Early Version of Caption Studies Conference (Dec 2014)

This is presented & preserved strictly for documentation and historical purposes. This is not the official page or post for the conference. Please be sure to go to the Caption Studies Conference page for the most recent information.



Through the end of November and start of December 2015, I have spoken with a number of colleagues–at WOU and beyond–about the possibility of having a conference focused on Caption Studies. Everyone I have spoken to has been enthusiastic, supportive, and engaged. Thus we have moved the planning forward. As of now, early December 2015, things are still very loose and multiple strands are still moving around. If you have ideas, suggestions, or comments, please be in touch.

What follows is a tentative  definition of Caption Studies and a description of the purpose, model, and goals.

What is Caption Studies?*

Caption Studies is an emerging field. To my knowledge, the field was first identified by Zdenek (2015) in Reading Sounds as “a research program that is deeply invested in questions of meaning at the interface of sound, writing, and accessibility” (p. 2). Caption Studies inhabits an intersection of disability studies, rhetoric, and communications. There are also clear relationships to and impacts with multimedia studies, Interpreting, second language learning, D/deaf Studies, composition, educational technology, usability, and technical communication. Caption Studies looks at and analyzes how captions are created, presented, and used by diverse audiences (D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing) for diverse purposes (entertainment, education, training, language learning, etc.) in diverse situations (on TV, online, in the workplace, in the classroom, etc.). Caption Studies is not limited to academic or corporate research; the field is influenced, shaped, and populated by caption users, caption creators, practitioners, caption advocates, scholars, academics, and researchers.

* This is a tentative and fluid definition that will be adjusted and revised as the field matures. Hopefully the conference(s) will elicit additional variations and definitions.


Online conference for 2 days in August: Monday, August 1st, and Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016. Face-to-face conference for two days in late July, 2017, at Western Oregon University.

The online conference will take place from noon through 5 pm PST on both days. Registration (free) will be required in order to participate. This will help us better organize and respond in the future as well as give us a sense of the community participation.

Conference’s Purpose

Rather than lament the flood of bad captions or the dearth of quality captions, we want to promote what is health, interesting, strong, and engaging in the captioning community.

  • establish/initially celebrate Caption Studies as an area of research, advocacy, and practice;
  • provide a space for practitioners, researchers, and advocates to present and share their work where captioning is the primary, instead of being a secondary, focus;
  • connect, network, energize, and build momentum for all of us to promote captioning in our diverse fields;
  • understand, explore, discuss, and advocate for more effective legislation.

Envisioned Constituencies & Participants

  • Caption users
    • Students/learners
      • Language (first and second)
      • Literacy
    • Situationally D/deaf/Hard of Hearing (i.e. viewing TV in a noisy pub or working out in a gym)
    • D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing
  • Caption creators
    • Amateur, academic, professional
    • Universal designers
  • Caption researchers
    • Academic, industry, independent
  • Caption advocates
  • Accessibility and Universal Design practitioners and researchers
  • Anyone curious about captions

Conference Paths

  1. Academic/research
  2. Practitioners
  3. Advocacy

Possible Topics for Presentations

  • Captions and copyright
  • Captioning and disability studies
  • Experimental captioning
  • Captioning as creative or interpretive act
  • Kinetic text in captioning
  • Rhetorical analysis of captioning
  • Meaning construction in captioning
  • Effective captioning advocacy
  • Panel on/by CART captioners on practice & profession
  • Teaching with captions
  • Captioning guidelines
  • Educating and training new captioners on campus
  • DIY Captioning Technology/apps–panel
  • YouTube’s captioning history
  • Captioning hacks
  • Voice writing
  • Building a captions database
  • Caption research tools
  • Enculturating new captioners
  • The joy of indie captions
  • Captioning irony
  • Captioning and second language learning
  • User testing with captions
  • please send other possible ideas!

Presentation formats

Recording with Twitter Chat

Currently we are working with two presentation formats. The first format is where presenters or panels pre-record their presentations or discussion and then host a live Twitter chat during the conference. This is inspired by the work by AxsChat. This allows the presenter time to caption and/or ASL interpret the videos and provide them to us. All of the conference videos will be posted to a conference website a few days before the online conference starts. This will give viewers a chance to watch one or several of the videos before the conference and thereby enable them to participate more fully in the Twitter chats.

The second format will be a live panel. This panel will take place on a platform that is still being determined since, in some cases, we will have panelists from diverse locations. The live panel will also be CART captioned for viewers.

  • Most sessions will run about 60 minutes.
  • There will be 15 minute breaks between sessions.
  • All times mentioned are PST.

Other possible related events for future consideration

  • Mini-caption film festival
  • Extreme caption examples
  • Captioning workshops
  • CART, TypeWell, and C-Print demonstrations
  • Captioning literacy sharing, recording

This page is constantly evolving and developing. If you have ideas or suggestions, please let me know!

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