NYC Conference

Art Beyond Sight: Multimodal Approaches to Learning, Creativity and Communication

September 28-30, 2007

SESSION ABSTRACTS

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2007

10.05 – 10.45
Keynote
Stephen Kuusisto
Painting by Ear: A Reading and Conversation about the Aesthetic Compensations of Blindness.
Blind people are not casual listeners. From his early childhood on, Stephen Kuusisto recounts with a poet’s sense of detail the surprise that comes when we are actively listening to our surroundings. There is an art to eavesdropping. Kuusisto highlights the periods of childhood when a writer first becomes aware of his curiosity and imagination: as a boy he listened to Caruso records in his grandmother’s attic and spent hours in the New Hampshire woods learning the calls of birds. And as a grown man he visits cities around the world in order to discover the art of sightseeing by ear. Kuusisto writes, “In reality I cannot see the world by ear, I can only reinvent it for my own purposes.” And this is his remarkable tactic for both amusement and survival, allowing him to imagine, for example, the streets of New York “crowded with Russian ghosts and wheels that have broken loose from their carriages.” In Eavesdropping the reader is invited into Kuusisto’s world – American poetry, music, travel, and the art of eavesdropping – to share with him all there is to hear and even “see” in his unique celebration of a hearing life.

 

10.45 – 1.00 THE SENSES IN CONTEXT
Visual culture and dis/ability.
Nicholas Mirzoeff
In Visual Culture and Dis/ability, Nicholas Mirzoeff considers blindness and other forms of disability as constitutive of what disability theorist Leonard Davis has called 'dis-modernism' in the visual arts and in visual culture in general. Ranging from the iPhone to Descartes and contemporary art, the talk argues that the long-standing distinction between 'normal' forms of the senses and their 'pathological' others should be set aside in favor of a renewed emphasis on the qualitative aspects of imagination.

Artistic development and the senses.
Judith Burton
The Wisdom of the body in the visual arts
There is much in the visual arts that exists beyond the province of sight; if this were not true, we would be unable to engage with their deeper meanings. Yet, we need to ask from where this ability to engage with art beyond sight comes. This presentation argues that artistic development lays the foundation for this ability. Development, it suggests, occurs in overlapping and iterative phases originating in embodied-sensory knowledge of self and world which both lays the foundation for artistic-aesthetic abilities and provides much of the dynamic that helps move development forward. Two critical periods are discussed briefly: infancy and adolescence where embodied-sensory responses play significant roles in deepening the capacity to make and respond to art beyond sight. It is suggested that blind and partially sighted children may well follow the same trajectory, and that sighted individuals have much to learn from the experiences of the blind with touch, movement, and space.

Creativity and the senses.
Michael Hanson
In educational and organizational settings, we can think of creativity as an emergent commitment to new perspectives. Initially, this is a cognitive appreciation, exploration and evaluation of unusual perceptions on the part of the individual. Then it becomes a commitment by groups, organizations, and culture to expressions of those perceptions. In this discussion we explore some of the research on the importance of cross-modal thinking and unusual modal profiles in creative work, as well as some of the group processes that can affect the development and acceptance of new ideas. Also covered: practices that we can all consider as we build our own, distinctive, individual and organizational approaches to new perspectives.

Psychology and the senses.

Neuroscience and the Aesthetic Impulse.

 

2.15 – 3.30 MULTIMODAL LEARNING IN DIVERSE SETTINGS
Strategies for museums.
Waafa El Saddik
The Program for the Blind at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has had a program for the blind since 2003. As children compose the majority of visitors, coming from schools and other institutions, the program aims to provide them with an enjoyable learning experience. It consists of two parts: in the first part, the children are taken on a tour of the museum and taught about the history of ancient Egypt as they touch the objects for themselves. The second part consists of a workshop at which the children are given a variety of materials like clay to mold the objects they learned about as a method to instill the information they acquired. program for adults with vision is also available at the museum; it consists of a museum tour museum with explanations and touch objects.

Sandra Eastwood
The acronym of the Meaningful Access Program, MAP, at the Iziko South African National Gallery speaks of our process which is born of an on going perceptual journey, way finding, and exploration. An approach to art appreciation is built up through multi-sensory discussions and experiences, extended through dance, music, or drama, and then reinforced through related art workshops. Selected responses to works in the Picasso and Africa exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery in 2006, as well as exhibitions on view this year, are illustrated and discussed.

