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Audio Description in Victoria

Firstly, and truly most importantly: Dinosaur.

Audio description is the practice of making the visual verbal. It makes art and media more inclusive and accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired. Do you have Netflix? Go load up "Daredevil" and select "English - Audio Description" from the languages menu to hear an example!

Audio Description can work across any medium, but my work is primarily in theatres. Describers prepare a script that we read in set changes and pauses in the dialogue to tell people what is happening on stage. Patrons have a small FM receiver and headset, and describers speak into a portable FM transmitter. We also run touch tours of the stage before the show and develop pre-show notes that are recorded for use on client's websites to market the show.

I trained as an audio describer in South Australia in 2013, and have been working as a freelance professional describer since. I moved to Melbourne last year, and found that the practice hasn't developed professionally in Victoria. I want to be the catalyst for that development.

I am working to establish a professional, best practice audio description service in Victoria. Working with Arts Access Victoria and other industry partners, I have a plan to bring on board some of the state's leading arts institutions and train up a new crew of professionally-trained describers.

I'm also setting up an audience reference group of people who are vision impaired to become advocates for the service and have a voice in its development. Currently I have local artist Ross De Vent on board as a collaborator, and CEO of Arts Access Australia Emma Bennison is acting as an adviser.

Currently, I have to beg, borrow or steal the FM transmitter gear required to offer this service. My goal is to acquire a full set of gear so I don't have to pass on significant hire costs to cash-strapped arts clients and can invest more in training new people to offer this service.

Funded by Melbourne (January 2017)