The Arts

Accessible media and the autism spectrum

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Today is World Autism Awareness Day. While many may be familiar with issues facing people with autism spectrum disorders, few are aware of the difference accessible media can make. 

Judith Garman, a researcher in the UK has done extensive work in this area. “Captions and audio description are a metaphorical ramp and provide a different kind of value to people on the autistic spectrum,” wrote Garman in 2011.


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Captioned theatre funding program for US regional venues

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American not-for-profit organisation Theatre Development Fund (TDF) is offering two-year partnerships to regional venues to provide open captioning of performances. The partnerships introduce new audiences to captioned theatre and inspire theatre companies to continue with a caption service at the partnership’s completion.

The partnerships, developed as the National Open Captioning Initiative, are funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the MetLife Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The funding is put directly towards the service and its promotion, as opposed to providing a cheque to the partners.


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Sydney Opera House unveils its 2014 Access Program

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One of the world’s most iconic performance spaces has launched a new program of services and initiatives to ensure people with disabilities experience the same access to arts as their family and friends. The Sydney Opera House’s 2014 Access Program will provide captioning and audio description among other services for a range of productions throughout the year.

Highlights of the program include the addition of live captioning of the digital education program via video conferencing for students and an audio description smartphone app for patrons attending performances. The Opera House is also working on captioning its past Talks and Ideas videos on its online video portal as well as future uploads.


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Audio desciption at the Adelaide Festival

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The annual Adelaide Festival, considered one of the world’s best celebrations of the arts, kicks off on 28 February with a program full of audio described events for people who are blind or vision impaired.

Five theatre performances will be audio described by newly established Adelaide access company 


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New audio description business flourishes in South Australia

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Over the last four years a team of dedicated arts access workers in South Australia have worked towards establishing Access2Arts, a disability arts organisation that includes a professional audio description service to bring the arts to life for people who are blind or vision impaired. Access2Arts is soon to complete its first year of operation with a number of successful projects under its belt.

Formed in 2009 as Arts SA’s Disability and Arts Transition Team (DATT), initial purchase of audio description receivers and broadcasters allowed DATT to branch out and offer audio description to venues and arts companies not traditionally part of the fixed venue service, then offered by the Royal Society for the Blind.


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Jodi Awards acknowledge digital media access

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The tenth anniversary Jodi Awards were held this week at the UK’s annual Museums Conference, celebrating high quality projects that contribute to accessible digital culture.

Highlighting the best use of technology to widen access to information, learning, collections and creativity for people in museums, libraries, archives and heritage, the award categories were updated in this significant anniversary year to acknowledge the role digital media plays in everyday society.


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