Leena Hannula
Art and creativity are essential for well-being. As a leading organization, the Finnish National Gallery, with its three museums – the Ateneum, Kiasma and Sinebrychoff Art Museum – upholds the standard and accessibility of Finnish culture and education. In the organization, there is access-related guidance and support to providers of cultural services. See www.cultureforall.info for more details.

Sinebrychoff Art Museum pays special attention to developing art and museum education and visitor services. One of the basic rules while dealing of accessibility issues is to make the action plan, learn about the target groups, define goals considering budget, and evaluate existing programs and approaches. As the smallest art museum within the National Gallery organization, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum has developed its own profile through drama education. This presentation focuses on the use of drama to transform the invisible to the visible in museum education.

Caro Howell
The popular perception of modern and contemporary art is that it is “difficult.” This description is used to cover a range of perceived sins, including work that does not automatically reveal its content or meaning, work that is not concerned with aesthetics, and work one generally would not want in one’s home. In other words, art that requires looking to be more than an ocular function, if meaningful engagement between viewer and artwork is to take place. The challenge has been to find ways to enable blind and partially sighted people to develop critical dialogues with works that are of and about themselves only, i.e., non-narrative, non-figurative and potentially either “untouchable,” or resistant to revealing their meaning through touch.

Strategies for libraries
Jenny Nilsson
Tactile picture books in Sweden
The Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB) has produced tactile picture books for children with different types of visual impairment since 1992. Since 2005, children with other types of impairment can also borrow these books. The TPB's tactile picture books are almost always based on an existing printed book. Picture books are of vital importance in a child's development and equally so for the child with visual impairment. Visually impaired children must have the same opportunities as sighted children of learning to understand and interpret pictures, both of objects and more abstract phenomena. Jenny Nilsson, children’s librarian at TPB, reveals how TPB selects the books that will become tactile picture books, production methods, and how they reach their readers.

William Reed
The Cleveland Library for the Blind has enjoyed a successful partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art. Three particular programs of interest were held to help foster art education and outreach to patrons of the Cleveland Library for the Blind, allowing patrons to handle actual pieces from the collections. Two of the programs were held at the Library for the Blind: “Masks: Around the World” and “Cool Knights: Armor from the Medieval Ages and Renaissance.” The third program was hosted at the Cleveland Museum of Art for the Library’s Braille Read-Together program on Ancient Egypt. This presentation includes photos with descriptions.

Oum Jeongsoon
Another Way of Seeing: Educational Art Project for Korean Visually Impaired Students
The art project Another Way of Seeing, organized by the Korean Art Association for the Blind (KAAB), was the first showcase art education for the visually impaired in South Korea. It began in 1997 with a number of volunteer artists working with blind children. For a decade, the project has advocated the necessity for art education for people who are visually impaired, and has suggested diverse methods of art creation and communication for them. The project has four programs: art workshops, exhibitions of art works, production and distribution of tactile-Braille art books, and museum visits. To improve the limited library experience of children who are visually impaired, the KAAB started to make tactile-braille art books and to distribute them to blind schools for no charge. The main goals of KAAB are the development of educational curricula as the alternative textbooks and the production of creative tactile-braille story books, respecting the methods of perception of children with visual impairments. Thanks to these efforts, the involvement of KAAB is increasing and is receiving government support to produce tactile-braille books for educational purposes.

Cultural Heritage and the Senses

Rochelle Roca-Hachem/Joel Chadabe
We are always experiencing the world around us through hearing and listening. And because we hear and listen to everything at the same time, to what's ahead of us, to our sides, and behind us, it is sound that gives us immediate information about the space we occupy. Environmental sound art explores, discovers, enhances, and/or transforms sounds, making the quotidian sounds of the world special, illuminating, and engaging. As with sound art and as with sounds in the real world, we experience the world through sound.

Kojiro Hirose
The Richness of Touch: The Paradoxical Meanings of Disability in Japanese Culture
My thematic exhibition, Touch And Grow Rich: You Can Touch Our Museum!, held at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan from March through September 2006, met a favorable reception. Mass media mentioned the exhibition many times, giving it a wide echo. The best possible reason of such action by mass media is, I suppose, that it was intended for people with visual impairments, who rarely had chances to visit museums. This presentation discusses the results of the exhibition from two points of view, which are barrier-free and free-barrier. Also covered: the history of Japanese blind people and the meanings of disability in Japanese culture.

