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Audio Description Project Conferences

A man at a podium presents next to a screenIntroduction

Since 2016, the Audio Description Project has met annually for a conference in conjunction with the annual ACB Convention.  Every second year is a three-afternoon "regular" conference for us, while on alternate years we meet for just one afternoon in a "mini conference."  Prior to 2016 the conferences were held on a somewhat irregular basis, but we did meet!  You can access all conference material below.

You do not have to be a member of the ACB to attend our conference, nor do you have to attend any part of the ACB Convention while at our conference.  There are fees associated with attending the convention and/or conference, and they are detailed when each year's ADP Conference is finalized below.  Prior to any given year's ADP Conference agenda being published, we encourage you to look at the most recent years' agendas to get an idea of what to expect.  We have something for everyone interested in audio description -- both users and providers -- and our conference is a wonderful opportunity for each to learn about the other.

Our 2021 Conference Updated Jun 20

The 2021 ACB Conference will once again be virtual.  It will run from July 16 through July 23, 2021.  As we did last year, the "ADP Conference" agenda items will be scattered over the various days of the ACB conference, rather than held on three afternoons as we have done in the past.  If you want to attend one or more sessions, it is ESSENTIAL that you REGISTER by June 28!  To do so, please visit the ACB Convention web page for instructions and a complete list of sessions.

The ACB will start off on Friday night with a showing of the audio described version of the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, Nomadland.  Below, you will see the complete list of the ADP-sponsored presentations.  You can also view the entire ACB Conference Agenda online, or just the ADP Conference Agenda items as a PDF.

2021 AGENDA

Friday, July 16

7:00 pm - 8:45 pm ACB Film Night
Winner of the 2021 Best Picture Academy Award, Nomadland is about a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. Frances McDormand also won an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress and the director, Chloe Zhao, won the Academy Award for Best Direction.

Saturday, July 17

1:00 PM to 2:15 PM: Federal Communications Commission and How You Can Be A Change Agent, Co-Presenters: Suzy Rosen Singleton, Chief, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, and Michael Scurato, Assistant Chief, Policy Division, Media Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC; Moderator: Clark Rachfal, Director, ACB Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, Alexandria, VA
This session will provide overviews and updates from the FCC regarding audio description, user interface rules, telephone equipment and services accessibility, and advanced communications services; and will share information about the Commission's accessibility-related stakeholder engagement initiatives such as the complaint process, the Disability Advisory Committee, the comment filing process, AccessInfo listserv, and other activities under the purview of the Commission.

4:00 PM to 5:15 PM: Audio Description and Museums
This panel of leading museum access professionals profiles various ways audio description is used in museum settings, and how each museum has coped with providing description services during a pandemic. Moderator: Joel Snyder, PhD, Founder and Senior Consultant, ACB Audio Description Project, Takoma Park, MD. Panelists include: Beth Ziebarth, Director, Accessibility Services, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Jessica Doonan, Manager, Accessibility, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Charlotte Martin, Senior Manager, Access Initiatives, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York, NY; and Robert Bready, Vice President for Operations, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, Colorado Springs, CO

5:30 PM to 6:45 PM: ADP/FIA/AABT Session
Film Screening: "Straight Off the Canvas"
This film is the winner of several industry awards. Created with audio description, it profiles Elizabeth Castallano, a visually impaired art teacher and artist . It also tells the story of blind art teacher Jessica Jones and her students at the Lavelle School for the Blind in Bronx, NY. Film producer Anthony Saldana, and other team members who worked on the production, will be in attendance, will speak about working on the film, and will answer questions from attendees.

Sunday, July 18

1:00 PM to 2:15 PM
Audio Description Project Website Overview and Update (adp.acb.org):
The number of audio described videos available has increased dramatically in the past year to the 6000-plus range. The ADP website is the place to find pointers to them all. This presentation will cover how you can best use the website to find what interests you and how to access description resources. Presenter: Fred Brack, ADP Webmaster and Social Media Manager, Raleigh, NC.

Monday, July 19

4:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Audio Description and Performing Arts:
This panel of leading theater access professionals highlights various ways audio description has been provided in performing arts venues, and how each has evolved to provide virtual description services during a pandemic. Moderator: Joel Snyder, PhD, Founder and Senior Consultant, ACB Audio Description Project, Takoma Park, MD.
Panelists include: Brenna Nicely, Education and Engagement Director, American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, MA; Mary Hanks, Audio Describer, Houston Grand Opera, Houston, TX; Jess Curtis, Artistic Director, Jess Curtis/Gravity, San Francisco, CA; and Alice Shepherd, Artistic Director, Kinetic Light, London, UK.

