Inclusion and accessibility are higher on Europe's political and social agenda than ever before, and this has led broadcasters, film houses but also theatres and museums to start developing services to give people with disabilities access to their products and events. For blind and partially sighted people, audio description (AD) has been created, a service that describes visual and unclear sound elements for the visually impaired, so that they too know what is happening on screen or on stage. Within the academic discipline of translation studies, this evolution has given rise to the emergence of a new field of research, namely media accessibility. As far as audio description is concerned, research was initially focused on the question what should I to describe, and how should I describe (and present) it. One issue that has received much less attention so far is the effect that these audio descriptions have on the target audience, especially in terms of the cognitive load they induce.
CoRe AD wants to lay a solid foundation for cognitive research within media accessibility/audio description. Its primary aim is to investigate which (auditory) features in an audio described film or television programme contribute to the cognitive load imposed on the target audience. In a second phase, the project aims to create a model that researchers and audio describers can use to analyze what cognitive load specific audio descriptions induce and that hands them a tool to reduce/optimize that cognitive load. Finally, the usefulness of the model will be tested in a small-scale pilot study.