 

4.00 – 5.15 INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO LEARNING AND ENVIRONMENTS

Public Spaces and Multisensory Design.
John Zeisel
Culture and art experiences serve to link everyone to their memories, creative abilities, and sense of self. This goes for those living with Alzheimer's as well as others. Standing in the way of Art as treatment for people living with Alzheimer's is the common view that after a diagnosis, the person ceases to exist. This presentation describes the brain's creative abilities – its ability to interpret the world around us creatively, as well as the hard-wired skills and memories that enable art experience to touch every one deeply. The presentation will end with a brief video of an art class and a museum visit that the speaker’s organization – Artists for Alzheimer's™ – has developed for this particular group of people.

Case Studies in Multimodal Approaches to Arts Access.
Francesca Rosenberg
This session will introduce multimodal learning approaches designed for various populations including individuals with learning, developmental, and physical disabilities, and people who are deaf. Panelists will discuss specific model programs that are based on learning from and about art.

Pamela Rogers
Neurodiversity and the Culture of Autism in the Arts.
There is a huge need for inclusion and access in the arts for the increasing numbers of people on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately not many art programs exist for beginning and serious artists who have autism in the NYC metropolitan area. Pure Vision Arts (PVA) is a non-for-profit art studio and gallery located in NYC for artists with autism and other developmental disabilities. PVA provides studio space, art materials, and exhibition opportunities to a growing number of artists who are garnering mainstream attention for their work. In addition, PVA organizes events to celebrate neurodiversity and to educate the public about the cultural contributions of people with autism.  PVA has made a short documentary film called Pure Visionaries/Artists on the Spectrum that features artists with autism speaking about their own creativity. The film will be shown and a DVD will also play images of art created by people with autism who attend Pure Vision Arts.

Fran Prezant
An innovative jazz program that provides access to the arts for students at the Henry Viscardi School, a program for children with severe physical and medical disabilities, will be discussed. Jazz teaching artists provide performances and residency programs for this population, modifying techniques and teaching methods to accommodate the needs of children who may not be able to participate in traditional ways. Residency artists receive disability awareness information and observe prior to working with students and their experiences impact future teaching practices. Also as part of the project, a professor of music education from Illinois State University spends a week working with students on adapted instruments and broadcasting back to college students at the university via two-way, live-time, interactive broadcasting. Also discussed: implications for modeling practices for future teachers, impacting current teaching artists, and providing access to the arts for students who might otherwise be excluded.

Debra Cole
The Language Program for the Deaf at the Siena School for Liberal Arts in Italy provides foreign language classes for Italians and Americans to develop biliteracy in both signed and written languages. Art is viewed as an important medium through which deaf students can study languages. Using Tuscan artworks as materials in language classes appears to reinforce and acknowledge deaf students as visual-language learners. The program debuted in June 2007 and will be repeated in 2008. Positive feedbacks were provided from the students and the staff. In her presentation, Ms. Cole discusses the effect the art has on the students’ language-learning experience. 

Soundscapes

Lou Giansante
Presentation of Art Beyond Sight’s new in-production Web site: New York Beyond Sight (www.nybeyondsight.org). On it, prominent New Yorkers describe their favorite works of art and culture, architecture, and city landmarks for people with visual impairments. In specially scripted and recorded audio segments, politicians, actors, artists, business and community leaders use Verbal Descriptionto make New York's visual culture accessible to all.

Edmund Mooney
Phonography, What is it and how do I use it
The session will begin with a refreshing listening exercise to cleanse the sensory palate, followed by a discussion on phonography, or the making of field sound recordings in a historical context, and relating to other technologically dependent mediums. Also included: brief descriptions of some of Mr. Mooney’s projects that utilize the practice of phonography with audio and graphical and video content. He will then recap with the results of the listening exercise.

Jeff Tancil
Presentation of Folk Songs for the Five Points – an interactive art project that uses sound to explore immigration, identity and nationality, as well as and the concept and evolution of urban neighborhoods. Created for the Tenement Museum and featured on the organization’s Web site, Folk Songs gives visitors tools to create their own compositions out of samples of the Lower East Side. Located at http://www.tenement.org/folksongs, the site has been used in classrooms and has received great acclaim as an aural snapshot of the neighborhood.

