Many people think that the visually impaired have no interest in visiting exhibitions or attending shows and performances. The truth is that the interest exists, the practice as well, but often the experience as complete as it could be because of the absence of audio description.
Here is our work so far
Course: Introduction to audio description techniques – March 2016
A partnership between the British Council and Acesso Cultura, this course defined and discussed the importance of audio description for creating a more inclusive and accessible culture examined how to produce an audio description script adapted to various artistic and cultural events gave trainees the opportunity to work the production and narration of a script .Twenty culture professionals working in museums, monuments, theatres, foundations, as well as actors attended the course
Our trainer, Anaisa Raquel, had the opportunity to travel to the UK and meet with VocalEyes – one of the British experts in audio description – and attend one of their training courses
Seminar with VocalEyes – March 2016
In partnership with Acesso Cultura, and with the support of the Programa Descobrir of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, we organised a seminar on 08 March with VocalEyes looking at their philosophy and their working methods. Twenty eight people from diverse cultural organisations attended the seminar.
Debate: Access to the Arts - a management issue? March 2016; D. Maria II National Theatre
The debate examined the following questions: How to achieve a real breakthrough in the promotion of awareness and practice in the area of accessibility - physical, social, intellectual - if there is no commitment at management level? And what would that commitment look like? Would there be differences in how we promoted access to culture in Portugal and the UK? 100 professionals from diverse cultural organisations looked at access in cultural management and the responsibility of every member of the team, starting from the President of the Board / Museum or Theatre Director etc.
Speakers: Andrew Holland; Roz Chalmers. Andrew was instrumental in setting up VocalEyes in 1998 and spent 10 years as Head of Description. He is a describer, trainer and adviser. He describes regularly at the Royal National Theatre. Roz worked for many years as a lipspeaker for deaf people. She was trained in 2000 and joined the team of audio describers at the Royal National Theatre and now combines that with work for VocalEyes and with Stagetext, a charity providing captions in theatre for deaf people. The discussion panels included the National Theatre, EGEAC – Lisbon’s Municipal Company for Culture), the Sub-Director General of Cultural Heritage (the organisations managing museums and monuments), a disabled artist, as well as VocalEyes and Tate Modern.
Audio description texts – British Council Collection Portugal
In 2016 as part of our work in audio description and accessibility, the British Council invited three of the students that attended the course on audio description to describe the art works from the British Council Collection currently on display in the Lisbon building. These are currently only available in Portuguese. If you would like more details, or you would like to visit the Collection in Lisbon, please contact Isabel Lopes.
More about Arts and Accessibility
We have participated in the Accessibility Week at Gulbenkian Foundation contributing with audio guided tours for visual impaired people.