The Poetry Project


Alt-text as Poetry: A Dis/Course Workshop led by Bojana Coklyat and Finnegan Shannon


Alt-text is an essential part of web accessibility. Alt-text, a short description of an image or gif, is a way of making visual content accessible to blind and low-vision people using screen readers. Alt-text is often disregarded altogether or understood through the lens of compliance, as an unwelcome burden to be met with minimum effort. How can we instead approach alt-text thoughtfully and creatively, while still prioritizing alt-text as an accessibility practice?

This Alt-text as Poetry Workshop, led by the artists Bojana Coklyat and Finnegan Shannon, will start with a 30-minute presentation. Bojana and Finnegan will give some context for the workshop, talk about alt-text as poetry, and share some examples of poetic and creative approaches to alt-text. Next, participants will do two writing exercises to practice describing. For both exercises, participants have the option to work with an image or a sound. For the first one, Bojana and Finnegan will provide an image and sound. For the second exercise, participants will work with an image or sound of their choosing (more about that below). The workshop will do the first exercise all together. For the second, participants will work in small groups.

From Bojana and Finnegan:

What to bring:

For exercise 2, we’ll work with an image or sound of your choosing. It can be saved to your phone or computer (wherever it’s easy for you to reference it). It can be any photo or sound that you have a relationship to.

Sound ideas:

  • A song you’ve been into recently
  • A voice memo of sounds from around your house or your neighborhood
  • A sound from the BBC’s sound effects library (We're fans of the animal category)
  • The intro music from a TV show or an advertising jingle

Image ideas:

  • The last photo on your camera roll
  • The last photo you posted to social media or texted to a friend
  • A photo of an artwork that moved you


We will be collectively crafting access in the workshop in some of the following ways to support Bojana who lives with low vision, and for our collective and various needs:

  • When you first speak, please introduce yourself with your name(s), pronouns, and a description of yourself.
    xxxxxx - For example: “I’m Finnegan. I use they/them pronouns. I’m a white person with buzzed hair. I’m in my 30s. Today I’m wearing a bright blue turtleneck.”
  • When you speak after your introduction, please reintroduce yourself with your name.
    xxxxxx - For example: “This is Finnegan speaking…”
  • Please create ease for yourself. Rest, move, take breaks, leave early — whatever makes you most comfortable during our time together.
  • Everything in the workshop is optional. Feel free to adapt the prompts to suit your interests and desires.
  • Check in with Bojana, and/or Finnegan throughout the workshop as access needs change and/or arise


This event is funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this event do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.