NYC Conference

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

September 28-30, 2007



Sofie Andersen, Antenna Audio 

As the Senior Creative Manager for Antenna Audio (a Discovery Communications company), Sofie Andersen oversees the development, writing and production of audio programs, podcasts and multimedia tours for museums and cultural heritage sites in the U.S. and in South America. She works primarily for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, National Parks Conservancy and Yale University Art Gallery. Ms. Andersen has more than nine years experience in audio and exhibition interpretation, including programming for families and young people, blind and partially sighted visitors, wheelchair users, and audiences with developmental disabilities. She also develops multilingual tours in English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin and Danish. She holds a BA Honors in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.


Maria-José Anía, COM ACCESS

Maria-José Anía has degrees in Journalism from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and in translation from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She has had extensive experience in both management and communication within the field of cultural tourism. Maria-Jose and Monica Suris are partners at COM ACCESS, a firm based in Barcelona, Spain


Aimee Arnoldussen, Wicab BrainPort

Aimee Arnoldussen is a specialist in BrainPort® vision substitution applications. She received her BA at University of California, San Diego where she first became interested in neuroscience and the study of the brain. She completed an internship at Stanford University with the Archimedes project, where she was introduced to the important ways that properly applied technology could benefit everyone including those with disabilities. She earned an MA from University of Southern California and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is a principal investigator for two National Institute of Health (NIH) grants assessing the feasibility of the BrainPort device as an assistive device.



Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel, Founder and Executive Director of Art Beyond Sight (ABS)

Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel is the Executive Director of Art Beyond Sight (ABS), a nonprofit organization that she founded in 1987. While leading ABS, Ms. Axel also served for 15 years as Senior Lecturer and Curriculum Developer at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ms. Axel presented nationally at conferences of the American Association of Museums and of the National Art Educators Association. She is the Editor-in-Chief of ABS’s Art History Through Touch and Sound, a unique multi-sensory art encyclopedia. ABS’s methodology and expertise became the foundation for another publication: Art Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment that she co-edited. Considered authoritative for professionals in this field, it was co-published with the American Foundation for the Blind. Ms. Axel has trained staff and educators in art education and accessibility issues at such varied institutions as the Smithsonian Institution, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), John and Mable Ringling Museum, Birmingham Museum, and California School for the Blind, just to name a few. She has served on the Board of Directors of United Jewish Appeal Leadership Development Division, the Associated Blind, a housing and rehabilitation facility, and the Mayor’s Office for the Handicapped (now the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities).




Carrie Banks, Brooklyn Public Library

Carrie Banks has been the Director of The Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs since 1997. She serves on Brooklyn Public Library’s Children’s (BPL) Steering Committee; chairs the Schneider Family Book Award Committee; and is a past chair of the Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers Committee of the American Library Association’s children’s services division; and sits on the Deaf Services Roundtable of the Special Library Division of the American Library Association (ALA). She is currently serving on a committee to draft national guidelines for servicing people with disabilities in public libraries.  Children and Libraries, a journal of the ALA, published an article by Ms. Banks on Our Garden Club. Her article on resources for Spanish-speaking parents of children with disabilities will appear in the journal’s Winter 2008 issue. She also wrote a chapter about The Child’s Place for the book From Outreach to Equity. She has conducted inclusion training for BPL, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Read America, among others.  Before coming to BPL, Ms. Banks worked at New York Public Library. Her extensive background in juvenile special needs began in high school and college, and includes working with children with dyslexia, pediatric psychiatric diagnoses, histories of abuse, or craniofacial differences. Ms. Banks received her MA in Library Science from Queens College in 1990 and a BA in Developmental Psychology from Oberlin College in 1982. She is proficient in French and American Sign Language.


Judith Burton, Teachers College, Columbia University

Judith Burtonis Professor and Director of Art & Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Previously, she was Chair of Art Education of Boston University and taught at the Massachusetts College of Art.  Dr. Burton received her EdD from Harvard University in 1980. Her research focuses on the artistic-aesthetic development of children and adolescents, and the implications this has for teaching and learning. In 1995 she co-founded the Center for Research in Art Education at Teachers College, and in 1996 she founded the Heritage School – a comprehensive high school featuring the arts – located in Harlem, NYC. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters of books, and currently has two books in process of publication: A Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Visual Arts, and Creative and Mental Growth, 3rd Edition Revisited. She received the Manuel Barkan Award for excellence in research writing, and the Lowenfeld Award for lifetime achievement in art education from the National Art Education Association. Dr. Burton is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in Great Britain, a Distinguished Fellow of the NAEA, and serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, China.



