My research project
Watching and Listening to Dance
I am a Postgraduate Research Student investigating audio description for dance from a textual and audience reception perspective.
In 2013 I completed a Masters in Audio Visual Translation at City University (London) with a dissertation on audio description for dance. After the MA I worked in the audio visual translation industry both as a project manager and as a subtitler. I then decided to change careers to pursue my passion for dance and started working for inclusive dance education charities. This rekindled my interest in dance accessibility and audio description for dance. I therefore applied for a PhD at the University of Surrey to explore this topic in further depth than I had been able to do for my MA dissertation.
My main research goals are to explore AD for dance from a textual and linguistic perspective, and to investigate the extent to which the experience of listening to the AD of a dance performance as a blind or partially sighted person compares to the experience of watching the same performance as a fully-sighted audience member.
This will be achieved by building a small dance AD multimodal corpus, from which to identify recurring patterns and features that provide insights into the describers’ translation strategies. It will include an exploration of the main lexico-grammatical and semantic features (from word frequency distribution, key words and co-occurrences to the behaviour of manually tagged features such as figurative and technical language).
The experiences of watching dance and of listening to its AD will be investigated through a reception study with sighted as well as blind and partially sighted participants, who will be shown dance video clips (without and with AD respectively) and asked to talk about their experience of the clips through a combination of questions and spontaneous comments. Data collected from the two sets of participants will then be compared, in order to investigate the extent to which the verbal rendition of dance replicates the visually-oriented experience.
Results from the linguistic analysis and the reception study will then be combined to define translation strategies that are most effective for dance AD with particular reference to lexicon, descriptive style and information load.