A selection of thought-leading papers highlighting the potential for communication technologies to transform the lives of people with disabilities were today announced as winners of the prestigious Telstra-Telecommunications Journal of Australia (TJA) Christopher Newell Prize for 2013.
Telstra’s Disability Programs Manager Bert Ciavarra said the awards went to discussion papers focused on subjects as diverse as public procurement, social networking and the effectiveness of providing subtitles for the deaf.
“The papers submitted this year provide yet more valuable evidence and material insights of how modern communications technologies can benefit people with disability,” Mr Ciavarra said.
“This is very much thought-leading stuff, discussion papers that include novel ways to improve access to information and communications technologies, adding to the range of accessible devices and applications in the market, and improvements to network capability brought about by the National Broadband Network and 4G mobile networks.”
Prize winners this year include:
· 1st prize ($10,000) to Gunela Astbrink from GSA InfoComm and Will Tibben from the University of Wollongong for their paper:“The role of public procurement in improving accessibility to ICT”; and,
· 2nd Prize ($3,000) to Parimala Raghavendra, Emma Grace, Lareen Newman, Denise Wood and Tim Connell from Flinders University, Novita Children’s Services, University of South Australia and Disability Services Australia for their paper “They think I’m really cool and nice: The impact of Internet support on the social networks of young people with disabilities.”
Equal 3rd Prize ($1,000 each) went to:
· Marion Hersh from Glasgow University for the paper “Deaf people’s experiences, attitudes and requirements of contextual subtitles: A two-country survey”. Marion’s paper makes the 2013 prize an international one; and
· Erin Wilson, Robert Campain, Megan Moore, Nick Hagiliassis, Jane McGillivray, Daniel Gottliebson, Michael Bink, Michelle Caldwell, Bob Cummins and Joe Graffam from Deakin University, Scope, et al for their paper “An accessible survey method: Increasing the participation of people with a disability in large sample social research”.
The annual prize recognises the ground-breaking work the late Revd Canon Dr Christopher Newell AM undertook within the telecommunications industry from 1990 to 2008 in representing the needs and aspirations of people with disability.
TJA Managing Editor Dr Peter Gerrand said he was delighted Telstra, which had sponsored the prize since 2010, had agreed to extend its sponsorship until at least 2014.
“This is further evidence of Telstra’s long term commitment to assisting people with disabilities,” Dr Garrand said.
This year’s judging panel included Dr Mark Bagshaw, Barry Dingle, Professor Gerard Goggin, Wayne Hawkins and Bert Ciavarra.
All six papers submitted will be included in the May 2013 issue of TJA, Vol. 63 No.2 – which for the first time is entirely devoted to the theme of 'telecommunications and disability' – available online at www.tja.org.au. All the papers in this special issue of TJA are made freely accessible online through Telstra’s sponsorship.