Martin Quinn
Communicating Detail and Texture in Works of Art Using Musical Encoding Techniques.
By translating artistic images into music, persons who are visually handicapped gain additional perceptual opportunities to understand the colors and textures present in a masterpiece. The same skills we use when we listen to music and our environment can now be employed to communicate art. Our approach scans the picture in some fashion, and translates color hue into instrument timbre, the brightness of pixel data into pitches out of a musical scale, and the saturation of color into subtle volume changes. By doing so, we let the art work speak for itself and generate sound so the end result is a musical expression, not noise. The music is directly related to what is contained in the image, therefore, if the same sonification design is applied to various images in the auditory domain, it is believed listeners can compare and contrast different works and styles of art. This work evolved out of a NASA Ideas grant for a new museum exhibit in development that will communicate imagery and data from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) Mission. Further study is required to determine the effectiveness and efficacy of communicating works of art in this fashion.

Sensualization: Embodied Sensory Imagination. An experiential workshop.
Dana Salisbury
Most verbal description is based on visual information and is presentational rather than interiorized. “Sensualization” (a word Ms. Salisbury coined, analogous to “visualization” but without reference to sight) embodies a scenario by placing it in the body’s imagination. Listeners are guided to imagine full physical engagement with an environment, real or fictive, using interior sensation to explore and interpret external information. The medium for understanding is the body. Drawing on the senses and sense memory, sensualization describes the elements in a scene or image through all the senses except sight. To gain access to information that can only be gathered visually, sensualizations permit the observer to imagine moving about the presumed space and interacting with the environment. Derived from my work as a choreographer, sensualization captures the essence of experience before it is translated into language. In this workshop, attendees are guided through several sensualizations and offered an opportunity to create one as a group.

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2007

10.00 – 11.-00 KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Alvaro Pascual Leone

11.00 – 1.00 THE SCIENCE OF THE SENSES: PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE

Experience shapes human brain development and function.
Helen Neville
For several years we have employed psychophysics, electrophysiological (ERP) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to study the development and plasticity of the human brain.  We have studied deaf and blind individuals, people who learned their first or second spoken or signed language at different ages, and children of different ages and of different cognitive capabilities. Over the course of this research we have observed that different brain systems and related functions display markedly different degrees or 'profiles' of neuroplasticity.
We have recently begun a program of research on the effects of different types of training on brain development and cognition in typically developing children of different ages. These studies will contribute to a basic understanding of the nature of human brain plasticity. In addition, they can contribute information of practical significance in the design and implementation of educational programs.

Brain plasticity, sensory substitution and integration, and the work of Paul Bach-y-Rita.
Yuri Danilov
Paul Bach-y-Rita was the pioneer in a field of sensory substitution and brain plasticity. In 1963-1968 he and his colleagues devised the first successful tactile vision substitution system. Developed in their spare time and with surplus equipment, it was a feat that earned them a paper in the journal Nature in 1969. The culmination of Bach-y-Rita’s sensory substitution research was realized in 1997, when he and his colleagues demonstrated the capacity of the tongue to discern patterns of electrical stimulation. Visual substitution systems operate by using an electronic camera to control the stimulation intensity on a spatially-corresponding matrix of electrical tactile stimulators on the surface of the tongue skin.

The vestibular electrotactile sensory substitution device, developed on the same principals, is the only effective treatment for bilateral vestibular dysfunction, which results in disabling balance and visual disturbances and affects tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone.

Vision meets touch in the human brain.

Krish Sathian
It is now well established that extra striate visual cortical areas specialized for processing particular aspects of visual stimuli are also recruited for processing the corresponding aspects of tactile stimuli. This may be due to visual imagery of the tactile stimuli, or to multisensory representations in visual cortex. We propose the existence of a high-level, modality- and viewpoint-independent representation of object shape in the right lateral occipital complex. Fine tactile spatial discrimination at the limit of acuity, in contrast, appears to depend on activity and connectivity of posteromedial parietal cortex in the sighted. In the blind, although there is increased activity in visual cortical areas, it is early somatosensory cortical activity that seems to best predict fine tactile spatial performance.

Metaphoric pictures devised by an early-blind adult on her own initiative.

John Kennedy
EW, a totally-blind adult, was encouraged to draw. Three years later, she took a sketchpad on a vacation trip to Mexico and made a series of drawings. In these pictures, objects such a glass or a person swimming are drawn in a realistic manner in which lines stand for surface edges, and the shapes copy parts of the true forms (Willats, 2005) of the objects. Of major interest, EW made drawings in which the lines and forms stood for the effect of the alcoholic liquid in the glass, the taste of a hot pepper, the sound of a trumpet and the feeling of water running through the fingers of the swimmer. It is suggested that EW has invented apt metaphoric devices on her own initiative.

