Visitor studies: Interdisciplinary methods for understanding the impact of inclusive museum AD experiences

Hutchinson, R. and Eardley, A.F. 2022. Visitor studies: Interdisciplinary methods for understanding the impact of inclusive museum AD experiences. in: Taylor, C. and Perego, E. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Audio Description Routledge.

Chapter titleVisitor studies: Interdisciplinary methods for understanding the impact of inclusive museum AD experiences
AuthorsHutchinson, R. and Eardley, A.F.
EditorsTaylor, C. and Perego, E.
Abstract

The nineteenth century authoritative model of museums, in which it was assumed that visual access alone was a great enough ‘gift’ to the general public, no longer satisfies museum professionals, visitors or funders. Museums must now compete with other leisure activities for visitors, whilst seeking to justify their funding by using their collections and knowledge to strengthen community and society. However, museums can only achieve these societal aims if they make themselves accessible and engaging for all sections of society and indeed, they have a legal and moral imperative to do so. For people who are blind or partially sighted (BPS), audio description (AD) is a crucial access provision. Museum AD has traditionally been understood as a visual to verbal translation. However, researchers have argued that museum ‘access’, and therefore AD, should incorporate a wider experience of museum visiting, including the emotional, cognitive and even social aspects. As such, AD could potentially serve as an important inclusive design tool for any visitors who struggle to engage with the museum experience, regardless of their level of vision. This chapter explores why the visitor experience should be at the heart of museum AD evaluation, and how empirical quantitative and qualitative methods can facilitate generalisable and actionable conclusions to enhance provision.

KeywordsAudio Description; Visual impairment; Museums; Reception Studies, Quantitative
Book titleThe Routledge Handbook of Audio Description
Year2022
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN9780367434199
9781003003052
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003003052-18

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