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$20.00 pledged of $15,000 goal
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By Francisco J. Lima
$20.00 pledged of $15,000 goal
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About

A blind man was in a theater to attend the performance of a play.  Another audience member approached him and asked: "Excuse me, but, what you doing in a theater? You can't see what is going on the stage!"  His response? "I'm here for the same reason anyone goes to a theater. I want to be a part of our culture.,"

Dr. Francisco Lima, a professor in Brazil (who happens to be blind)  and Dr. Joel Snyder (one of the world's first audio describers) believe it is the responsibility of our arts institutions to be as inclusive as possible. Cultural access is everyone's right.  

This project aims to bring equal opportunity for people who are blind in Brazil by facilitating access to the performing arts.  This will be accomplished by purchasing equipment that allows people to use their own smartphones to access audio description.  More information about the unique Sennheiser system is at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=qvuqF1I9dZs

Audio description is a live or recorded narrative that provides a verbal version of the visual:  concise and vivid description of action, facial expressions, gestures, costumes, scenery and more are carefully timed and spoken in the pauses between dialogue lines or other critical sound elements.   

For the last 20 years, Dr. Lima has been researching the capability of people who are blind or have low vision to access visual imagery via touch and sound. People who are blind have been denied access to the visual world, not because of their blindness but because cinema, museums and theaters do not use audio description to accommodate the abilities of people who are blind. Children who are blind or have low vision are the ones who suffer most from the lack of accessibility to arts events.  All of this is especially true in Brazil.

In Brazil, there are more than six million people who can benefit from audio description in theaters (not counting their families and friends!). Without accessibility, a child who is blind cannot become a citizen who contributes to society; without accessibility, a child who has low vision will not not be able to enjoy theater and cinema along with his or her peers; without accessibility, blind children will never be able to fully enjoy the fundamental freedoms of Brazilian society on an equal basis with other children.

As a professor of Inclusive Education, and a person who is blind from birth, Dr, Lima knows from experience and scientific research the importance of audio description for accessing information and culture. I am the only blind professor in the world teaching audio description as a part of a formal University curriculum.  

But still, audio description in Brazil is relatively new and it's extremely difficult to find and maintain the appropriate devices used to offer audio description.  This equipment must be imported and is expensive for Brazilian people. 

We hope that you will help us to raise the funds needed install the Sennheiser Mobile Connect Station (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvuqF1I9dZs) in a theater in Recife, Brazil.

Risks and challenges

Risks: Since audio description is relatively new in Brazil, we run the risk of people not being aware of this new opportunity and not being willing to experiment with the use of audio description. But we will collaborate with blindness support organizations throughout Brazil to educate potential users regarding the equipment and the service and we will partner with theaters who are eager to boost attendance from a population that has traditionally been underserved.

Challenges: Our principal challenge will be the training of skilled audio describers and the development of the audio description scripts for the wide range of performances presented in Brazil. But we have a foundation for this work at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife and a commitment to build the availability of audio description on behalf of Brazilians who are blind or have low vision.

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    Theater For The Blind Contributor Award

    All funders will receive a video file with three audio described presentations in Portuguese or English.

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Funding period

- (30 days)