Joel Chabade, Composer and Author

Joel Chabade is a composer, author, and an internationally recognized pioneer in the development of interactive music systems. His music has been performed at the Corfu Festival (Corfu, Greece), Ear to the Earth (New York City), HörZeit-SpielRaum 2005 (Berlin), NYU Interactive (NYC), New Mix (Palais de Tokyo, Paris), Expanded Instruments Festival (Engine 27, New York City), and numerous other venues worldwide. His music is recorded on EMF Media, Deep Listening, CDCM, Lovely Music, and other labels. He is the author of Electric Sound, a comprehensive history of electronic music, and his articles have been published in Organized Sound, Leonardo, Contemporary Music Review, Computer Music Journal, and other leading journals and magazines, and anthologized in books by MIT Press, Routledge, and other publishers. As president of Intelligent Music, a research and development company, he was responsible for the first publications of interactive music software. He has received awards, fellowships, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Fulbright Commission, and other organizations. He has been a keynote speaker at the NIME Conference at the MIT Media Lab, Dublin, 2002, and at the International Computer Music Conference, Berlin, September 2000. He is the recipient of the 2007 SEAMUS Lifetime
Achievement Award. Mr. Chadabe is currently Professor Emeritus at State University of New York, Director of the Computer Music Studio at Manhattan School of Music, Visiting Faculty at New York University, and founder and president of Electronic Music Foundation.


Debra Cole, EdD student at Teachers College, Columbia University

Debra Cole is the curriculum developer and the co-coordinator of the language program for the Deaf at Siena School in Italy. The program provides foreign language classes with the objective of developing bi-literacy in both signed and written languages. Tuscan art is used as the main material for studying how the target languages are used in social situations. Ms. Cole is an EdD student at Teachers College, Columbia University, studying International Educational Development. Her study interests are language and literacy education, language policy, immigration, and foreign language education. She is currently involved with teams in Siena (Italy) and Hong Kong in English education research and curriculum development for English as a foreign language classes for deaf students. She is an associate editor for a student online professional journal Current Issues in Comparative Education. She is also a freelance educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


Ann Cunningham, Colorado Center for the Blind

Ann Cunningham has been teaching art at the Colorado Center for the Blind since 1999, and collaborating with the Denver Art Museum and the Colorado Ballet on accessible events since 2002. She is currently working on an original slate bas relief picture, two feet by eight feet, commissioned by the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in celebration of the 25th anniversary of its Tactile Gallery.


Yuri Danilov, University of Wisconsin

Yuri Danilov is an experimental and theoretical neuroscientist with extensive knowledge of the human sensory systems, including visual and vestibular sensory systems. He has actively researched visual neuroscience, tongue physiology and taste perception at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison during the last fifteen years. Previously, Dr. Danilov conducted intensive research in brain aging at the UW Regional Primate Research Center and the post traumatic compensation of visual function in the Department of Psychology, UW Madison. In 1998 he joined the Professor Paul Bach-y-Rita team of engineers and researchers to support development of the portable visual substitution system for people who are blind or have low vision. He is also the inventor and developer of the vestibular substitution system. Dr. Danilov received his PhD from the Pavlov Institute of Physiology, Russian Academy of Science, where he studied the fine mechanisms of early vision.



Roz Driscoll, Artist

Roz Driscoll is a sculptor, painter, and papermaker. She explores aesthetic touch through making and exhibiting tactile sculptures, researching tactile/haptic perception, teaching workshops and lecturing, as well as collaborating with scientists, artists, and people with disabilities. She is also currently writing a manuscript, Whole Body Seeing: Touch in the Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and awarded fellowships by the New England Foundation for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico.


Sandra Eastwood, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town

Sandra Eastwood has degrees in Fine Art and Education, and has worked in galleries and museums in Southern Africa as both a curator and docent, concentrating on art education and meaningful access for visitors living with disabilities, specializing in approaches for those who are blind. She has also been involved in community work and outreach projects.


