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Deaf entrepreneur wins American leadership award

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Catharine McNally, a co-founder of Keen Guides, has been awarded one of two Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards for 2011 by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).

Developed after a disappointing experience in a museum for McNally, who is Deaf, Keen Guides is a mobile application that provides accessible video tours of museums, colleges and public venues, with the objective of producing cultural experiences that appeal to everyone.

The Keen Guides application, available on iPhone and Android devices, applies universal design principles, offering an educational, entertaining and accessible alternative to standard audio and live tours.


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Access in the arts in the United States

There are a number of audio description companies in the United States providing either the service themselves or training programs for theatre staff. These include Audio Description Solutions, who are a service provider and facilitator of training programs nationally, and the Audio Description Associates, operating training programs across the country.

Captions also play a large role in bringing performing arts to Americans who are Deaf or hearing impaired.


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Access in the arts in the United Kingdom

Audio description for theatre in the UK is mainly provided by Vocal Eyes, with some local volunteers covering other sites. Most of the performances are in London, with some in other venues across the country.

From 2007 - 2010 Vocal Eyes undertook a collaborative United Kingdom Arts Council-funded project with Stagetext, the United Kingdom's premier theatre captioning provider.


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Access and audience development reports released on Australian arts

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Arts Access Australia has commissioned two reports on access and audience development in museums, galleries and the performing arts. The reports aim to assess what is currently being done, and what needs to be done, to increase access to the arts, highlighting the shared responsibility for access from all stakeholders involved in the Australian arts.

Some of the reports’ recommendations include:

  • That all funding authorities collaborate and share information and processes to ensure consistent and comparable collection and reporting of data about the participation and attendance of people with disabilities in the arts.


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