WASHINGTON, DC, June 19, 2020 — The American Council of the Blind (ACB) proudly publicizes the 2020 Achievement Awards in Audio Description, an initiative of the Council’s Audio Description Mission (ADP).

Along with ACB’s 59th annual convention and conference (held nearly in July 2020), the awards shall be introduced at a plenary session of the convention broadcast by way of ZOOM and on ACB Radio to 1000’s of people who find themselves blind, ACB members/conference registrants and all folks worldwide who’re advocates for audio description and higher entry to the humanities for folks with imaginative and prescient loss. The celebrated award recipients embrace:

Achievement in Audio Description – Performing Arts: Broadway Sacramento — For the reason that inception of Broadway Sacramento (BWS) in 1951, it has turn out to be Northern California’s premiere producer and presenter of musical theater in addition to essentially the most profitable nonprofit performing arts group in Northern California. Due to Margie Donovan’s management, ACB Capital Chapter’s assist, and Margaret Hardy/AudioVision’s technical help and tools mortgage, the BWS launched on April 24, 2010 its first audio-described efficiency — “Little Home on the Prairie” — with overwhelming enthusiasm from the blind and low imaginative and prescient neighborhood. Prior to now ten years, BWS has bought AD receivers/transmitters; educated audio describers; supplied tactile pre-show displays; educated ushers and volunteers learn how to work with folks with imaginative and prescient disabilities; supplied braille and enormous print applications; and thru the “Arts Alive” summer time venues, efficiency tickets are discounted to encourage the attendance and training of latest audiences, together with these with imaginative and prescient loss.

Particular Recognition Achievement in Audio Description — Performing Arts: Mary Hanks — For a few years, Mary Hanks has single-handedly ensured that performances by the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) are accessible by way of audio description. She has described over 200 opera performances; for years she was the one HGO audio describer. She describes, recruits, trains, and schedules, increasing accessibility companies throughout Houston. Her work with the Houston Museum District Affiliation resulted within the addition of blind accessibility companies at 5 establishments. Customers of Mary’s top-notch audio description companies will typically journey tons of of miles to listen to her; different describers seek the advice of along with her commonly. And she or he does all of it as a volunteer.

Achievement in Audio Description – Media: Disney+/The Walt Disney Firm — From its launch, Disney+ has included audio description with its choices — the one streaming service to have such a lot of titles accessible from inception. They’ve dedicated to including audio description tracks to all authentic programming and have audio-described their intensive again catalog (going again to the late 1920s). Titles akin to Snow White, Dumbo, and Cinderella now enable youngsters who’re blind or imaginative and prescient impaired and their dad and mom to extra meaningfully get pleasure from the entire classics which have enchanted sighted audiences for many years. They preserve excessive requirements for the audio description scripts they produce, and the standard of the voicing and audio combine is excellent. Disney+ and, specifically, its worker Mirka Pavlikova, has achieved appreciable outreach to the blindness neighborhood, asking what they want to see and inspiring their suggestions.

Achievement in Audio Description – Visible Artwork/Museums/Customer Facilities: Michele Hartley — Since 2010, Michele has served as Media Accessibility Coordinator for the Harpers Ferry Heart (HFC), an interpretive media design middle for the Nationwide Park Service (NPS) system. Michele offers technical help, coaching and sources to advertise media, reveals, movies and publications which can be accessible and universally designed. She has made displays all through the NPS for the Division of the Inside and the U.S. Entry Board and for conferences hosted by organizations such because the American Council of the Blind (ACB), American Alliance of Museums, Preservation Maryland and the Kennedy Heart’s Management Trade in Arts and Incapacity (LEAD). She is a previous recipient of the Roger Kennedy Nationwide Parks Fellowship from George Washington College. Throughout her tenure because the Performing Deputy Affiliate Supervisor of HFC’s audiovisual arts division, she was answerable for enhancing accessibility of park motion pictures by offering audio description, captions and assistive listening. She developed audio-described reveals for NPS websites and used automated triggers to supply extra impartial entry for customers and facilitated an audio description participant choice for movies posted on nps.gov. Over the previous 6 years, she has been the NPS liaison to the UniD undertaking, an initiative that produces audio-described park brochures. She is a vital advocate for inclusion of user-experts to make sure efficient and inclusive communication.

