Guest Blogger: Lucy Kingston
I spent the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Festival Opening Parade in a dim, cramped hall high above King William Street. The beautiful lights of the passing Parade flooded into our little space as we gazed down on the dazzling array of artists going by.
I with a small team of broadcasters and audio describers, I was there to share the Parade with anyone who could not see it. As we went to air the Audio Describers, Eliza Lovell and Suzie Fraiser, poured forth a flood of words to describe the scene before us.
That night I heard an hour of radio that was as listenable, smooth and expressively presented, as I would expect of any experienced broadcaster. This was my first experience of audio description and I was both impressed and entranced as well as being convinced that radio and audio description are the most perfect partners.
One of the golden rules of presenting for radio is to use visual language where ever possible. With no images, radio relies on the imagination of its audience to visualise events and stories. Broadcasters know that adding some visual descriptions to what they say draws in an audience making a topic real. Audio description takes this descriptive language to a new level.
It is different to regular broadcasting though, providing minutely researched and extremely detailed points of view descriptions of events. and firmly grounded. This meant that during the Fringe Parade details were carefully shared with our audience as artists and floats past our vantage point.
Audio description is an approach designed for people with visual impairment, to ensure they can access arts of many kinds. I learnt at the Fringe Parade that audio description can offer a lot to any radio listener. If you are fully sighted and can be at the event, the detail and description will add a new dimension your experience. If you can’t be there, you are still handed a wonderful description of the event.
We are doing it all again this year. On Friday, February 14 you can listen in to a live description of the 2014 Adelaide Fringe Festival Opening Parade. To hear it tune into Radio Adelaide on your mobile, tune to 101.5fm, on digital radio or on www.radio.adelaide.edu.au.
If you want to catch the audio description, Access2Arts will be hosting an Accessible Viewing area at the Rundle Mall tram stop (near 33-39 King William Street). They will have some radios and headsets available on the night but bookings are essential. To book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 08 84631689.
Lucy Kingston is Manager, Programming and Content at Radio Adelaide.