Room 42

Audio Description Improves Accessibility

Room 42
Audio Description Improves Accessibility
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Dr. Brett Oppegaard, Ph.D., University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, researches digital media at intersections of technical communication, disability studies, mobile technologies, digital inequalities, and journalism. He teaches about news literacy, multimedia production, media accessibility, and media entrepreneurship, including within his two primary areas of scholarly expertise: Locative Media, or place-connected media, and Audio Description, which is the remediation of visual media into audible media for people who are blind or have low-vision. He worked for more than a decade as a staff newspaper writer, including as an arts critic, in the Portland, OR, area. He also has worked with a variety of publications since then, primarily as a freelance writer. He has been the Undergraduate Chair of UH’s Journalism Program since Fall 2019. His research has been supported by the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts, and Google, among others.

In this episode of Room 42 we discuss Audio Description. Audio Description is the remediation of visual media, such as photographs, into audible media, primarily for the benefit of people who are blind or have low vision. Research about this topic is complex and interdisciplinary, opening many fertile paths of inquiry, from multiple perspectives. Those include research related to compositional strategies, description genres, mediums, media technologies, reception studies, social inclusion, health benefits, etc.

As a part of this research, Dr. Oppegaard hosts Descriptathons, which are hackathon-like events, bringing people together to learn about Audio Description basics, practice Audio Description, create audio-described public products, such as audio-described brochures, and simultaneously creating research data about Audio Description processes and products that can be analyzed and reported upon.


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