by Jeff Thom
Each year, at the ACB convention, the Audio Description Project (ADP) announces its annual award winners. These awards honor the people and organizations that make outstanding contributions to the quality, availability, and understanding of audio description. Selecting award winners is always a challenging process because of the quality of individuals involved in providing all of us with audio description. Thank you to all the members of the ADP Awards Subcommittee: ACB president Deb Cook Lewis, executive director Dan Spoone, Kim Charlson, Carl Richardson, Joel Snyder, and Pshon Barrett, with a special thank you to ADP Coordinator Tabitha Kenlon for all of her outstanding work.
The winner of the award for achievement in media by an individual was Debra Erickson, founder of the Blind Kitchen, which provides accessible cooking tools and tips to help people who are blind or have low vision cook safely, independently, and confidently. By including audio description on the Blind Kitchen’s videos, Chef Debra helps to address the needs of our community.
The winner of the award for achievement in museums by an individual was Karen Bergman, from the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. As Karen’s nominator put it, her audio description of artworks at the Guggenheim is “candy for the creative soul.”
The winner in achievement for museums by an organization was the North Carolina Museum of Art and its “Sensory Journey through Art” program. The museum’s amazing sensory journey includes both audio description and closed captioning.
A special award for achievement in museums was presented to Dr. Michelle Edwards of the National Museum of African American History and Culture for her audio-described virtual living history tour programs called History Alive.
The winner for achievement in the performing arts by an individual was Bonnie Barlow. Ms. Barlow has provided audio description for more than 2,450 live performances and consults with theaters across the country on establishing their own audio description programs.
The winner for achievement in performing arts by an organization was The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Las Vegas, Nev., for its audio description of that theater’s Broadway Series.
The winner of the Public Sector Award was the Space Telescope Science Institute. In 2022, that entity, which is a contractor with NASA, undertook a project to describe the universe using the data transmitted from the James Webb telescope, including audio description of planetary objects, galaxies, and star clusters.
This year’s International Award was presented to MovieReading, an Italian organization which has developed a unique technology for bringing access to individual devices in any theatre, without any technological change.
Last, but definitely not least, the winner of our final award, the Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description, was Dr. Joshua Miele. Blind himself, Mr. Miele has worked for many years to improve the availability and quality of audio description.