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> > > Disability Arts Online Highly Commended in 2009 Jodi Awards at the V&A, London
group photo of Jodi award winners Jon Pratty

Group photo of Jodi Award winners at the presentation at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Photo Jon Pratty/dao

Image: Jon Pratty

Disability Arts Online has won its first national accolade. The site was highly commended at the Jodi Awards, given on December 2, 2009 at the Sackler Centre at the V&A in London. The national and international Jodi Awards celebrate the best use of digital technology in the service of access to culture for disabled people.

Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Inclusion Champion, presenting the Awards, paid tribute to Jodi Award winners and sites shortlisted and commended.

"I am enthused by the sheer creativity and responsiveness of the Jodi Award winners,” said Martha. “The Awards are hugely inspiring. They showcase many ways of digital inclusion for disabled people, who have a right to the same choices and benefits that those who take digital media for granted do."

Disability Arts Online were Highly Commended in the Digital Access Online Award, and the judges said the following about dao: “Disability Arts Online is thoughtfully designed for accessibility. It serves and brings together the vibrant disability arts community. It has many options for font size and background colour and a text only version.”

“It has an arty, lively and busy look, which reflects the vitality of the people who shape its content and identity. A whole community takes part in this and raises questions about disability identity and society through art, poetry, criticism and debate.”

photo shows two men on a stage with one of them talking into a microphone

Jon Pratty, Manager of dao, on the left, and Colin Hambrook, Editor of dao, on the right, accept the Highly Commended certificate from Martha Lane Fox at the 2009 Jodi Awards. Photo courtesy Sarah Pickthall/Cuspinc

“We’re completely thrilled to win this recognition from the Jodi Awards judging panel,” said Disability Arts Online manager, Jon Pratty. “It’s recognition for all the hard work done over the last few years by our fantastic team of artists, bloggers, poets, volunteers; above all it recognises Colin Hambrook [Editor of dao] and his dedication and deep commitment to disability arts and this site.”

Since the redesign and relaunch of dao in summer 2009, the site has really taken off. As of November 2009, at least 6000 visitors explore the site each month, and they read around 18,000 pages on the site.

“The massive growth in traffic on dao – currently rising by 1000 visitors per month – just shows there’s a big audience for accessible web content about Deaf and Disabled culture. It’s a great result that is all thanks to our Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England, given in 2007.”

The annual Jodi Awards are named in memory of Jodi Mattes (1973-2001), a tireless champion of equal access to culture for disabled people. Jodi worked at the British Museum and then at the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

First given in 2003 to museums, galleries, libraries, archives, heritage venues and disability organisations, the Awards have been extended for 2009 to arts organisations and individual artists. The new International Award for Digital Access Online was given for the first time in this year’s awards.

West Sussex web site Blue Touch Paper Carnival was also shortlisted for a Jodi Award. Blue Touch Paper is an inclusive carnival project, making carnival accessible to disabled people with a particular emphasis on people with learning disabilities. It was developed by Cusp inc for West Sussex County Council.

Winners of the 2009 Jodi Awards

Digital Access Online (low budget)
Sally Booth

Digital Access Online
Podcasts from the Past, Museum of London

Highly Commended, Digital Access Online
Disability Arts Online

Digital Access Onsite
Audio Guide for visually impaired visitors, Imperial War Museum Duxford and Antenna Audio

Digital Access for People with a Learning Disability
Across the Board: autism support for families Leeds Library and Information Service

Digital Access Online - International Joint Award

Regional Library of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Dedicon, The Netherlands.

This year’s Jodi Awards were a joint event with the Museums Computer Group, the UK national forum for museum, gallery, archive and related professionals working with new technologies and new media:

The Jodi Awards 2009 are supported by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA); CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, a division of the Welsh Assembly Government; Museums Galleries Scotland; Scottish Archive Network, Scottish Library and Information Council; and, in kind by the Human-Computer Interaction Research Group at the University of York, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Culture24.

The Jodi Awards website was sponsored by Earnscliffe - Making Access Work.