This project is part of the Museum’s Community & Audience Development Inclusion programme, and is managed by Inclusion Officer Lucie Fitton.
“Here at the Museum of London we wanted to do two things through this project. One, make a step towards providing more resources for our visually impaired visitors (existing and potential). Two, by working with a group of real Londoners (by that we mean normal people living in this city, and not museum staff or specialists) to create them, we would be offering an interpretation of the collections that would be relevant and interesting to more people. Yes, these podcasts aim to describe museum objects to people who may not be able to see them clearly, but by opening your ears everyone can understand London’s story in a new way.
It was a huge task for anyone, let alone a group of people who hadn’t met, hadn’t visited the Museum before, hadn’t created audio description and hadn’t used recording and editing technology. The 10 podcasts were created in eight weeks, with just one day of workshop time each week.
Luckily we had some fantastic help from the experts. A couple of our curators showed the group around the galleries and provided invaluable advice about the objects. We then had training with Vocaleyes who showed us the basics of describing for visually impaired people. We also got the chance to meet Kirin, who is visually impaired and helped dispel myths around what it is like. Once the scripts were written we then worked with podcast producers from SoundDelivery to record and edit the final podcast. It was lots of hard work, but great fun.
Through sweat, tears, elbow grease and a lot of fun, the group have achieved 10 fantastic podcasts – five for the London before London gallery (about prehistoric London) and five for the medieval gallery.
In the London before London gallery visitors will be able to hear about these past communities utilised the natural resources to amazing effect – flint hand axes, wooden clubs, antler combs, clay pots and bronze spearheads.
Listening to the medieval podcasts, visitors will hear about everyday life in the Anglo Saxon replica home, the importance of the church with the model of the Norman St Paulâ€™s cathedral, attitudes to death with the grave slab that covered the heart of Joan de st Edmunds, the lives of immigrant Jewish people in the 11th century through a Sabbath lamp and the importance of trade with the impressive arms of the Hanseatic League.
The seven participants of this project come from a wide variety of backgrounds and had many skills and talents to add to this project. We hope they walk away with many more. Thanks to Charles Clark, Ivan Bello, James Kelly, Keith Allen, Liam McAtamney, Simon Allen and Warren Thompson. Also a big thank you to Tony and Kirin from Vocaleyes, and Jude, Mark and Lee from SoundDelivery.
You can also see some photos from the workshops.