5:30 PM to 6:45 PM: Amazon Sponsor Session
Audio Description at Amazon: Over the last few years, Amazon has made great strides in expanding the availability of audio description, now offering more titles with AD than any other streaming service. In this session, Amazon experts from Device Accessibility and Prime Video will discuss how they have been able to scale up audio description production, and the many advantages they anticipate this will have for customers who are blind or visually impaired.

7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
An Evening with ACB: Audio Description and Streaming Services
This industry panel features representatives from major streaming services to discuss their product's, programming, services, and offerings.
Moderator: Carl Richardson, Co-Chair, ACB Audio Description Project, Brighton, MA.
Panelists will include: Melanie Goodman, Lead Digital Supply Chain Specialist, HULU, Agoura Hills, CA; Martha Heller, Vice-president, Government Relations and Regulatory Counsel, Viacom CBS, Paramount+ Washington, DC; Sarah Herrlinger, Director, Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Apple, Cupertino, CA; Daniel Kocmarek, Sr., Manager, Prime Video, Seattle, WA; Mirka Pavlikova, Manager, Technical Production, Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, CA; Allison Smith, Globalization Innovation Manager, Netflix, Los Gatos, CA; Andy Larkin, Senior Manager, Accessibility, HBO Max, Chicago, IL; and Peacock with Thomas Wlodkowski, Vice President, Accessibility, Comcast, Philadelphia, PA.

Tuesday, July 20

4:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Podcasts Related to Audio Description
Meet the hosts of five podcasts featuring audio description, and learn how each got started, what they cover, and their plans for the future.
Moderator: Kim Charlson, Co-Chair, Audio Description Project, Watertown, MA.
Podcasts include:

Wednesday, July 21

4:00 PM to 5:15 PM: ADP/BRL/LUA Session
4:00 PM to 4:35 PM: Meet Judy Dixon, Writer, Arlington, VA
Judy has just authored Audio Description: What it is, Where to Find it, and how to Use it, published by National Braille Press. Learn about how she came to write this book, do her research, and ask your questions.

5:30 PM to 6:45 PM
Audio Description in the Out of Doors: National Park Service, the UniDescription Project, and the UniD App: This session features the National Park Service's work to bring audio description and increased access into park settings and highlights the NPS's collaboration with the University of Hawai'i's UniDescription Project to use its UniD app in U.S. and Canadian parks.
Moderator: Jo Lynn Bailey-Page, ACB Audio Description Project Coordinator. Panelists include: Brett Oppegaard, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Communications, University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Principal Investigator of the UniDescription Project, Honolulu, HI; Michele Hartley, Media Accessibility Coordinator, Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service, Harpers Ferry, WV; Holly Griesemer, Management and Program Analyst for the National Park Service Midwest Region: Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance and Accessibility Programs, Omaha, NE; and Clark Rachfal, Director, Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind (ACB), Alexandria, VA

Thursday, July 22

4:00 PM to 5:15 PM ADP/MCAC Session
Diversity: Describing Race, Skin Color, Ethnicity, Gender, and Disability in Contemporary Audio Description
Direct and thoughtful discussion by a panel of audio description experts on the importance of diversity within the field, how to describe in today's diverse world, and reflecting what consumers want to hear in their description.
Moderator: Kim Charlson, Audio Description Project Co-Chair, Watertown, MA.
Panelists: Dr. Rachel Hutchinson, Project and Community Engagement Manager, Royal Holloway, University of London, Inclusive Description for Equality and Access (IDEA) #InclusiveAD, London, UK; Thomas Reid, Reid My Mind Radio, Stroudsburg, PA; Cheryl Green, Audio Describer/Voicer, Portland, OR; Maria Vicky Diaz, Ph.D. , Dicapta Foundation, Oviedo, FL; and Renee Arrington-Johnson, Audio Description Consumer, Member, ACB ADP Steering Committee, Lyndhurst,, OH.

Friday, July 23

6:00 PM to 7:45 PM
Evening with ACB: Audio Description and Olympics Opening Ceremony Extravaganza
Pre-Show Olympic coverage spotlighting the process of providing audio description for the Olympics through interviews with NBC personnel responsible for delivering television coverage of the event, profiles of the audio describers, interviews with present and past paraolympians, the members of the U.S. Goalball team, and much more. Followed at 8:00 PM with the Olympic Opening Ceremony with audio description carried on all ACB media outlets, making one huge audio described "Watch Party". Our thanks to NBC for their collaboration on this event!

Our 2020 Conference

The 2020 Conference, originally scheduled for Schaumburg, IL, turned into a Virtual Conference due to COVID-19.  It was held as a virtual conference (via Zoom) from 9:30am to 9:30pm daily starting July 3.  The ADP Conference was held each afternoon Mon-Fri at various times, plus some pre-conference specials.  There was a minimal cost ($25-$35) to attend.  Here is the agenda (or read the detailed agendaClick on the links below to listen to the recorded audio or video.

Previous Conferences