On the 21st October I presented at the event ‘Audio Description: the Art of Access’ at the Young Vic Theatre. It was very inspiring to be among a group of practitioners and researchers passionate about accessibility and inclusivity. I was particularly fascinated by the workshop on dance description by Bridget Crowley, with Louise Fryer as a respondent. Bridget took us through practical exercises that demonstrated how she familiarises visually impaired audience members with moves that are recurrent in ballet. She demonstrated this with dance moves from Swan Lake! It was great seeing workshop participants get involved and flapping their arms like graceful swans!
Our next stop was on the 29th October in Cambridge to present at the Festival of Ideas. Gavin and I presented the project to the general public by introducing them to the history of Audio Description, its strengths and weaknesses and the importance of embracing diversity within the field of accessibility. For the first time since the start of the project we incorporated a binaural demo to our presentation, in order to demonstrate how the addition of sound effects and spatial audio can be used to provide an accessible version of a film. We are pleased to say that the demo was very well received!
At the start of November I headed over to Berlin for Languages and the Media – the 11th International Conference on Language Transfer in Audiovisual Media. It was exciting to see representatives from the industry (such as Netflix and Deluxe) as well as academics and professionals in the field. It was particularly interesting to learn more about Netflix and accessibility, as well as hearing about projects on Accessible Filmmaking for People with Dual Sensory Impairment (Kate Dangerfield, University of Roehampton) and the use of objects as a supplement to AD (Heike Jüngst, FHWS).
Our final academic event of the year took us to Southampton for the Reproduced Sound conference where I presented the project to experts in the field of audio. The paper we prepared for this event can be accessed through the Publications section. It was encouraging to see that researchers have been focusing on television sound for diverse audiences, especially audience members with hearing impairments. Particularly exciting were the contributions of Lauren Ward from the University of Salford and Peter Mapp (Peter Mapp associates).
As I write this I realise how busy the October and November months were! But the EAD research team has a commitment to the dissemination of the project across diverse audiences so we are very pleased to have had the opportunity to talk at such fascinating events.
Our next event is at York Talks in January 2017. We are presenting as part of a larger event and I’ll be giving a quick overview of the project as well as presenting different versions of accessibility for our short film.