Hollie Ecker, Roberto Wirth Fund ONLUS

Hollie Ecker was born in New York. She is pursuing her MA in Deaf Education at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. She received her BA in Art History at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. Since 2002, she has conducted research and consulted in the field of deaf arts access for children and adults in such places as London, Paris, Johannesburg , and in the United States. In 2003, with a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Grant, she spent one year traveling to England, France, Australia, and South Africa investigating how visual arts impact each country's deaf culture and community. Ms. Ecker has worked as an intern with Access Coordination at the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2004 on programs in American Sign Language serving the deaf community. From October to June 2006, as a Fulbright Scholarship Grantee, Ms. Ecker realized the project "Bringing the museum to the classroom and the classroom to the museum:” art and art history programs for deaf and hearing integrated young children. The project was sponsored by the Roberto Wirth Fund ONLUS in Rome, with the participating partner institutions, I.S.I.S.S. (the state school for the deaf that integrates hearing children) and the Museo Nazionale Romano at Palazzo Massimo. This September, she began working for the Department of Education at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as a Teaching Resident for the Museum’s School Programs that serve students in grades K-12.


Waafa El Saddik, the Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Waafa El Saddik, who holds a PhD from Vienna University, was named Director General of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, in 2004. She is the first woman to hold this position. Upon earning a BA in Egyptology and Archaeology from Cairo University, she joined the Egyptian Antiquities Organization as an inspector assigned to foreign archaeological expeditions working in Egypt. Soon Dr. Saddik had her own excavation. Over the years she pursued her interest in field archaeology at Giza and Luxor. Beginning in 1978 she continued her academic studies in Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1983 with a dissertation on the Giza necropolis during Dynasty XXVI.

Dr. El-Saddik is an engaged board member of numerous scholarly and archaeological committees and organizations, both national and international, with responsibilities ranging from the complete modernization of the Egyptian Museum, to coordinating all exhibitions of Egyptian antiquities abroad. Her commitment to involving her young compatriots in Egypt's heritage ranges from founding and serving as president of the Children's Alliance for Traditions and Social Engagement (C.A.T.S.) to teaching at both Cairo and Helwan Universities. She is the author of numerous scholarly publications in German, English, and Arabic; most recently, she authored the first history of ancient Egypt in the Arabic language. Her authoritative pedagogical publications, Kindermuseen for Ägypten (German and Arabic) and Museum Education and the National Identity (Arabic) are the foundation for long term projects for children’s museums and educational departments throughout Egypt.


Valerie Fletcher, Institute for Human-Centered Design at Adaptive Environments

Valerie Fletcher is Executive Director of Adaptive Environments, an international educational nonprofit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, and founded in 1978. Its mission is to advance the role of design in expanding opportunity, and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities. Design includes the spectrum of design from urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture to information design. Her organization has hosted or co-hosted five international conferences on Universal Design since 1998.

Ms. Fletcher currently oversees projects ranging from universal design at the urban scale, in public transit, in a public agency social welfare system and in residential and school design. She is a Special Advisor to TOTO Ltd. and to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. She recently opened the Institute for Human-Centered Design, a showroom, training, and research space that serves as an interactive learning hub for students, academics, practitioners, and the general public. She writes and lectures internationally. Fletcher has an MA in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005.


Maribeth Flynn, Brooklyn Museum of Art

Maribeth Flynn is a Senior Museum Educator at the Brooklyn Museum, where she is responsible for coordinating a program of fifty adult volunteer educators (Museum Guides) who work with adult visitors in the museum’s permanent collections and special exhibitions. Since she took this position in 1998, she has expanded and diversified the program and its focus. Her responsibilities include designing, and often teaching, all or parts of ten- to thirteen-week art history courses that are grounded in the museum’s permanent collections. An Americanist by training, she has taught several courses in the museum’s American collection, and has also developed and taught sessions in various special exhibitions of American and Western European artists. She has also taught an undergraduate museum studies course at Fordham College at Lincoln Center. Her professional training and interest is in 19th-century American artists who worked in both the high and decorative arts arenas. In addition to her art history and museum experience, she has a background in fund development for community-based nonprofit agencies, and city and state government.


Bernat Franquesa, Touch Graphics Inc.

Bernat Franquesa is the Director of Business Development and EU Sales at Touch Graphics Inc., a company that does research on audio-tactile interactive computing to create new products for the blind and low vision markets. The company has been the recipient of numerous U.S. government R&D grants, and has brought to market a Talking Tactile Tablet (TTT), a low-cost computer peripheral device that acts as a “viewer” for images produced in tactile (raised-line and textured) format.

