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Seeing With Your Ears: Film and Television for Visually Impaired Audiences
Mariana Lopez and Gavin Kearney

  • Monday 13 June 2016, 6.00PM to 7:30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
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  • Holbeck Cinema, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York (map|getting to campus)
  • Wheelchair accessible. If you experience difficulty accessing the booking website please e-mail

Event details

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How can soundtracks for people who are visually impaired be made more engaging and spatially accurate? Join Mariana Lopez of Anglia Ruskin University and Gavin Kearney of the University of York to find out.  

Since the 1970s, Audio Description (AD) has been making visual content accessible to visually impaired people through sound.  In film and television a pre-recorded audio commentary provides information that clarifies the narrative, such as descriptions of actions, gestures and places.  Although digital technologies have been used to improve the mode of delivery of AD through the years, the notions behind its design have remained mostly unchanged, despite significant advancements in the field of digital sound production and postproduction.

Through an interactive talk, Mariana and Gavin will introduce you to the history of sound design and accessibility in film and television. They will explain how surround sound rendering, interactive media systems and first person narration can be used to create more engaging and spatially accurate soundtracks.  

About the speakers

Dr Mariana Lopez is a Postdoctoral Researcher with Anglia Ruskin University’s Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) Research Institute.  She is currently the principal investigator in the AHRC-funded project Enhancing Audio Description.  Her research is in the fields of sound design for film and television as well as acoustical heritage.

Dr Gavin Kearney is a Lecturer in Audio and Music Technology at the University of York. He is a member of the Department of Electronics’ Audio Lab, an innovative group of researchers dedicated to improving immersive sound experiences for a diverse range of applications including music, cinema, gaming, social media, cultural heritage, theatre and architectural acoustics. 

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