Spotlight on Inclusion: A chat with Dr. Marina Ramos Caro on Elevating Cultural Access with LiveVoice for the Blind in Murcia & Beyond.
Accessibility in cultural spaces remains an ongoing challenge, one that Dr. Marina Ramos Caro of the University of Murcia addresses through her LATRIUM project. This endeavor aims to enhance cultural experiences, particularly for the visually and hearing impaired. In this conversation, we discuss Marina’s approach, the real-world challenges of creating inclusive spaces, and how tools like LiveVoice can play a role. Join us for a candid look into the complexities and possibilities of cultural accessibility.
LiveVoice: Marina, thank you for joining us today. Could you begin by giving our readers an overview of LATRIUM and your role at the University of Murcia?
Marina Ramos Caro: Absolutely! I’m a researcher at the University of Murcia, focusing on accessibility for those with vision and hearing impairments. LATRIUM is a passion project that emerged from this work. Its goal is to promote access to culture for the blind in Murcia. Unfortunately, many blind individuals have grown accustomed to exclusion from cultural events, and we’re trying to change that narrative.
LiveVoice: That’s commendable. How successful has LATRIUM been in promoting inclusivity?
Marina Ramos Caro: We’ve made strides. Currently, AD services are available in two public and one private venue in Murcia. However, the steep costs of analogue AD equipment have presented challenges, especially for smaller theaters. But we were determined to offer AD as frequently as possible, even if only a few listened initially. Over time, we believed the demand would grow.
LiveVoice: What’s the reception been like for these AD offerings?
Marina Ramos Caro: While the uptake was initially slow, it’s essential to understand that blind and visually impaired individuals should have choices in cultural events just like anyone else. We believe that by consistently offering AD, we’ll see a growing demand. It’s a long-term vision.
LiveVoice: And your efforts eventually attracted attention from the Dispar Festival of Inclusive Culture in Zaragoza. Tell us about that.
Marina Ramos Caro: Oh, that was a significant turning point! The Dispar Festival is a unique event that focuses on the performing arts and celebrates diversity in all its forms. It’s a beacon for inclusive experiences, striving to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. They reached out to us because they wanted to offer AD throughout their programme. However, the challenge was that they couldn’t afford the necessary equipment, and transporting our equipment from Murcia to Zaragoza where the festival took place was not feasible.
LiveVoice: That sounds incredibly challenging. How did you navigate this?
Marina Ramos Caro: I always believed in technological solutions. With millions of apps available, I thought there must be something to address this. That’s when I discovered LiveVoice. It changed everything for us.
LiveVoice: How has LiveVoice made a difference?
Marina Ramos Caro: LiveVoice has revolutionized our approach. It offers an affordable and efficient way to stream AD without investing in expensive equipment. To give you an idea what the price difference is: the equipment is worth 60.000 EUR while LiveVoice cost us only 30 EUR for that event. We can now extend AD services to various venues. I see LiveVoice as a significant asset for our future events and a tool I’d recommend to everyone in this space.
LiveVoice: What’s on the horizon for LATRIUM?
Marina Ramos Caro: Our dream is straightforward: make AD commonplace. With LiveVoice, this dream seems more achievable than ever. We envision a world where blind and visually impaired individuals can freely choose their cultural events, and AD isn’t a luxury but a norm.
LiveVoice: Thank you, Marina, for this insightful conversation and for your relentless efforts towards inclusivity.