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Creating Audio Description: Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

Explore how to design and create audio descriptions and audio introductions that fully represent a film, play, or TV programme.

2,066 enrolled on this course

a young black woman in 3 poses: she uses her hands to cover first her ears, then her eyes, then her mouth.

Creating Audio Description: Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion

2,066 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Design inclusive audio descriptions for film, theatre, and TV

Audio description (AD) is a key means by which the full diversity of a programme, film, or live performance can be conveyed, allowing for greater participation and engagement from audiences.

On this course, you’ll discover how to approach creating inclusive audio description that encapsulates and promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

Improve your cultural awareness training for film, TV, and theatre

You’ll assess how audio introduction and audio description play a vital role in the promotion and communication of EDI to the audience, building your cultural awareness and competency in the process.

Learn how to describe the role and value of inclusive audio descriptions and introductions to a range of arts stakeholders, including audiences, theatre professionals, and funders.

Examine the audio description experience from different perspectives

Assessing the part audio description plays in the promotion and communication of EDI, you’ll examine audio description from both a describer and a performer’s perspective.

You’ll evaluate insights from multiple individuals (including blind/partially blind audience members, audio describers, and theatre professionals) and reflect on your own understanding of EDI.

Study EDI with experts at Royal Holloway, University of London

After conducting the 2019-2020 research project and subsequent report ‘Describing Diversity’ about diversity in audio description and audio introduction in theatre, educators at Royal Holloway are well placed to guide you in the nuance of this topic.

This course brings together the best practices, case studies, and learning resources from this research, allowing you to approach diversity in theatre and beyond with practical tools and enhanced confidence.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds FutureLearn and Royal Holloway University presents Creating Audio Description– Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. Hello. I’m Hannah Thompson from Royal Holloway. I’m a white woman in my late 40s. I’m wearing a black dress, and I’m carrying a white cane. In film, television, and theatre, a huge range of professionals from casting directors to costume designers, makeup artists to location managers, spend a lot of time and money creating the perfect look for their production. An important part of this work is ensuring that the rich diversity of 21st century society is captured on stage and screen. Representing people of different ages, genders, races, and body shapes, as well as disabled and nondisabled people is at the heart of inclusive casting. I’m a translation studies specialist.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 seconds I’m partially blind, and I’m passionate about audio description. Join me in this course as we explore how to describe diversity. We will ask what is at stake when we choose to describe or to not describe an actor’s physical appearance. There are several ways to describe this image. We could say that it shows a person in three different poses, using their hands to cover first their ears, then their eyes, then their mouth. But what happens if we say it’s a Black person, or a Black woman, or a young, Black woman? The language we choose to use matters because every word creates a different impression. Every word carries a range of meanings which are often unwittingly communicated to audio description users.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds Join me in this course as we explore how audio description can navigate these pitfalls in ethical and inclusive ways. Royal Holloway University, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and VocalEyes.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to AD: What are Inclusive Audio Introductions and Audio Descriptions?
  • The AD experience: a user’s perspective
  • Describing Diversity: The relationship between the AI / AD and the representation of diversity on stage/screen
  • The AD experience: a describer’s perspective
  • The AD experience: a performer’s perspective
  • Principles and Practice: How to create an inclusive Audio Description
  • Tools for Building Cultural Awareness and Competency

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the value of inclusive audio descriptions and introductions to a range of stakeholders including audiences, theatre professionals and funders
  • Demonstrate the role of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the development and delivery of film/theatre audio introductions and audio descriptions
  • Assess the role of the audio introduction and the audio description in the promotion and communication of equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Design inclusive audio descriptions and audio introductions for a range of media
  • Evaluate insights from multiple stakeholders (blind/partially blind audience members, audio describers, theatre professionals)
  • Reflect on their own understanding of equality, diversity and inclusivity in their own and others’ audio descriptions and audio introductions

Who is the course for?

This cultural awareness course would appeal to professionals working in the creative industries (including film and TV producers and commissioners), audio describers who want to work in theatre AD or enhance their existing knowledge, and theatre professionals.

Who will you learn with?

I'm a partially blind white woman in my late forties. In this image i am wearing glasses and smiling. I am a Professor of French and Critical Disability Studies and passionate about audio description.

I am a white woman in my early 40s. I am wearing black glasses and smiling in this photo. I am a researcher specialising in Audio Description.

Who developed the course?

Royal Holloway, University of London

Queen Victoria presided over the grand opening of Royal Holloway in 1886. Since then the College has continued to grow in size and status to become one of the top research-led institutions in the UK.

Vocal Eyes

VocalEyes brings art and culture to life for blind and visually impaired people at theatres, museums, galleries, heritage sites and online through audio description.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 18 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
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Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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