-being.

d/Deaf interpreter (DI)

A d/Deaf interpreter (DI) is an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing and possesses excellent communication skills in both ASL and English. They have been trained in interpreter ethics and may also have specialized communication training in use of gesture, mime, drawings, and matching sentence structure and language of the deaf person they are interpreting. The DI also has an extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness and of Deaf culture. Some people believe that the use of a d/Deaf & hearing interpreter team increases the level of accuracy in the overall transmission of information.

Disability Awareness Training

Disability awareness training is a type of education that helps companies, leaders, and teams understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities in order to improve accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.

Feedback Surveys

A process used to identify or measure the happiness and satisfaction of employees and/or audience.

First Aid Kits

A first aid kit or medical kit is a collection of supplies and equipment used to give immediate medical treatment, primarily to treat injuries and other mild or moderate medical conditions.

Flexible Schedules

A flexible schedule is a work structure where employees create their schedules without location and time constraints, which is typical of traditional work schedules. Employees can find a work-life balance with a flexible work structure, as this schedule considers their personal life.

Gender Inclusive Washrooms

Washrooms that anticipate and accommodate the needs of members of all genders and where individuals of any gender can feel comfortable and safe.

Image Description

Detailed explanations of an image that provides textual information to describe visual images to a person who is blind or partially sighted. When using Image Descriptions to describe art we can use a little more creativity than with typical image descriptions, and it provides another layer of artistic expression for the artist. For more information on Image descriptions visit the Higher Priestess Instagram account at: @Higher_Priestess.


A person hired to facilitate communication and who works to ensure that both parties feel their needs are being heard and respected.

Intimacy Coordinator

An intimacy director or coordinator is a choreographer, an advocate for actors, and a liaison between actors and production for scenes that involve nudity / hyper-exposed work, simulated sex acts, and/or intimate physical contact.

Land Acknowledgement

A statement that a non-Indigenous person or visiting Indigenous person gives to recognize and honor the land they are working on and the Indigenous people who are the caretakers of the land.

Language Legend

A legend that outlines the level of language comprehension a person would need to follow the performance.

Large Print Format

Large print documents are clear easy to read print documents without images and may aid readability

Latecomers Policy

A policy put in place if someone arrives late to the theatre. Latecomers policies should be posted in advance to adequately prepare audiences before they arrive to the theatre. Latecomers policies can include allowing those to their seats at any time, allowing those in at a suitable break, allowing those in at the end of the act.

Live Streaming

Transmit or receive live video and audio coverage over the internet

Mask Policy

Mask policies should be clearly posted so people can decide if a space is safe for them to participate in. Masks Recommended and Mask Mandatory policies are the most accessible options for all to be able to participate

Mental Health First Aid

A training program to prepare individuals to help you give to someone developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.

Mental/Health Support/Resources

Variety of hotlines, online information services, mobile apps, and even video games available to help people cope with mental illness.


A relationship between two people where the individual with more experience, knowledge, and connections is able to pass along what they have learned to the person with less experience.


The use of a microphone helps to stabilize a presenters volume and significantly improves the function of a hearing aid. This helps not only those in the hearing loss community, but also removes barriers for people who have trouble processing and understanding.

Mobility Devices

Assistive devices used to enhance a person’s level of mobility. These are tools that add to their quality of life rather than ‘binding’, ‘confining’, or ‘limiting’ them.

Naloxone Kits

A kit containing Naloxone, which acts as an opioid antagonist, meaning it can be administered during an opioid overdose to temporarily reverse the effects so that treatment can be sought.

No Flash Photography
Open Captions

Open Captions are always in view for everyone and cannot be turned off.

Accessible Parking

A parking space that is clearly identified as reserved for use by a person with a disability and meets the local government requirements.

Pay What You Can

A pricing strategy where consumers can pay what they are able to pay. A recommended price can be available but options should range from $0 to offer a fully accessible option.

Priority Seating

A section of seating reserved for those with specific access needs. Priority could be chosen based on sightlines, proximity to the ASL interpreters, or because it is easily accessed by mobility device users and by service animals.