Mr. Franquesa has a degree in Topographical Engineer from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. He received an Honors degree for his thesis on Tactile Cartography and has since been involved in the tactile graphics field, collaborating on a variety of projects with Baruch College Computer Center for Visually Impaired People, ONCE (Spain), and Touch Graphics Inc.  Mr. Franquesa also received an MBA from Universitat de Barcelona.



John Gardner, ViewPlus Technology, Inc.

John Gardner is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Oregon State University, and is founder and president of ViewPlus Technologies, Inc. He is internationally recognized as a leading expert on the physics of defects in materials. He has won a number of scientific awards, including the Humboldt Prize awarded by the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His physics research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Defense, NASA, and several private corporations and foundations.

After losing his sight in 1988 in mid-career, Dr. Gardner formed the Science Access Project ( to research and develop new technologies for access to complex information by people with print disabilities. ViewPlus Technologies ( is a spin-off company formed to commercialize the Tiger tactile graphics embosser technology and other technologies developed in the Science Access Project. It has grown to become a major access technology company with worldwide sales of millions of dollars per year. Dr. Gardner has presented hundreds of seminars, colloquia, and workshops; he has contributed and invited conference talks on physics and on information access by people with disabilities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He is considered a leading expert on access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) information.


Lou Giansante, Art Beyond Sight

Lou Giansante is a Peabody-award-winning multimedia producer, writer and voice talent of broadcast and internet media. He has created original audio and video for Art Beyond Sight since its inception in 1987. He also consults, writes, and produces for such clients as; Acoustiguide, Inc.; and Very Special Arts. His specialties are writing verbal description of artworks and writing for children. He is happiest when those two specialties coincide. Web site:



Elizabeth Goldring, Artist

Elizabeth Goldring is a poet, media artist and researcher at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, where she has held several positions including, most recently, the Charlotte Moorman Senior Fellow. Collaborating with MIT and Harvard scientists, engineers, physicians, and students, she has developed ‘seeing machines’ for people like herself with limited or no sight. She has created a visual language and virtual environments that can be displayed on the seeing machines. Her books of poetry include Laser treatment without warning and E Y. Venues for her poetry readings, interactive video installations and exhibitions of Retina Prints include Harvard, MIT; University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Writer's Place and UMKC Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City; Washington Project for the Arts, D.C.; Savonlinna Finland; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria. In 2004 she received the Smith College Medal. In 2006 she was named one of 50 top researchers by Scientific American and among the ‘best and brightest’ by Esquire Magazine. Grants awarded include NEA, MIT Council for the Arts, American Diabetes Research and Education Foundation and NASA. She lives with her husband, Otto Piene, on their farm in Groton, MA and in Dusseldorf.


Hélène-Marie Gosselin, Director UNESCO/NYO

Hélène-Marie Gosselin is a development and communication official with more than 25 years of managerial experience in multilateral development institutions. As UNESCO’s Representative to the United Nations since February 2006, Ms. Gosselin focuses on UN system management reforms in the field of development. She works closely with the newly formed UNESCO National Commission of the United States, and brokers partnerships with a wide range of American public and private institutions. Ms. Gosselin served from 2001-2006 as UNESCO's regional director responsible for 20 countries of the Caribbean region. She has also worked in Western and Central Africa as a UNICEF Development Officer. In these capacities, she has implemented projects on education, culture, communication, and child welfare programs. She served as UNESCO's Director of Public Information at UNESCO Headquarters from 1994-2000.  She was twice appointed Commissioner-General of the United Nations at the World Expositions in Lisbon, Portugal (1998) and Aichi, Japan (2005).

Prior to joining UNESCO in 1979, she was Director-General of the Communication Branch at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), where she managed a multi-million dollar communication and development information program in support of Canada’s external aid programs. She also worked as an Adviser to the European Commission Delegation in Ottawa, Canada.

A Canadian national, Hélène-Marie Gosselin studied history, political science, and business administration at the Université de Montréal and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales of Montréal. She began her professional career as a journalist and editor of business publications at Southam Press in Canada, where she earned several journalism and editorial awards.


Michael Graves, Michael Graves Associates

Michael Graves, FAIA, has been in the forefront of architecture and design since he founded his practice in 1964. Today, his two firms -- Michael Graves & Associates, the architecture and interior design practices, and Michael Graves Design Group, the product design and graphic design practices -- employ more than 100 people in offices in Princeton, New Jersey, and New York City.  Through its multiple studios, the services of the two firms are highly integrated, supporting a continuum among architecture, interiors, and furnishings, that result in a powerful lifestyle brand.

