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"I See What You're Saying" Symposium and Workshop

A Symposium to Launch the Workshop on Inclusive Co-Creation of Audio Description (WICAD) With Museum Visitors Who Are Blind, Partially-Blind, and Sighted at UMMA

Speech bubble that reads: I see what you're saying.

Saturday, June 24, 2023
8:00 – 10:30 am


In-person Event

U-M Museum of Art
525 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Conference / Symposium
Free of charge

RSVP Required

For generations, large swaths of the population have been excluded from experiencing exhibitions at art museums. Those who are sighted have the privilege of visiting museums and engaging with the art within its spaces, including reading contextual information about each piece on the placards positioned nearby. That same level of engagement has been more difficult or impossible for blind or partially blind visitors. While the conversation around the uses of audio description started decades ago, in recent years, it has emerged as a viable way to facilitate blind and partially blind museum visitors experiencing museum artwork through oral descriptions of them facilitated via virtual and in-person experiences, particularly during the Covid age of social distancing.

In those conversations, audio descriptions are typically created solely by museum professionals, without input from visitors who are blind and partially blind. Join us for a symposium at the University of Michigan Museum of Art to launch a generative co-creation of audio description educational program that brings together museum professionals with community members to co-create audio descriptions of select artwork from UMMA’s collection.

The first session of the upcoming symposium is a public panel discussion from 8:00 — 10:30 am, moderated by Professor Bennett and featuring experts from the fine arts, disability and museum studies, and audio description including panelists Joel Snyder, Elizabeth Guffey, Felix Gomez, Deirdre Hennebury, and David Chung.

Following the panel discussion is the Workshop on Inclusive Co-Creation of Audio Description (WICAD). This event will be attended by three co-creators (one blind, one partially blind, and one sighted), a museum professional, a scribe (e.g., the researcher), and an observer.

Volunteers are being sought for the workshop on June 24 and future workshops. Organizers are looking for blind, partially blind, and sighted volunteers. Participants should be less experienced museum-goers or consumers of audio descriptions. Instead, the project requires relatively unbiased individuals about museum audio descriptions. After participating in the workshop, participants will be asked to complete an online survey about the experience that will take about 30 minutes. Lunch and snacks will be provided, and each participant will receive a $180 gift card for their time. 

Anyone wishing to attend one or both sessions can complete the RSVP form. Anyone selected as a participant in the afternoon workshop will receive an invitation with additional information and instructions for the day.