Achievement in Audio Description – Worldwide: VocalEyes (U.Ok.) — VocalEyes is as we speak thought-about the main AD firm working within the UK theater, museum, and heritage sectors. Acknowledged with funding by Arts Council England for the reason that starting, VocalEyes has audio described round 2,300 productions throughout the nation — a median of 180 yearly — masking drama, comedy, musicals, opera, ballet, dance, circus, youngsters’s theater, out of doors festivals, even fireworks shows. Shoppers embrace Shakespeare’s Globe, Donmar Warehouse, Royal Court docket and the Almeida Theatre. The group describes industrial West Finish reveals (Depraved, Phantom of the Opera, Harry Potter and the Cursed Baby, Hamilton) and touring reveals. Honed with the involvement of blind and partially sighted customers and professionals, VocalEyes offers a 10-15 minute recorded audio introduction every week earlier than the efficiency, containing details about the set, characters and costumes, venue entry data and speak to particulars. On efficiency day, a contact tour on stage is a chance to discover the set, props and costumes, and meet members of the forged. Massive print and braille forged and artistic lists are supplied. In 2012, VocalEyes established a museum, gallery and heritage program which incorporates stay excursions, recorded guides, coaching programs for venue workers in visible consciousness, guiding and audio description. Shoppers embrace The British Museum, Shakespeare Birthplace Belief, Wellcome Assortment, Pure Historical past Museum, Ferens Artwork Gallery, and Windsor Fort. Latest analysis initiatives embrace partnership on a Ph.D. examine with College of Westminster into Museum Audio Description and Describing Range, in partnership with Royal Holloway, College of London, an exploration of the observe of describing human traits, akin to race, gender, incapacity and physique form as a part of theater audio description.

Particular Recognition Achievement in Audio Description – Worldwide: Audio Described Aotearoa Ltd. (New Zealand) — In 2020, many nations, New Zealand included, went into COVID-19 lockdown. Theaters, museums and galleries closed their doorways. Audio Described Aotearoa (ADA) instantly sought alternatives to proceed audio description. The Royal New Zealand Ballet was planning to stay stream recordings of their current performances, so ADA collaborated with them to supply audio description. To this point, over 1,500 folks from all over the world have tuned into the audio-described ballet. Led by blind marketing consultant Paul Brown and educated audio describer Nicola Owen, ADA was established in 2014 as an organization offering audio description companies throughout New Zealand. In 2019, ADA educated the primary two Maori (indigenous New Zealand) audio describers and concurrently audio-described in English and Maori languages — a world first. In 2019, ADA supplied description for the English Nationwide Ballet’s Giselle as a part of the Auckland Arts Pageant and made the audio description scripts accessible for the ballet to make use of for subsequent abroad excursions. In 2020, we inspired the Auckland Arts Pageant to buy the audio description script for the ballet Snow White to acknowledge the work of Will McRostie of Description Victoria in Australia and additional promote worldwide collaboration between audio describers. ADA has launched audio description for opera, chamber music, youngsters’s theater, up to date dance, civic occasions, and gallery/museum excursions.

