Are you getting the full picture?
London Sight Loss Council invited blind and partially sighted people to their ‘Are you getting the full picture?’ event. An exciting evening to learn more about and experience audio description (AD) at The Postal Museum in London.
The event was designed for people who have never experienced audio description to learn more and find new ways to participate in arts, culture, and sport.
There was a fantastic line up of guest speakers working in TV, film, theatre, museums and galleries, and premier league football. Each presenter discussed AD in their field. It was immediately apparent how committed everyone was in ensuring blind and partially sighted people can enjoy all areas of entertainment.
Image shows Jonathan Abro, event organiser, addressing the audience
Matthew Cock, Chief Executive at VocalEyes, started the evening by giving an overview into their work. This support and training is offered by VocalEyes to many organisations.
Jess Beal, Marketing and Audience Manager at VocalEyes, discussed AD in theatres, sharing her love of theatre ‘touch tours’.
Jonathan Penny, Access Services Manager at Channel Four, went on to discuss AD in TV, touching upon the future of AD. He also discussed his ongoing work with brands to ensure commercials are inclusive and accessible.
Sonia Castelo Branco, Accessibility Lead at Motion Picture Solutions, gave a fascinating insight into the work involved in adding AD to film. One focus is getting under-represented groups into their AD team.
Jon D, Disability Access Manager at Arsenal FC, talked about AD at football matches, explaining that all premier league clubs offer AD. Most clubs also offer a downloadable, audio described match-day programme.
Dr Rachel Hutchinson, Westminster University, closed by discussing her research into the many facets of AD and the limitless scope for the future.
Attendees also took part in an audio described tour of the museum and rode on the museum’s Mail Rail – an underground railway which was used to transport mail between sorting offices.
Image shows an attendee on the Mail Rail ride
Jonathan Abro, London Sight Loss Council member and event organiser, said:
“This event had a panel of fascinating speakers. The Postal Museum made for a fantastic evening which everyone thoroughly enjoyed! What was so wonderful is how we all learnt something new about audio description, and that new friends and contacts were made during the evening.
“Having such great professionals advocating across a wide variety of entertainment gives me hope for the future of audio description. I think it will keep getting better and more widely available. I am delighted to have organised and hosted such an engaging, educational, and brilliant evening!”
Sonia Castelo Branco, Accessibility Lead at Motion Picture Solutions, said:
“It was so wonderful to meet everyone who came to the event and to hear about their experiences of audio description in the cinema. When done well, audio description has the power to give you ‘the full picture’. It allows you to be a part of the conversation about all the wonderful films that are being released.”
Image shows an old Royal Mail postal carriage. Photo credit Vicky Blencowe
Jon D, Disability Access Manager at Arsenal FC, added:
“It was a great opportunity to showcase audio description within football and some of the work we are doing at Arsenal for our blind and partially sighted fans.”
Jess Beal, Marketing and Audience Manager at VocalEyes, said:
“It was a fantastic event with so many blind and partially sighted people finding out more about audio description. It’s so important to have the choice of audio description to enable blind and visually impaired people to enjoy all their leisure activities equally. It was so great to hear from many people all working to make this happen!”
Jonathan Penny, Access Services Manager at Channel Four Television Corporation, said:
“It was great to explain television audio description for people new to it. It was also both rewarding and constructive to have discussions with experienced users. Judging from the fascinating insights from my fellow panellists, the practice is in safe hands. I look forward to seeing how this distinctive and vital service continues to go from strength to strength.”
Image shows the old postal workers coats and caps hanging up
Sonali Rai, Broadcast and Audio Description Manager, Media and Culture Team at RNIB, was unable to join us in person but added:
“It’s encouraging to see everyone working together to develop new styles of audio description, to make media content more accessible and enhance the viewing experience. Audio description is not an optional track for people who rely on it to enjoy content.”
Dr Rachel Hutchinson, Psychology, School of Social Sciences at University of Westminster, said:
“Thank you to London Sight Loss Council for hosting this fantastic event on audio description and bringing together people with a shared interest and passion for AD. I am looking forward to future discussions and collaborations with the people I had the opportunity to meet.”
Image shows multiple ‘Penny black’ stamps with Queen Victoria’s head on them
Feedback from attendees was positive
“I was delighted to hear so many speakers describe how AD is now considered part of the package in delivering stage, screen, and sporting content. It shows that AD is no longer in its infancy but has come of age, ready to explore its full potential. The sheer enthusiasm and can-do attitude that came from the wide range of contributors and audience was exciting. It left me buzzing with thoughts of where AD might take us next: totally immersive tours of the dinosaur collection at The Natural History Museum perhaps?!”
“My partner has been visually impaired for 17 years and we weren’t aware of the AD available. It has been great to learn about the venues providing it”.
Charmaine finished by saying:
“The event was entirely fabulous. I thank you, Jonathan and all of the LSLC, all speakers, and The Postal Museum for hosting such a successful and vital event! I believe the event will really help to get the word out about the ‘the wonders of audio description”.
- Ren Leach talks about his experience as a blind voice-over artist and audio description narrator
- Fern Lulham talks about her experience of audio description
Interested in joining London Sight Loss Council?
Are you blind or partially sighted? Would you be interested in joining the Sight Loss Council to help create positive change for others?
Publication date: 26 September 2022