 

3.30 – 4.45
Technology and the Senses

Aimee Arnoldussen
BrainPort® Vision Substitution
For those who are blind, the BrainPort® vision device enables perception of visual information using the tongue as a substitute for the eye. With just a few hours of training, BrainPort users form a spatial reference, mapping touch information on the tongue to their environment. Participants are able to detect shapes, identify motion, report contrast differences and depth cues. Remarkably, users are able to use this information to guide their behavior in ways that other assistive technologies cannot provide. These examples illustrate BrainPort’s significant potential for impacting safety and quality of life for those who are blind or have low vision.

John Gardner
Two-dimensional graphical information can be made accessible to blind people with "audio/touch". A good quality image of a painting is imported into the ViewPlus IVEO Creator application and saved as an IVEO Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) computer file. A tactile image is created and place on a touchpad connected to the computer where the image is being viewed with the IVEO Viewer application. A blind person can feel the image and press down for information.  When printed on Emprint SpotDot, the color image is printed in ink, and the tactile image is embossed. The tactile image is basically an artist rendition of how an image should feel tactually and can have myriad interpretations. This is a technology in its infancy with many exciting possibilities for future Art Beyond Sight.

Steven Landau
Multi-sensory Displays in Universal Design Museum Exhibits
Touch Graphics, Inc. has developed methods for producing museum exhibits that provide information through multiple sense-channels, as a means of building comprehension and accessibility. These techniques call for combining content via visuals, sound, and tactile and proprioceptive stimulus. The resulting exhibits are engaging and fun to use for members of the general public, while at the same time open up opportunities for participation by visitors who are disabled. Examples will be presented from several projects, including ones at the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Hall of Science, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Audience members will be invited to try samples of these systems.

Carlos Mourão Pereira
Four recent architectural works of Carlos Mourão Pereira’s blind phase are presented, and can be divided into two correlated groups. One explores sensorial space and sustainability; the other explores sensorial space and universal design. The first three projects show the potential of the communicability between indoor and outdoor spaces, as a sensorial regulation of psychophysiological comfort, in a sustainable perspective. They pertain to shopping, office, and housing designs. A fourth project is presented as a natural environment for the needs of all users, in the form of a leisure and cultural public space, with an inclusive design perspective.

Art and the five senses.

Roz Driscoll
The sense of touch is deeply compatible with the experience of art, for both artist and viewer. Like art, touch functions on a continuum between objective and subjective, providing knowledge about the object and knowledge about our selves. The sense of touch generates meanings that emerge from the body as well as the mind. Touch is not only an alternative for people with visual limitations, but also a rich form of knowing that enhances the experience of art for everyone. Through touch art becomes choreography, the artist a choreographer, and viewing a dance.

Elizabeth Goldring
My disintegrating sight and frequent bouts of blindness inspired me to turn to visual poetry and to become a visual artist I wanted to capture my emerging inner and outer vistas because I found them amazing and even amusing in a surreal sense. (At that time I happened to be teaching a seminar in Dada and Surrealist poetry at MIT.) I was determined to share these experiences of seeing any way I could: through video, interactive video installations, visual language and “retina prints.” Increasingly I also wanted to give others like me, who were blind or almost blind, the gift of sight – the chance to see and the inspiration to create artworks, even visual artworks. To accomplish these ends I worked with scientists, engineers, physicians and students at Harvard and MIT to develop what I call ‘seeing machines’. Initially I used these ‘seeing machines’ to look at my visual language, paintings and other visual phenomena and to pre-visit buildings and landscapes. The ‘seeing machines’ can facilitate looking at images of outer space, the face of a friend, the eye of a dragonfly or the unfolding of a night-blooming cereus. I am especially excited about our most recent prototype: a seeing-machine camera that will enable me to participate in my first “photo safari.” http://web.mit.edu/veb/index.html

Nitza Horner
Using a Power Point presentation, I will share how my experience as an educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art stimulates interactions and inner actions with diverse population of people who are open, receptive, and responsive to a multi-sensory approach. I hope to demonstrate that art and art history can be used as an amazing instrument to connect us with others and self.

Michael A. Naranjo
I am a professional artist who happens to be totally blind.  Asking me to “look at” (touch) sculpture with gloves on is like taking a sighted person into a painting gallery and dimming the lights.  In my presentation, I plan to share some of my personal experiences trying to get access to art, as well as how I am going about making my work accessible to others.

The Science of Creativity: Psychology and Neuroscience for Educators.