Preferred Pronouns

Refers to the pronoun that a person prefers to be associated with. The sharing or display of pronouns as a way to show others that they will respect everyone’s pronouns; in other words, displaying their pronouns is a way to let others know (especially LGBTQ+ folks) that they will create a safe space for any LGBTQ+ folks around them. If you are unclear about a person’s pronouns, ask them and then make a conscious effort to learn and use them. If you want to learn more, check out this website, or try out the Pronoun Dressing Room online.

Quiet Space/Sensory Rooms

A room designed to diminish the amount of sensory input a person is taking in. A person can visit the room when they are feeling sensory overload or to prevent themselves from reaching the point of sensory overload. Sensory rooms have lower lighting, less background noise, comfortable places to sit, and provide sensory kits which can be used to calm the person’s mind.

Relaxed Performances

A performance adapted to suit the needs of those who prefer a more relaxed performance style. This includes an invitation to move around freely and vocalise as needed. Sound cues are lowered, house lights are raised, and there are warnings provided for any sudden or startling actions. There is also a sensory or calm room and advanced introductions to actors and their characters.


The length of time a performance runs from start to finish. The runtime includes any breaks, but we suggest letting patrons know when the scheduled breaks will take place during the show.

Scent Free

A policy which prohibits the use of scented products within the building at any time, including cleaning products.

Sensory Kits

A kit made up of items that can be used to calm a person when they are in a state of sensory overload. This may also be known as ‘stim kits’ and ‘stim toys’ (abbreviation for stimulation).

Service Animals

An animal who has undergone specialised training in order to perform specific tasks that support the disabled person they are assisting.

Shadow Casting

This is when a second cast will accompany the principal cast and perform each character’s voiced text in ASL.

Sharps Container

A hard plastic container that is used to safely dispose of hypodermic needles and other sharp medical instruments.

Sighted Guide

A person with specialized training who can safely guide a blind or partially sighted person through an unknown environment. They use both physical guiding techniques as well as verbal description of where an item is situated when the team is standing still.

Tactile Elements

Elements designed for audience members to interact with and touch before/during/after a performance to enhance teh understanding or experience of a piece.

Touch Tour

A touch tour is usually held before an Audio-Described performance of a theatre production to provide context about the show and to allow blind and partially sighted members of the audience to familiarise themselves with the design of the space, costumes and props ahead of the show itself.


A text version of all spoken dialogue, lyrics, and any non-speech audio information, so that the written copy can be followed along with the live action. Transcripts should be available in hard copy when possible and should be shared in PDF format and in a text only Word Doc format.


Proximity to public transportation. Consider routes from transit stops to venue - path, curb cuts, wayfinding, cross walks, advertised on website in written and video

Vibrotactile Technology

The perception of vibration through touch. Vibrotactile perception can be used either as an accessibility measure as a substitute for other senses or to enhance the information provided through your other senses.

Video Description

An auditory description of visual elements and the action in a video so that those who are blind or partially sighted can follow the action as it happens. These descriptions are interspersed amongst any dialogue happening in the video.

Visual Description

An auditory self-description of your appearance and the clothing you are wearing, given when you first begin speaking (during a meeting or for any online content) so that those who are blind or partially sighted have an understand of what you look like. Elements to include may be your gender, approximate age, hair colour and length, skin tone, eye color, facial shape, a description of the clothing and glasses you are wearing, and any important elements from your background. You do not have to describe all these elements, but it is important to describe elements that are meaningful to your identity.

Visual Storytelling

A story told primarily through visual elements, using a series of messages like graphics, images, pictures, or videos. Visual storytelling is an additional tool which can be used to describe the story of your performance to your audience. This tool reduces your reliance on language comprehension and allows you to be more creative in your storytelling.

Waste Baskets

A place for garbage should be provided in each bathroom stall.

Sensory warnings - Strobe, smoke, loud sounds, haze, fog

Verbal and written notices that precedes potentially overstimulating sensory experiences within the material. It is best for these to be identified with approximate time stamps so the sensitive content is identified and those engaging with it can prepare themselves to adequately engage or disengage for their own well-being. Overstimulating sensory experiences can involve, scents, loud sounds, whispering voices, strobe lights, harsh lighting, fluorescent lighting, haze, fog, smoke, physical interaction and more.


The use of signage, colour, and other design elements to help navigate a space.

Wellness/Access Forms

An opportunity for new employees to disclose their health/wellness/care/access needs