The architectural practice has designed more than 300 buildings worldwide encompassing many building types: large‑scale master plans, corporate headquarters and other office buildings, hotels and resorts, restaurants and retail stores, facilities for sports and recreation, healthcare facilities, civic projects such as embassies, courthouses and monuments, a wide variety of university buildings, museums, theaters and public libraries, and both multifamily and single‑family housing. A native of Indianapolis, Graves received his architectural training at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. In 1960, he won the Rome Prize and studied at the American Academy in Rome, of which he is now a Trustee. In 1962, Mr. Graves began a nearly 40-year teaching career at Princeton University, where he is now the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus. He has received 12 honorary doctorates and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. 



Leena Hannula, Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Finland

Leena Hannula is an Educational Curator and Art professor. She leads the workshop at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum of Helsinki, which specializes in historical European art. These works of art are valued both nationally and internationally. The museum is also special because it was the former home and office of the Sinebrychoff family. The interior design of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff’s former home is complete with the original furnishings and works of art. Ms. Hannula has been developing the museum’s education for blind people and other access groups through experimental projects with Helsinki University students and museum trainees together with the blind artist Maarit Hedman.


Michael Hanchett Hanson, Teachers College, Columbia University

Michael Hanchett Hanson is a developmental and cognitive psychologist who specializes in the roles of cognitive semantics in creativity. He received his BA from Yale University and his PhD in developmental psychology from Columbia University. Today, Dr. Hanson is Director of the Masters Concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Teachers College, Columbia University. In that program he and his students conduct research concerning creative thinking across lifespan. He also has a consulting practice in curriculum design, working with organizations in the arts, boards of education and corporations. In that work he helps clients develop teaching and training programs that leverage their particular strengths.


Kojiro Hirose, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan

Kojiro Hirose completed his PhD in Literature at Kyoto University in 2000. His current research interests include the history of new religions in modern Japan, including Oomotokyo and Reiyukai, focusing on the welfare work of each religious society. His on-going fieldwork concerns biwa-hoshi (blind minstrels), itako (blind shaman) and blind religionists or biwa (lute) players in Japan. Additionally, Dr. Hirose is applying an anthropological methodology to his comparative research on international disability culture, with inquiries into the occupation, life-style and history of people with disabilities in the U.S. and other countries. He intends to use this comparative study to help promote a "barrier-free" or "universal design" system for museums. 

Dr. Hirose’s publications include: Touch and Grow Rich: You Can Touch Our Museum! MINPAKU Anthropology Newsletter; Reconsidering Japanese Religious History: the Aum Incident and Blind Culture in Modern Japan in The Journal of the International Institute, University of Michigan; and Judo or Aikido: Propagation Strategies of Tenrikyo in the United States in Progress, Journal of the Tenrikyo Mission New York Center.



Caro Howell, Whitechapel Gallery, UK

Caro Howell is Head of Education & Public Events at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. She has worked as an independent consultant in the UK and abroad, developing projects that explore issues of advocacy, interpretation and access to the visual arts. Part of Tate Modern’s set-up team from 1997, she formulated its access and audience development strategy and developed London’s first peer-led museum program for 15- to 23-year-olds. She has created many award-winning resources for disabled people including a BAFTA for i-Map (2002), the UK’s first online art resources for blind and partially sighted people, and a Jodi Award for i-Map: The Everyday Transformed (2006), both for Tate.


Nitza Danieli Horner, Teaching Artist, Tour Guide, Educator

Nitza Horner is a teaching artist and freelance educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She teaches art in schools, shelters, hospitals, and many other nonprofit organizations. Ms. Horner leads her own program titled “Paint the Music,” a unique multi-media program where integrated audiences create original artwork inspired by live jazz. She studied at the Art Teachers College in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, and has traveled extensively in Australia and England. She worked with Palestinians and Israelis in collaboration with author Robert Wolf to create the book Violence in the Holy Land (Free River Press, 2004), in which her work “10/14/1973” was published.

A sculptor, she works in stone, concrete, plaster, and clay. She was recently commissioned by the Puffin Foundation to create a permanent sculpture installation in its Outdoor Sculpture Garden in Teaneck, NJ. The work is a multi-dimensional, interactive piece called “Roots of Empathy”, deriving from Ms. Horner’s experiences working with individuals with varying challenges and in recognition of the Foundation’s commitment to protection of both the environment and the under-represented cultural landscape. Additional artistic awards include first place at the juried art show “SummerFest” in New Jersey. She lives in Teaneck with her husband, Tim, a jazz musician, and her son, Ty.



