Recently we held the first set of Audio Description Training sessions at the museums. The sessions were an introduction to audio description and gave staff members the opportunity to learn to look at their museums and their collections in a new way.
We opened up the training to all members of museum staff and we had a real cross-section of departments and disciplines represented. This was really positive step for the museums. Not only does it give our staff new skills, but helps to spread awareness of our BPS visitors and their needs within the whole museum, not just those who deal with visitors on a daily basis.
We had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the days and here are just some of the comments from those who took part.
“The audio description training was excellent. Museums often come to mind as very visual environments, and it was stimulating to experience it from a different perspective.
The training session was well-designed; the activities complemented and built-on each other. As a member of the gallery team, I valued the opportunity to understand our BPS visitors’ expectations and desires, to see how our museum is seeking to better meet them, and to learn how I can contribute to that. As an aside, I found much of the training to be relevant and valuable in my work with all visitors”.
Member of Front of House
“ The day was well laid out and the approaches backed up with facts from audience research. This had revealed how important and valued it is that organisations provide good pre-visit information, clear audio descriptions, tactile opportunities and have staff who feel confident that they know what they are doing. The irony is that these points are appreciated by all visitors, no matter what their ability.
The tips for useful resources such as pen friends; family-friendly back-packs; touch tours and handling collections and the value of tactile models were plentiful and applicable to most museum settings. So we have no excuse! It was great to get this training just at the start of our exhibition planning and I hope to implement some of the approaches in the very near future.”
“For me the audio description process was very calming. It allowed me to be very focussed and really look in detail at objects and architecture that I was already familiar with. The process forced me to think carefully about what I needed to say and in what order it needed to be said. Making people feel comfortable within the museum space was also a key priority so thinking ahead and planning were crucial to ensuring a meaningful visitor experience.
I am very much looking forward to a future Arts Award project I am working on with BPS young people and their families. This training will be key to my planning and will enable me to offer a high quality and well planned project!”