DR. JOHN M. KENNEDY
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
NARRATOR: Art Education for people who are blind or visually impaired has a strong theoretical foundation based on research. The researchers include sighted and blind scholars, neuroscientists, cognitive and developmental psychologists, and educators. Dr. John Kennedy of the University of Toronto is a long time collaborator with Art Beyond Sight.
DR. KENNEDY: We have a center in the brain; it might be up here at the top, the end wall of the human body. You can reach that center coming in through touch, you can also reach it coming in through vision, and if you don't have vision you can still reach it coming in through touch. That center deals with space, and shape, and form.
Often sighted people say, I'm imagining how things look. Half the time what they're really doing is imagining the space of things, the form of things. They're spatializing, not visualizing, and that spatializing you can do if you're blind or you can do it if you're sighted. It isn't visioning things, it's spatializing things in your mind. And blind people are curious about the whole history of the world and the whole history of art. We can make that available to blind people who have that curiosity.