Our story began with Zara Bain.
As a disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent PhD student, Zara was forced to quit funded PhDs and teaching posts when university departments failed to provide accessible or reasonably accommodating work environments. She’s been forced to leave non-academic jobs because of inflexible employers who lacked capacity and understanding to support needs emerging from chronic illness. She has also experienced first hand the dilemmas around disclosure and accessibility encountered by many disabled and chronically ill job seekers balancing the demands of having to pay their bills against navigating professional cultures that, at best, can erase and ignore disabled experiences, and at worst, treat them with hostility.
Zara founded Academic Audio Transcription Ltd in 2017 as a way to pay her bills while avoiding some of these familiar challenges, and as a way of providing interesting, flexible, accessible, and fairly-paid work for the 20-25% of the population who, like her, were at significant risk of experiencing systematic marginalisation and exclusion due to being disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodivergent.
Five years later, Academic Audio Transcription Ltd (or AAT) is now a fully fledged small business with up to 25 active freelancers at any given time working across transcription, editing, quality control, and closed captioning services, as well as core teams of freelancers working on administration and operations, as well as marketing and communications.