‘Data-Driven Storytelling: Making Civic Data Accessible with Audio’ was a collaboration between Sonify, the Wichita Community Foundation and Envision Research Institute.
Wichita Community Foundation
Wichita Community Foundation – Founded in 1986, the Wichita Community Foundation’s mission is to be the catalyst that creates lasting legacies by partnering with people, families, and organizations to devote resources to causes that matter. Through WCF’s News and Information Initiative, the Foundation strives to create a more informed city by strengthening Wichita’s local news ecosystem. WCF is a public nonprofit organization with more than 300 charitable funds and agency endowments, representing $83 million.
WCF works to fulfill our mission by partnering with individuals and organizations in the community to devote resources to causes that matter. We believe local news is one of those causes.
“It’s not often that storytellers, technologists and applied researchers come together to problem solve ways to increase inclusivity and access to information. An even more exciting component of this work is that the blind or visually impaired community will be directly involved in the experimentation and findings of the work. The end result will be data-driven audio solutions we can all benefit from as consumers of information.”Courtney Bengtson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Wichita Community Foundation
Envision Research Institute
Envision – a Wichita based research institute focused on improving the quality of life and providing inspiration and opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research. The Envision Research Institute employs applied and translational research to devise technologies and methodologies, including wayfinding for Smart Cities.
What started as a small vocational workshop in Wichita in 1933 is now one of the most trusted resources for people who are blind or visually impaired, as well as for the professionals and caretakers who serve them. Source
“We are honored and excited to be part of this project, and grateful to the Knight Foundation for making it possible. Accessibility for all is a cornerstone of our mission. Combining our resources with the expertise in storytelling, technology and applied research represented by Sonify and the Wichita Community Foundation, we intend to establish clearer pathways through which to better engage with and benefit those we serve as a way to ultimately improve communities for all.”Ron Schuchard, PhD FARVO, Executive Director, Envision Research Institute
Sonify – a Vermont based company innovating at the intersection of audio, data and emerging technologies that provides training, production and R&D&I services to design and develop audio-first solutions for human-computer interaction. The mission of the company is to research and test methods to better communicate data with sound, to complement rather than replace visualization methods by adding the option of listening to amplify understanding.
Sonify’s projects include TwoTone, a free and open source web app supported by Google News Initiative that allows users to sonify a dataset without writing a single line of code. TwoTone is a fun and intuitive way to make your own data-driven compositions that doesn’t require any musical or technical knowledge. Source
“This ambitious year-long project allows us to test new approaches for communicating data with sound; through audio production, listening sessions, hands-on workshops and applied research. Through our partners in Wichita we have a unique opportunity to guide hyperlocal storytelling teams through a pioneering creative process with the active participation of advisors from the blind and visually impaired community. We are thankful for the support of the Knight Foundation and hope that this work can encourage other practitioners to include a broader range of perspectives in the development of future technology, design and policy.”Hugh McGrory, Co-Founder, Sonify