Audio Description Trainings Fall 2023

Incorporating Audio Description within your Lectures September 1, 2023, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm CDT – Zoom

Lecturers from the University of Illinois system as well as other staff are welcome to experience how Audio Description (AD) makes visual images accessible for people who are blind or have low vision—the visual is made verbal. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population: over 31 million Americans who are blind or have trouble seeing even with correction (American Foundation for the Blind, 2019). Through this session, describer training will be detailed according to the Fundamentals of Audio Description developed by Joel Snyder, Ph.D. Participants will experience how description makes all art forms – performing arts, media, visual art/static exhibits – and myriad activities more accessible to patrons who are blind or have low vision and more enjoyable for all. This session will be focused on the needs/activities of university lecturers/professors. September 1, 2023, 12:00 pm-1:30 pm CDT – Zoom Faculty/GAs/TAs – focus on including AD within lectures Introduction to audio description (30 minutes) Using audio description within the classroom/lecture hall (45 minutes) Conclusion / Q and A (15 minutes)

Register to attend to learn how to incorporate AD into your own lectures. Open to those within the University of Illinois system.

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Audio Description logo.
ITAL Audio Description Training September 6, 2023, 10:00 am-11:00 am CST – ZOOM

ITAL as well as others from the University of Illinois system are welcome to experience how Audio Description (AD) makes visual images accessible for people who are blind or have low vision—the visual is made verbal. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population: over 31 million Americans who are blind or have trouble seeing even with correction (American Foundation for the Blind, 2019). Through this session, describer training will be detailed according to the Fundamentals of Audio Description developed by Joel Snyder, Ph.D. Participants will experience how description makes all art forms – performing arts, media, visual art/static exhibits – and myriad activities more accessible to patrons who are blind or have low vision and more enjoyable for all. This session will be focused on the needs/activities of IT Accessibility Liaisons. September 6, 2023, 10:00 am-11:00 am CST – ZOOM IT Accessibility Liaisons Introduction to audio description (20 minutes) Using audio description throughout the university (25 minutes) Conclusion / Q and A (15 minutes).

Join viz zoom to attend the ITAL September meeting to learn about the importance of AD with the IT community. Open to those within the University of Illinois system.

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Audio Description logo.
Audio Description Training-University of Illinois System October 4-6, 2023 9:30 am-5:00– In Person / Zoom

Faculty and Staff within the University of Illinois System are welcomed to experience how Audio Description (AD) makes visual images accessible for people who are blind or have low vision—the visual is made verbal. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population: over 31 million Americans who are blind or have trouble seeing even with correction (American Foundation for the Blind, 2019). Through this session, describer training will be detailed according to the Fundamentals of Audio Description developed by Joel Snyder, Ph.D. Participants will experience how description makes all art forms – performing arts, media, visual art/static exhibits – and myriad activities more accessible to patrons who are blind or have low vision and more enjoyable for all. This session will be focused on the needs/activities of anyone within the University of Illinois System.
October 4-6, 2023 9:30 am-5:00 – In Person / Zoom
General Audio Description Training.

Registration is now closed. Please check later for other educational opportunities.

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Audio Description logo.

Joel Snyder, Ph.D.

I am a White male, middle-aged, and with a receding hairline ... oh, alright, it's receded to the back of my head leaving a fringe of gray and white hair. I have a white and black-peppered mustache and white beard which hides a multitude of chins. I stand just under 5’8”—but curiously my performance/theater resume notes that I am 5’9”.
Joel Snyder

