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At the British Museum, Jodi worked to ensure that the British Museum’s COMPASS website was accessible to all. She developed a text-only version of COMPASS, organised testing of the system by blind and partially sighted users and worked with the system developers on changes informed by the testing process.
She also worked on accessible text descriptions, which fed into the development of content on children’s COMPASS. She made sure that there were desks of variable height at the former British Library Reading Room, making it accessible to wheelchair users.
At the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Jodi promoted audio description in the theatre for visually impaired people. Weakened by cancer during her last months, she rallied enormous energy to complete an important research report into how theatres manage audio description services. The report looked at how theatres provide front-of-house staff training, how they integrate describers into their work, what technology they use, what training they receive, how visually impaired people are involved and how the service is marketed.
Her former colleagues remember her for her enormous energy and winning enthusiasm. Jodi could also be unflinching in her insistence that access for disabled people has to be part of the design brief of any service.
Throughout her short career, Jodi believed that organisations need to change and involve disabled people to provide equal service to disabled people. In her work, Jodi exemplified the power of personal engagement to transform reality.
The Jodi Awards celebrate practice that inspires locally, nationally or internationally. We welcome nominations from all kinds of projects, small and big, low-tech and hi-tech and for small and large audiences. What counts is the value of your project and the quality of your engagement with disabled people.
The awards are about disabled people gaining access to information, collections, learning and creativity. They are for museums, galleries, libraries, archives, heritage venues and disability organisations which use digital technology to provide a shared experience for disabled people.
Previous Winners talk about enhanced recognition, new partnerships, funding opportunities and developments.
The Jodi Awards were set up by the Museums Computer Group in 2002. The first award was announced at an RNIB conference in 2003. The judging panel included Fiona Marshall, who had been Jodi’s line manager at the British Museum, Marcus Weisen, a colleague of Jodi's at RNIB and Nick Poole, today's Collections Trust Director, who were then working for MLA.
Trustees Matthew Cock and Ross Parry were founder members of the Jodi Awards Committee in 2006 and of the Jodi Mattes Trust in 2008. Marcus Weisen became the Trust's first Director.
The Awards were extended to Wales in 2006, when CyMAL became a supporting organisation. They were extended to Scotland on 2008, thanks to the support of Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Libraries and Information Council and the Scottish Archive Network. The Awards are now UK-wide.
The first International Award was given in 2009.