National audio description survey for cultural venues

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Thursday, 31 January 2013 15:35pm

Australia’s galleries, museums and theatres are being called on to participate in a national survey of how audio description (AD) is used to bring access to cultural venues for people who are blind or vision impaired.

The Arts Access Australia survey is aimed at all arts and cultural venues regardless of whether they currently offer audio description. Taking between five and ten minutes to complete, the survey will gauge the level of audio description offered compared to other access services venues are providing.

Compared to other access services such as hearing loops, sign language and captioning, AD is offered less regularly and is delivered by volunteer describers. A survey of patrons conducted last year by Arts Access Australia found that the quality of the description varies widely. Also, as these volunteer services are usually restricted to major cities, many Australians miss out on AD altogether.

In running these surveys, Arts Access Australia hopes to demonstrate the need to move away from the perception of AD as an optional, altruistic add-on for venues, and towards a professional service which will attract and increase audiences.

Read about how one Sydney theatre is making audio description available in our feature article.

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