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Audio Description International Conference 2002

Presented by
Audio Description International
and
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

March 23-24, 2002


Conference Welcome

Following brief introductory comments, Betty Siegel, Director of Access for the Kennedy Center, asked Joel Snyder, Chair of the ADI Conference Planning Committee, to welcome conference participants. Joel noted that what began as a relatively small gathering of folks interested in Audio Description (AD) in 1994 in Tempe, AZ has mushroomed to this event: almost 100 registrants from 18 states and the District of Columbia, four countries (the United States, Canada, England, and Scotland), with interest expressed from individuals in more than half of the 50 states and four additional countries.

He stressed that AD is no longer in its infancy. It is beginning to grow and grow up becoming more sophisticated, and in greater demand all over the world. New applications continue to emergein building literacy, with long-distance learning efforts, in offices and at conferences, as part of interactive computer games, on web sites, and as part of theatrical productions (as demonstrated by the New York City-based troupe Theater by the Blind). He also referenced new federal provisions in the United States, in particular Section 508 regarding government-produced media, and recently implemented Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that could affect all involved with AD.

He emphasized that the continued development of AD warrants a viable support entity, an organization that can regularly keep us abreast of issues, legislation, services, and funding available for AD, and can advocate for the field of audio description and the necessary accessibility it provides for people who are blind or have low vision and wish to participate more fully in their nation's culture.

He acknowledged the work of other Conference Planning Committee members (Betty Siegel, Jesse Minkert, Mari Griffin, and Conference facilitator Craig Dreeszen) and thanked all of the speakers/moderators, the keynote speakers, Anne Hornsby and Charlie Crawford, in particular.

Betty Siegel took the podium and offered her hope for the Conference as a vehicle for the "coming together" of myriad describers and users of description. All in attendance can be seen as "founding members" of a new, revitalized Audio Description International. She encouraged all to participate actively and be an important part of an organization that could affect access issues internationally.

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