Linda Pring
Creativity, imagery and learning characteristics: A sensory processing perspective
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders have a cognitive thinking style that involves unusual attention focus with enhanced perceptual function (Mottram et al., 2006) and creative, talented performance can follow from this (Pring, 2005). In the case of cognition in visual impairment (VI) and its impact on development and cognitive style, the picture is harder to assess. In this paper subjective imagery in visual impairment is considered in relation to cognition, and some of our research with savants is also described. Finally, a study of learning and memory for different types of material (pictorial and factual) offered by audio commentaries and tactile drawings associated with individual paintings is described. Overall, it is argued that in respect to thinking style there are probably more similarities than differences in people with and without vision and that unsurprisingly perhaps, the source of information, be it auditory or tactual, has an impact on memory for different kinds of artistic material.
Pring, L. (2005) Savant Syndrome Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology .47 (7):500-3. Mottron, L., Dawson. M, Souliers. I, Hubert. B & Burack. A (2006) Enhanced Perceptual Functioning in Autism: An Update, and Eight Principles of Autistic Perception.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-17.

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2007

10.00 – 11.15
Strategies for Museums II.
Maribeth Flynn
‘I get by with a little help from my friends: working with collaborators.’
This presentation discusses of the value of working with collaborators and using already existing programs and projects as platforms for developing new services for blind and visually impaired museum visitors.

Elizabeth Sweeney
Her presentation will provide an overview of the accessibility programs at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photograph (CMCP), as well as discuss in greater detail her observations of the pilot program titled, Stimulating the Senses.

Hollie Ecker
The Project “Bringing the Museum to the Classroom and the Classroom to the Museum” of the Roberto Wirth Fund Onlus (RWF) proposes to make art and the museums more accessible to deaf children in a framework of full integration.  The project focuses on the relationship between art as a form of visual expression and Italian Sign Language (LIS) as a visual language, and how sign language can enhance the art experience for deaf and hearing children. Experiencing the relationship between art and sign language opens new perspectives in both fields. This forum discusses methods and strategies designed to improve the current situation.

Technology and the Senses II.

Caro Howell
Online art resources for blind and partially sighted people can offer not only opportunities for self-led learning undertaken at a pace that suits each user, but also integrated learning and an equality of experience for visually impaired students working alongside sighted peers. Projects such as i-Map, www.tate.org.uk/imap, are based on action research and pedagogy developed within the museum and with visually impaired users. As a result, many of the techniques developed contradict traditional ‘Web truths’ in terms of accessibility or usability. While the idea of tailor-made provision for live audiences is a given within cultural institutions, it is less common in relation to online resources, especially those directed at disabled audiences. The success of i-Map would suggest that there is demand that needs to be addressed.

Jaime Sánchez
Audio can play a relevant role in substituting the loss of vision for learning and cognition purposes. As a result of several full-experimental settings using audio-based virtual environments to enhance learning and cognition in blind children in real school settings, we have come across with the research-proof idea of discovering and learning worlds with sound by knowing and perceiving through the sense of hearing.

Finally, new research questions arise concerning how the brain rewires itself to process increasing input information from audio cues using interactive virtual environments following visual deprivation, how interactive audio-based virtual environments can trigger brain organizational changes to represent the world of those without the benefit of sight, and how these changes at the level of the brain may represent the neurophysiological basis for some of the outstanding learning and cognitive abilities observed in the blind when interacting with interactive digital devices.

Josh Miele
It has long been understood that tactile graphics and models are extremely helpful in communicating information about such things as maps, floor plans, and large objects to blind and visually impaired people. Recent developments in a variety of positional and touch-sensitive technologies have enabled the creation of multimodal tactile figures and models which can provide audio or refreshable braille feedback during haptic exploration. Nevertheless, the availability of such multimodal materials is still relatively limited due to difficulties in production and distribution. Based on his current projects involving downloadable tactile street maps (TMAP), and a new smartpen-based approach to audio/tactile graphics (dPATg), Dr. Miele shares the potential for a new generation of high-quality, inexpensive, downloadable, multimodal graphics and models using digital-pen technology.

Responding to Art through Dance and Movement Workshop.

Suzette Neptune and Susan Norwood

Project Volume specializes in working with dancers with developmental disabilities. The workshop shows methods used when working with people with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and inclusive settings. It explores how ideas and concepts from art can be practically explored through dance. The group uses visual art as a stimulus for the creation of a shared movement vocabulary. The six sensory channels for perception of movement are explored to create equity of experience. No experience of dance required.

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