Oum Jeongsoon, Korean Association of Blind Artist

Oum Jeongsoon is as an artist and Director of the Korean Art Association for the Blind in Seoul, which she founded in 1997. She was born in South Korea. She is a graduate of the College of Fine Arts, Ewha Woman University, Seoul, and the Akademie der Bildenden Kunst in Munchen, Germany. From 1993 to 1996, she taught as an Associate Professor at the College of Fine Arts, Konkuk University, Korea. She has had 13 solo exhibitions of her art, and has participated in many group exhibitions internationally.


Teresa Kardoulias, Art Beyond Sight

Teresa Kardoulias is an illustrator, graphic designer, and programmer responsible for producing tactile diagrams for more than 600 works for ABS’s Art History Through Touch and Sound. She collaborated with the Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille and Silvio Zamorani Editore Tactile Printing in Turin when developing tactile drawings. She tested and developed ABS’s tactile diagram technique after extensive review with visually impaired volunteers. Ms. Kardoulias has presented her work at conventions and museums, and conducted tactile drawings trainings and seminars.


Selmin Kangal, Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul

Selmin Kangal is the Exhibition Manager at the Sakıp Sabanci Museum in Istanbul. She has curated more than twenty internationally renowned exhibitions on behalf of the Sabanci Museum, and such state museums as the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (TIEM) and the Topkapi Palace Museum (TSM) in İstanbul. Some of the recent exhibitions include Paris – St.Petersburg, Three Centuries of European Fashion (2004), Mothers, Goddesses and Sultanas, Women in Turkey (2005), Picasso in Istanbul (2005), Master Sculptor Rodin in İstanbul (2006), Cengiz Han and His Heirs (2007). Ms. Kangal edited multiple exhibition catalogs.



Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information

Abdul Waheed Khan currently occupies the post of Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. He was born in 1947 in a remote village in Basti, Uttar Pradesh (India). After completing his PhD in Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA in 1973, Dr. Khan joined G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology as Associate Director-in-Charge of the Communication Centre. He developed it into a Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Communication, recognized by UNESCO and UNDP. Based on his vision that all societies should have equal access to information and knowledge in an atmosphere of respect for cultural diversity, he has developed and designed strategic initiatives in the application of information and communication technologies in open and distance education, including online learning. In 1975, he was appointed as Director of Programs at All India Radio, where he managed a national rural broadcasting network and launched Farm School on the air, to educate farmers in scientific agriculture.

In 1980, Dr. Khan obtained the position of Communication Research Specialist with UNESCO to assist the Government of Bangladesh in the development of broadcasting services. Later in life, he moved to the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, Canada where he served as Senior Program Officer, Acting Head of Communication and Information and Principal Communication Specialist. He assisted open and distance learning institutions in developing Commonwealth countries, in particular in Africa, to develop human resources in educational media. He returned to India in 1998 to take up the position of Vice-Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). He was also responsible for launching an educational broadcasting network of television and radio.

Dr. Khan’s numerous awards and distinctions include the Raji Gandhi National Integration Award, Super Brain of India Gold Award, Commonwealth of Learning’s Distinguished Service Award, Millennium Award for Education and World Peace, and an Honorary Doctorate from Jamia Hamdard University (India). In recognition of Dr. Khan’s outstanding contribution to education and development through innovative application of information and communication technologies, the Dayawati Modi Foundation for Art Culture and Education has bestowed on him the 11th Dayawati Modi Award for Art Culture and Education 2006.


John Kennedy, University of Toronto

John Kennedy was born in Belfast, where he went to university for his BSc and MSc, before moving to the U.S. for graduate studies at Cornell. His first position was at Harvard, and then he moved to the University of Toronto, where he was Chair for the last three years, followed by a sabbatical in Salzburg, Florence, Copenhagen and Ireland. He was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and given the Arnheim Prize by the American Psychological Association. His work on pictures and the blind was described by the New York Times as one of the ideas that change the way we think, and by The Times of  London as one of the top ten ideas of the year. For more information on Dr. Kennedy, visit his website at:


