The Battle of Naseby – on your smartphone

Posted by pt91 at Aug 11, 2011 11:55 AM |
New audio tour brings history to life for the visually-impaired

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 11 August 2011

The Naseby Battlefield Project has introduced a new series of innovative audio tours to allow visually-impaired visitors to appreciate the landscape and environment of this crucial battle of the English Civil War.

By taking advantage of mobile technologies blind and partially-sighted visitors will now be able to experience the battle of 1645 in the same detail as fully-sighted visitors.

Research from the University of Leicester’s Centre for English Local History and Nottingham Trent University forms the basis of the tour and it is funded by MLA Renaissance East Midlands. Leicester-based Watch This Space produced the audio tracks with advice and approval from the Northamptonshire Association for the Blind.

The audio tracks are downloaded from www.naseby.com to a device such as an MP3 player or smartphone. They can then be played back as visitors are guided through the eight viewpoints of the six mile Battlefield Trail, complete with sound effects.

The Project has already had great success with its first audio tours which were scripted, cast and performed by students at Abbeyfield Performing Arts Specialist School in Northampton and narrated by Robert Hardy, CBE.

Deputy Chairman Martin Marix Evans, a Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester, said “The creation of 'The Sound of Battle', our first audio production, served a particular audience, notable secondary school students, very well, but being aware of my mother-in-law's growing limitation of sight, it was apparent to me that restricted sight visitors needed something directed to them.”

The Naseby Battlefield Project is working to preserve the heritage of Naseby, the site which saw Charles I’s field army destroyed and led to the overthrow of autocratic monarchy in Britain – a milestone on the road to democracy. It provides online educational materials for Key Stage 3 learners and works closely with local schools, museums and other historical sites.

Anne Haddon, a trustee of the Naseby Battlefield Project, said “There are plenty of Interpretation Boards at each site, plus a Battlefield Trail leaflet with descriptions of each site and a map. Obviously they are of no use to those who are unable to read.”

“It seems to be clear and well-received so far. There are plans to extend the audio facility to include such things as bird song at some of the sites.”

Martin Marix Evans added, “The needs of the less able will again be a major consideration in our plans for a new visitor centre which recently received approval, which we will be launching a major fund-raising drive for in the near future.”

Notes to editors:

For more information contact Martin Marix Evans on 01327 861300 and martin@naseby.com.

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