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Open source toolkits for the arts such as p5.js play a critical role in promoting software literacy and arts literacy; they are fixtures in educational spaces, having supported millions of students to get started in arts, open-source, and technology fields. Among these tools, p5.js is at the forefront of making concepts and tools accessible and available to people who are historically and systemically excluded from technology and the arts.
p5.js aims to model what it means to be a more accessibility-aware open source community. In 2019, we made the decision that “p5.js will not add any new features except those that increase access.” The p5.js community has made strides toward making learning how to code more inclusive, through the development of accessible creative-coding tools and learning resources, and a more accessibility-aware open source community. Our aim as a community is not only to promote and incorporate established best practices, but push the bounds of accessibility and creative practice.
The p5.js community published a statement about its focus on access in mid-2020 as a guiding document. Access can take many forms. It can mean providing accessible tools for creating accessible works on the web, investing in robust documentation offered in many languages, staying free of cost for non-commercial use, highlighting the work of marginalized people in the project, and more.
Access here means making p5.js better for:
Our group discusses access in Open-Source Software Toolkits for the Arts (OSSTA), like p5.js, Processing, openFrameworks, Cinder, three.js, and more. This discussion will provide space for contributors and users of p5.js and practitioners from outside OSSTA projects to share their knowledge, perspective, and dreams for building greater access to technical and arts spaces with the public.
We invite you to join us in exploring these and other issues in accessibility, with these questions in mind: