Jim Byrne is an accessible website design specialist who’s been designing websites, auditing website accessibility, and providing training for over a quarter of a century. He’s one of few people who have been around long enough to have done every task related to web design: installing, configuring and managing operating systems; installing web servers and software; writing CGI scripts; and hand-coding HTML, including one of the world’s first content management systems.
Jim was Founder of the not-for-profit Making Connections Unit—one of the UK’s first web accessibility consultancies. As Director of the Guild of Accessible Website Designers, he gave feedback on the WCAG 2 guidelines. He’s also a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).
He’s authored numerous publications, training courses and e-books, including Standards for Disability Information and Advice Provision in Scotland co-written with Eva Bolanders; Twitter for Charities, Non-Profits and the Voluntary Sector with Jeremy Webb, the Guild of Accessible Web Designers accessible web design training course covering every Priority 1 and 2 WCAG checkpoint; and his own 60 Accessible Web Design Tips and Guide to Creating a More Accessible Website.
His accolades include Best Charitable Website Design Specialist 2019, one of NB Magazine’s movers and shakers in e-commerce in Scotland for work in web accessibility, and winner of the Breakthrough Award for The Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living online help service. The Making Connections Unit won an award in the equal access category of the Global Bangemann Award—a challenge by the City of Stockholm for cities of the world to show their finest information technology projects, presented by the King of Sweden.
A former lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, and an experienced trainer, he’s worked with The Wellbeing Initiative—an organisation set up to help disabled people get back into work. Here he became acutely aware of the extent to which disabled people were discriminated against, which has had an impact on his work since. Jim and Blue Moon MD Joanna Abeyie share a passion for inclusion, diversity and equality, believing a world that takes advantage of everyone's talents will be a better world to live in.
Eleanor Lisney is a campaigner, activist, access adviser and public speaker. Born in Malaysia and now based in London, she came to the UK to study, undertook graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and has also lived in Strasbourg, France as a full-time mother. She enjoys cooking and gardening as a wheelchair user, and she’s an aspiring creative practitioner.
She’s a Co-founder of Sisters of Frida experimental collective of disabled women, and of Culture Access Community Interest Company.
She’s a previous trustee of NAWO (National Alliance of Women’s Organisations)—an alliance of diverse membership organisations and individuals working for and passionate about women's empowerment. Currently, she’s a trustee at both Disability Arts Online and the Liberty Festival Advisory Group.
She’s an Advisor at The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC). This global social impact consultancy is committed to enabling clients to better understand their impact, to innovate and scale, and to influence systemic social change, whilst specialising in social impact measurement, social investment and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, amongst other bespoke service offerings for clients.
Linton has worked in the arts for over 15 years and consequently has a broad, interdisciplinary skillset and knowledge.
He trained at the Royal Northern College of Music for both undergrad and postgrad, then for a further year in Germany honing his craft. He now works primarily as a freelance bassoonist with some of the UK’s leading professional orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic, Aurora Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North, English National Opera, English National Ballet and many others. He’s also a member of Chineke! Ensemble—Europe’s only majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra.
Linton works regularly as a broadcaster and presenter for BBC Radio 3, hosting the show Sounds Connected and podcast Classical Fix, as well as other programmes. He recently assumed the role of mentor for the Open Music scheme within the BBC, which oversees the development of new talent within the organisation.
He’s worked voluntarily with the Musicians’ Union as a member of their Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee for over six years, and currently sits as Chair of this committee, overseeing lobbying around issues to do with access and diversity within the music industry as a whole.
Under his leadership within the MU, the committee has managed to achieve:
• An increase in members from marginalised demographics in network groups.
• Collecting of data and commitment to recruitment of musicians from marginalised backgrounds.
• Resources aimed specifically at and for marginalised groups.
• Anti-racism training and resources widely available for members, and compulsory training for all committee members.
• Mental Health First Aid training for members.
As a consultant, Linton has worked with several organisations both inside classical music and further afield, including Association of British Orchestras, BBC, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, NBC, Magic Light Productions and several others. All of whom have engaged his services running workshops and discussion groups to do with equality. He currently sits on the advisory board for Hal Leonard publishing. Passionate about education and providing opportunities, he’s also a board member for both Chetham’s School of Music and Orion Orchestra.
Linton is experienced in creating bespoke training sessions for organisations large and small. A confident speaker, he’s often employed to chair panels and lead discussions around the subjects of equality, equity, diversity and inclusion. He also works with organisations to find ways to authentically and sustainably incorporate equity, diversity and inclusion into workforce, values, recruitment, and business plans.
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