Since 1997, Extant has been forging a performing arts practice made by and dedicated to visually impaired people, developing new ways of providing integrated access to visually impaired audiences. At the same time other companies, both disability-led and non-disability-led, have been working to integrate access into their productions, not just for visually impaired people, but also for people with other access needs.
Despite this, the work lacks research and exposure, and those experimenting with these techniques do so in isolation, meaning that reputable resources on the topic are difficult to find. This has led us to two major questions that relate to this research: do we truly understand what visually impaired people need from access? Do the current models of integrated provision meet those needs?
To mark its 20th year, Extant commissioned Is It Working, a research inquiry into the use of audio description and integrated access in the UK. The research brings together feedback from visually impaired audiences with information from the creative teams charged with providing integrated access to see if it’s possible to quantify what makes effective integrated access.
The results of that inquiry are presented here, in both abridged and full-length versions, with a view to calling companies into action to do more and to support said companies as they travel down this path in the future.
The results were presented at a special event at the University College London on Thursday, 14th June. Alongside the presentation, we invited three artists to present their innovative approaches to integrated access provision.
For a complete recording of the event, please visit our Facebook Page.