Creating accessible and inclusive arts experiences for people who are Blind or have low vision.
News & upcoming events.
- Listen: Described highlights from the National Gallery of Victoria collection.
- Due to social distancing measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person performances and tours have been postponed for the foreseeable future. Check back in the coming months to hear about new experiences when restrictions are lifted.
- We recently launched our Guide to Inclusive Meetings for people who are Blind or have low vision – sign up to our e-news to get it instantly and for free.
Description Victoria provides professional description services for art and media. Audio description adds live or pre-recorded verbal information to performances, events, exhibitions, and moving images. Designed for people who are Blind or have low vision, this information is delivered through a variety of means that complement the work.
Our describers come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines in art, performance and media, combining their own expertise with expert training in description. We have described for theatre shows, exhibitions, documentary videos, films, fireworks displays and live art experiences. Audio description can be adapted to any work in any medium.
We also provide comprehensive advice and support on marketing your show to audiences with low vision, and consider the experience of your patrons from the first moment they hear about the work, to the time they step out of the venue.
Description Victoria is a registered charity governed by a committee with a majority of members who have a lived experience of Blindness or low vision.
We work in accordance with international best-practice standards of audio description. More information about our approach can be found in the ADLAB: Pictures Painted in Words guidelines, and in An Introduction to Audio Description: A Practical Guide by Dr. Louise Fryer (Routledge, 2016).
You can listen to or read about some of our work at the following links:
Read: ‘Sight Unseen’ in The Weekend Australian Review.
Read: ‘I’m done with the bare minimum’ – a response by Blind critic Olivia Muscat to our 2018 Blind & Low Vision Community Engagement Workshop.
Read: A review of our audio described production of Dancing Qweens in Midsumma 2019.
Read: A review of Caca-Capitalismo, an accessible dance film made in collaboration with Jonathan Homsey.
Listen: Descriptions of photographs by Blind photographer Kristan Emerson for his travel photography exhibition ‘Blind as a Backpack’.
Listen: ‘Interactive Art creates new layers of inclusivity at Midsumma’ – story on JOY94.9 about our work at the 2018 Midsumma Carnival.
Listen: Descriptive pre-show notes from ‘Precarious’, by Circus Oz.
Equity of access.
We aim to create an experience that is as close as possible to that a sighted audience has. Our service is designed to be as inclusive as possible, and reinforce the power of art as a social, human experience.
We listen to our audience when making decisions about how the service is developed and rolled out. We take a robust approach in gathering audience feedback and give patrons the opportunity to voice their opinion on the quality and delivery of the description. We act foremost as advocates for our audience in arts spaces, ensuring their needs are met.
A holistic approach.
We consider the needs of the audience from their very first interaction with the company. This includes the creation of marketing materials in audio and screen-reader friendly formats, designing accessible booking processes, and considering the needs of the audience in arts environments.
Respect for the art.
Practised properly, audio description complements the work it translates. We work to integrate description in seamlessly, rather than imposing it on the show. This means avoiding unnecessary interruption of dialogue, respecting the world created by the show, and consulting creatives and cast where necessary on complex or sensitive visuals. We also seek to cast diverse voices that best fit the tone of the work being presented.
Our people & get in touch.
Learn more about our people here.
Are you ready to explore further? Contact us today to find out how we can work together to make your work inclusive, accessible, and excellent. We are based in Melbourne, Victoria, but are happy to hear about opportunities across Australia and the world.
Contact: Will McRostie – Service Coordinator
Voice or text: +61 405 725 423.
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Clients & collaborators.
All The Queen’s Men,
Arts Access Victoria,
Arts Centre Melbourne,
Australia Council for the Arts,
Australian Centre for the Moving Image,
Brotherhood of St. Laurence,
City of Boroondara,
City of Greater Dandenong,
Frankston Arts Centre,
Kate Hood / Raspberry Ripple Theatre Company,
Melbourne International Arts Festival,
National Gallery of Victoria,
Next Wave / Brunswick Mechanics Institute,
University of Melbourne / Union House Theatre,
Annual Report 2019.
(C) 2020, Description Victoria Inc.