Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings Making Podcasts Accessible

Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings describes her experience of Podcasts and what she would like to change about this popular format for information and  debate.

There is less print information and more online information in the digital world that is not accessible to deaf people. In the lockdown Podcast, listeners are accelerating. Podcast makers are ignoring deaf people. Podcasts are not accessible for theatre-makers, visual artists and craft makers who are deaf. Podcasts are a top-rated source of information, debate and influence on culture. Change is needed because deaf creative people miss out on fresh thinking and ideas, information, opportunities, and hot topics. There is a rich stream of culture that deaf people do not have access to at the moment. If Deaf people are to be part of the contemporary culture, they need full access to new online platforms. By accessing podcasts, Deaf people can continue to do artwork relevant to people’s issues, science, the environment, ethics, history and be part of society.

I want our research to set a benchmark for providing the correct format to make podcasts accessible. I aim to influence existing and new podcast makers, who are moving from online platforms like Instagram and switching to podcasts because of its popularity. Social media is moving towards the spoken word, without access for deaf people. For example, Clubhouse is an audio-only social media app where you can contribute to conversations, eavesdrop on others conversations and stir up conversations of your own. I want social media influencers to understand that deaf people feel left out and kept in the dark. I want Deaf people to be treated equally and access the same information, discussions, and debate about contemporary issues as everyone else. I also wish that deaf people learn what this new medium of podcasting can offer and make content.