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Volunteer with the audio recording centre

The Audio Recording Centre (ARC) is a purpose-built facility for producing audio recordings of module material and associated items for disabled students. The Centre was jointly founded in 1989 in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People. All reading is undertaken by volunteers both from the Open University and the local community. We currently offer over 120 Open University modules in DAISY Talking Book format and cater for around 6,500 print-disabled students.

How to volunteer

We are particularly looking for volunteers with knowledge of mathematics, science, technology and languages

Contact us at to request an introduction pack. Staff will then arrange an appointment for you to visit the centre at our Milton Keynes campus.

What happens on your first visit

Our aim is to ensure that students receive a good quality recording which is comfortable and easy to listen to. All new readers are given a test read on their first visit. This helps you get used to the environment and equipment and also introduces you to the way we work and assesses your ability to become a volunteer.

The test usually takes about an hour - it is fairly straightforward and most readers enjoy the experience.

How much time volunteering reading takes

Most volunteers read for one or two hours per week, but we are flexible and can arrange appointments to suit you. Readers who travel some distance to the Centre often like to read for a longer session.

What you'll be expected to read

The Centre has a vast range of subject matter to record, everything from art history to psychology. Knowledge of the subject material you are reading is especially useful, and if you have a particular interest we will try to match material to it.

Special skills to become a reader

Not necessarily. However, the following are important:

  • a good clear speaking voice with plenty of intonation
  • close attention to detail
  • the ability to read a variety of academic texts and adapt to reading in different styles (e.g. announcement style)
  • a willingness to undertake an initial training and pass the test read session
  • availability for a minimum of one hour per recording session on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly)
  • a willingness to attend up to three initial training and feedback sessions (dependent on an individual's progress).


We host training events and tours for readers. You'll be given individual training and offered as little or as much day-to-day support and guidance as you require by our friendly team.

Last updated 1 year ago