Dr. Margaret R. Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description – Analysis and Improvement: United Airways — United Airways is the primary U.S.-based airline to supply essentially the most intensive suite of accessibility options on their in-flight seatback leisure system, which accommodates any degree of visible incapacity, in addition to offers assist for listening to and mobility-impaired passengers. Not solely are the entire options and features of the system accessible utilizing text-to-speech and display magnification, however passengers can simply discover motion pictures and different leisure with audio description. The accessible IFE system is presently deployed on United’s 787-10 Dreamliner plane, and can proceed to be deployed on different plane shifting ahead. United clearly understands that their prospects have totally different wants, they usually have labored to accommodate everybody’s entry wants inside the in-flight leisure system. United affords the biggest choice of motion pictures and TV reveals with audio description and closed captioning — 54 titles — of any U.S. airline. Quite a lot of settings and options can be found to accommodate totally different ranges of imaginative and prescient, akin to:

• Exploration by contact: This perform describes every merchandise aloud as the person strikes their finger throughout the display

• Changes: Change the text-to-speech, voice quantity, velocity, and pitch

• Textual content sizing: Permits for accessing three totally different textual content sizes for simpler visibility

• Magnification: Enlarges a portion of the display for simpler visibility

• Excessive-contrast textual content: Makes it simpler to learn the textual content on the display

• Shade correction (beta): This setting allows totally different coloration settings to account for varieties of coloration blindness

• Shade inversion (beta): This setting inverts coloration on the display so it is extra comfy for these with sensitivity to brightness.

Clark Rachfal of Alexandria, Va. experiences, “I flew from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles, California by way of United Airways on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Whereas navigating the seatback show, my spouse found that the United in-flight leisure system on this airplane had built-in accessibility options. This was my first time utilizing this display reader and interface. Along with navigating AD content material, this display reader gave entry to the passenger gentle and flight attendant name button. These are options that may be independently activated and deactivated by a passenger who’s blind with a selected gesture on the display.”

Barry Levine Memorial Award for Profession Achievement in Audio Description: Matthew J. Kaplowitz — Matthew Kaplowitz is CEO and Chief Inventive Officer, in addition to President and Director of Know-how and Innovation for Bridge Multimedia, the biggest producer of audio description for community and cable TV in the US. However it’s the work that he has achieved on behalf of blind and multiply disabled youngsters that almost all resonates: he has produced songs and chants that blind preschoolers can use when studying varied orientation and mobility abilities. Matt additionally labored with Nationwide Braille Press to create descriptions for braille/print youngsters’s image books. Blind dad and mom studying these books to their sighted youngsters can share within the pleasure of the photographs. Probably the most acquainted title within the collection, Dragons Love Tacos, is accompanied by songs and lyrics in English and Spanish. A a lot wanted presenter at academic conferences, Matt addressed the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description convention in 2018, and the Kidsscreen Summit Convention in 2019. Matt can be an Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy award-winning producer, composer, and sound designer, in addition to an assistive listening methods engineer and A/V methods integration specialist for ADA-compliant installations for public areas.

The Achievement Awards are made to people and/or organizations for excellent contributions to the institution and/or continued improvement of great audio description applications. The Barry Levine Memorial Award for Profession Achievement in Audio Description acknowledges a person for excellent contributions to the sector of audio description over an prolonged time frame, main, inspiring or offering vital service to others.

“Audio description makes use of phrases which can be succinct, vivid, and imaginative to convey the visible picture from tv, movie, DVDs, theater, museums and plenty of different settings,” acknowledged Dan Spoone, president of the American Council of the Blind. “The organizations and people honored with these awards are among the many leaders in description. They assist make so many facets of our tradition accessible to people who find themselves blind or have low imaginative and prescient; they deserve this particular recognition.”

Extra details about ACB’s Audio Description Mission is offered at www.acb.org/adp.

In regards to the American Council of the Blind

The American Council of the Blind is a nationwide membership group. Its members are blind, visually impaired, and absolutely sighted people who’re involved concerning the dignity and well-being of blind folks all through the nation.

Fashioned in 1961, the ACB is among the largest organizations of blind folks on the earth, with greater than 70 state and special-interest associates and a nationwide community of chapters and members spanning the globe.

For extra details about the American Council of the Blind, contact: Eric Bridges, Govt Director, American Council of the Blind, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22311; telephone (202) 467-5081 or toll-free, 1-800-424-8666; or go to the web site, www.acb.org.

Contact: Joel Snyder, PhD, Director, Audio Description Mission, ACB

(202) 467-5083

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