From Anne Millman, Director, Matthews Millman Ltd, Board Member, VocalEyes
I was very pleased to see the issues around Inclusive Marketing so high on the agenda in ArtsProfessional (Issue 129, 11 September). The points about research and data capture are particularly important; as far as I am aware there has been little mainstream investment of time and money in understanding the needs of, and keeping hold of, audiences who are blind or partially sighted, or deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.
But of course, before we can talk about marketing or data capture, the main issue is one of Inclusive Provision. Far too few of the UKs museums, galleries and performance venues are providing the essential services in the first place. And where there has been progress, there is still a tendency to treat these as optional extras. Having said that, VocalEyes is currently looking forward to its 500th audio described performance, so we know that many organisations have benefited from this pioneering work. And a joint project between VocalEyes and STAGETEXT is soon to be rolled out at theatres around the country over the next three years. These venues stand to become leaders in long-term, consistent Inclusive Provision, and I very much hope that other cultural providers will quickly follow suit.