BIO – A member of Actors’ Equity Association, the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors Guild, and a 20-year veteran of work as an arts specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Joel Snyder is best known internationally as one of the first “audio describers” (c. 1981) working with theater events and media at the world’s first ongoing audio description service. Beginning in the early 1970s, he recorded “talking books” for the Library of Congress and read privately for individuals who are blind – but his abilities as a describer have made hundreds of live theater productions accessible to audience members who are blind; in media, Dr. Snyder has used the same technique to enhance PBS’ American Playhouse productions, Sesame Street, a wide range of network broadcasts, feature films, educational videos, the IMAX film Blue Planet and the Planetarium show And A Star To Steer Her By at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Under contract to the American Council of the Blind (ACB), Dr. Snyder is the founder and director of ACB’s Audio Description Project (ADP) designed to boost awareness of description in all formats throughout the United States. The ADP produced description for ABC-TV’s nationwide coverage of both of President Obama’s inaugurations and President Trump’s inauguration. Dr. Snyder’s company also provided live audio description for events on the mall and throughout the city for President Obama’s 2008 inaugural festivities—national prayer breakfast, Lincoln Memorial, parade route. He also authored and produced the first-ever audio described tour of The White House (suspended during the Trump years). The Audio Description Project also produced description for the 30th anniversary DVD release of The Miracle Worker featuring Patty Duke as “Annie Sullivan” and the description for the Arts & Entertainment Network’s biography, Barack Obama. The ADP sponsors the annual Audio Description Awards, coordinates international conferences on audio description, conducts the annual Audio Description Institute, offers the “BADIE” (Benefits of Audio Description In Education—formerly the Young Described Film Critic) contest for students who are blind (the “Listening Is Learning” initiative, sponsored in conjunction with the Described and Captioned Media Program), produced the August 2017 international broadcast of live audio description of the total solar eclipse, and maintains the ADP website, the leading resource for information on audio description in all genres: www.acb.org/adp.

As Director of Described Media for the National Captioning Institute, a program founded by Dr. Snyder, he led a staff that produced description for nationally broadcast films and network series including Sesame Street broadcasts and DVDs. He was a member of the American Foundation of the Blind’s “expert panel” charged with reviewing guidelines for educational multi-media description and has been a member of several media access panels at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as the Disability Access Committee of the International Telecommunications Union and the Description Leadership Network of the Video Description Research and Development Center.

In addition to work principally in media and audio description training, Dr. Snyder’s Audio Description Associates, LLC develops audio described tours for major museums and visitor centers throughout the United States including the writing/voicing of an audio described tour of the Enabling Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Albright/Knox Gallery in Buffalo, the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, several Smithsonian Institution exhibits including the National Museum of American History’s “The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem”, and myriad National Park Service and US Forest Service facilities including Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. Dr. Snyder trained museum docents in audio description techniques at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and Sackler/Freer Galleries, and the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, the Seattle Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design and the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. He also coached Secret Service agents/White House tour guides in AD methods and, as noted above, he is the producer and author of the first-ever audio described tour of The White House. Dr. Snyder worked closely with the Disability Rights Committee of the Obama for America campaign in 2008, serving as a surrogate speaker on disability issues for the Obama campaign, and coordinated live audio description for the Presidential Inauguration Parades in 2009 and 2013.

Internationally, Dr. Snyder has trained describers or introduced description techniques 44 states and in 62 nations. In 2019, Dr. Snyder was named a Fulbright Scholar and used the award to spend the month of December training describers in Athens, Greece and conducting workshops in Malta and Ukraine. Most recently he has also trained describers in Cuba, Taiwan, Korea, India, Nepal, Cyprus, Turkey and Israel; he conducted audio description “master classes” in London, Prague, and St. Petersburg, Russia; and developed a team of describers for the Second Annual Moscow International Disability Film Festival as the result of intensive seminars conducted in Russia. He led described tours of Geneva and provided description for the World Blind Union General Assembly in Switzerland following the presentation of a paper on description at the International Federation of Translation conference in Shanghai, China.

Dr. Snyder is the recipient of the American Council of the Blind/Audio Description Project’s highest award, the Barry Levine Memorial Career Achievement in Audio Description; he also was named the 2014 recipient of the ACB Vernon Henley Media Award “for promoting and furthering the availability of audio description;” and in April 2015 was awarded the American Foundation for the Blind’s prestigious Access Award.

Dr. Snyder received his Ph.D in accessibility and audio description from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. His book, The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description, is published by the American Council of the Blind and is now available as an audio book from the Library of Congress Division of the Blind and Physically Handicapped and in a separate version voiced by Dr. Snyder, in screen reader accessible formats, and in English, Polish, Russian and Portuguese. Spanish, Greek and Chinese editions will be released in 2021.