ABLE Assembly 2025

The Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education (BIAAE) is delighted to announce the 2025 ABLE Assembly: Arts Better the Lives of Everyone conference, which will take place April 1113, 2025. In-person and online attendance options are available. 

Registration will open in the fall of 2024.

The conference registration fee is $125 and includes:

If You Attend in Person: 

  • Sessions at Berklee College of Music in Boston
  • An opening reception on April 11
  • Lunch on April 12 and April 13
  • Access to recorded sessions and supporting materials after the event has concluded
  • Admission to the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education's (BIAAE) Digital Learning Series, 12 monthly webinars and workshops with hands-on teaching strategies that will be offered from May 2025 through April 2026; and 
  • The opportunity to earn 18 professional development points.


If You Attend Online:

  • Livestream access to keynotes and some workshop sessions
  • Access to exclusive curated pre-recorded sessions and supporting materials by luminaries in the field
  • Day-ending synthesis discussions with opportunities to engage with the presenters
  • Admission to the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education's (BIAAE) Digital Learning Series, 12 monthly webinars and workshops with hands-on teaching strategies that will be offered from May 2025 through April 2026; and 
  • The opportunity to earn 18 professional development points.



Full schedules and session information will be posted in February 2025.



Synchronous sessions will be live-captioned and American sign language–interpreted. Asynchronous sessions will be captioned.

Registration will open in the fall of 2024.


Featured Saturday Morning Keynote Speaker: Christopher Hanson

As a conductor, violinist, composer, pedagogue, philosopher, and musicologist, Dr. Christopher T. F. Hanson enjoys working across a number of disciplines to promote the transformative power of the arts. Dr. Hanson holds three master's degrees from Texas State University: in music history, music theory, and music composition. He also holds a Ph.D. in school improvement from Texas State University, as well as a certificate of professional ethics from the Texas State Philosophy program.
Most recently, Dr. Hanson served as an assistant professor of music education at Seattle Pacific University. He has developed and facilitated a number of courses that explore creativity, imagination, and interdisciplinary pedagogy. His research focuses on the transformative power of the arts, student and teacher agency, and the significance of diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and belonging (DEIAB) in education. As a queer scholar, Dr. Hanson uses research platforms to challenge and “queer” professional spaces of teaching and learning, particularly within and through the arts.
Before transitioning to higher education, Dr. Hanson worked as a public school teacher in central Texas for eight years. He designed, implemented, and taught unique curricula for music appreciation, AP music theory, and string orchestra in both middle school and high school. He was recognized with the Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities award in 2015. Hanson played a crucial role in reviving the public school strings program in San Marcos CISD through intense public advocacy for the arts.
Currently, Dr. Hanson serves as the artistic director for Rainbow City Performing Arts (RCPA), and the music director of the Rainbow City Orchestra (RCO). Rainbow City is a nonprofit community music organization that serves and supports the LGBTQIA+ community in greater Seattle through the study and performance of contemporary and historically marginalized composers. More information about the RCO and RCPA can be found at

Featured Saturday Afternoon Keynote Speaker: John Elder Robison


John Elder Robison grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome and was undiagnosed until the age of 40. He has nevertheless lived an incredible life. In his new book Switched On, he describes how a powerful brain therapy has allowed him to sense other people’s feelings and claim a newfound emotional intelligence. A leading voice on autism, he implores audiences to find strengths where others see weaknesses.

Robison is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and one of the founders of the Neurodiversity Program at the school—one of the first of its kind at a major American university. He teaches neurodiversity at the Williamsburg campus and at the Washington, D.C., continuing education facility. He is an active participant in the ongoing discussion of ethical and legal issues relating to autism therapy, services, and intervention. He is particularly interested in improving quality of life for people living with autism today—both autistic people and their family members. He’s been a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and he serves on other boards for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private organizations. He is also a Professor of Practice in the Department of Education at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and the cofounder of the TCS Auto Program, a special education high school program for teens with developmental challenges in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In his younger days, Robison worked as an engineer for KISS and Pink Floyd’s sound company and worked on original electronic games at Milton Bradley. Later, he founded J. E. Robison Service, a restorer of Land Rover, Rolls Royce, and Mercedes motorcars.

Robison’s books, Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Intelligence, Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, and Raising Cubby, are the most widely read accounts of life with Asperger’s in the world. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages, and they are sold in more than 60 countries. Robison has also authored or contributed to over 100 autism-related articles.

Featured Sunday Morning Keynote Speaker: Tony Memmel


Tony Memmel is a singer-songwriter, speaker, and teacher with unique charisma and creativity. Though he was born with one hand, he taught himself to play the guitar professionally by building a special cast that he designed out of Gorilla Tape.

Memmel has spoken and performed in 47 states and 25 countries, and has worked with 16 countries virtually, sharing his music and his message of hard work, determination, and resilience. 

His work ranges from visiting schools, hospitals, and churches, to writing and arranging music for children, composing symphonies, performing in historic concert venues, and helping people with hand and limb differences to develop their own adaptive methods that allow them to make music a part of their lives. 

About the ABLE Assembly


The ABLE Assembly is an exceptional professional development opportunity in the field of arts education and individuals with disabilities, bringing together educators, artists, researchers, policymakers, school administrators, program administrators, and students to share best practices, explore new research, and learn from each other.