Barry Kleider, Photographer

Barry Kleider is a professional photographer specializing in landscape photography and fine art portraiture. His work has been commissioned by Oakland Museum of California, and is included in both private and public collections, including the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Mr. Kleider is a teaching artist at the Minnesota State Arts Board, Young Audiences, VSA Arts and the North Dakota Council on the Arts. For the past four years, he has taught photography to blind and visually impaired students at the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind. Last year, students from the Academy joined with visual arts students at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minneapolis to explore the boundaries of visual art. Mr. Kleider lives with his family in Minneapolis. Samples of his work can be seen online at:


Stephen Kuusisto, Professor of Creative Writing and Disability Studies, University of Iowa

Stephen Kuusisto is the author of Only Bread, Only Light, a collection of poems from Copper Canyon Press, and of the memoirs Planet of the Blind and Eavesdropping. He holds a dual appointment at the University of Iowa in English Department, where he teaches courses in creative nonfiction, and as a public humanities scholar in the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine. He speaks widely on diversity, disability, education, and public policy. His essays and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines, including Harper’s The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and Partisan Review. He is currently working on a collection of prose poems for Copper Canyon Press entitled Mornings with Borges, as well as a collection of political poems about disability.  


Steven Landau, Touch Graphics, Inc.

Steven Landau is Director of Research at Touch Graphics, Inc., a company he founded in 1997 to commercialize research on audio-tactile interactive computing, and to create new products for the blind and low-vision markets. The company has been the recipient of numerous U.S. government R&D grants, and has brought to market a Talking Tactile Tablet (TTT), a low-cost computer peripheral device that acts as a “viewer” for images produced in tactile (raised-line and textured) format. In 2006, the TTT won a Gold Medal in the IDEA Awards competition. 

The company also works in the area of museum accessibility, and is developing a new technology that empowers science museum visitors who are blind or have low vision to independently navigate and interact with exhibits using their own familiar cell phone as a controller for a network of environmental audio beacons.  In addition, Touch Graphics has carried out a series of exhibits that embody the principles of Universal Design, for institutions including the Smithsonian Institution, Science Museum of Minnesota, the National Building Museum, New York Hall of Science, and others.

Mr. Landau received a BA in Art from Oberlin College and a MA in Architecture from Harvard University.  He worked as a professional architect and educator for twelve years before forming Touch Graphics. He holds two patents in the field of assistive technology.


Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Harvard Medical Center, Neuroscience Lab

Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, MA, USA). He holds appointments as Adjunct Professor in Psychiatry and Neurobiology at Boston University, and in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Faculty of Arts and Science at Harvard University. Currently, he is also the Associate Director of the Harvard-Thorndike General Clinical Research Center and council member of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. Dr. Pascual-Leone is Board Certified in Neurology and Neurophysiology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, a member of many professional societies, and the recipient of several honors and awards, including the Ramon y Cajal Award in Neuroscience (Spain), the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology from the American Academy of Neurology, the Daniel D. Federman Outstanding Clinical Educator Award from the Harvard Medical School, and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany).

Dr. Pascual-Leone's major areas of research interest are the physiology of higher cognitive functions and the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders, with a focus on the dynamic modification of brain function across the lifespan (Neural Plasticity), and the possibility of neuromodulation by brain stimulation techniques. He is the author of more than 200 papers in refereed professional journals, 2 books, and more than 50 chapters contributed to edited volumes.


Associate Executive Director of
Art Beyond Sight

Associate Executive Director of Art Beyond Sight, is an art historian. She received her PhD from the Humboldt Universitat in Berlin. Her research interests include representation of the body, cultural constructions of the body, gender, and disability, art and perception. She is an Assistant Professor at the New York Academy of Art. She authored a book and a number of articles on the representation of the body in 1930s. She co-edited Art Beyond Sight:{A} Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment, ABS’s definitive publication now translated in Korean. Dr. Levent is the managing editor of Art History Through Touch and Sound, ABS's art history encyclopedia, and editor of the Handbook for Educators and Museums. She has trained museums and educators in the U.S. and abroad, given keynote addresses and presentation at international conferences, and written articles on accessibility to visual culture and inclusive learning environments. She oversees ABS's educational goals and international initiatives.


Rebecca McGinnis, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rebecca McGinnis is Access Coordinator and Associate Museum Educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She and her colleagues in Access Coordination at the Metropolitan have gained recognition internationally for their pioneering programs for visitors with disabilities, and their work in the field of museum accessibility. In 2003, the Met won the American Association of Museums’ Accessibility Award.

Ms. McGinnis is co-chair of the Museum Access Consortium, a group of New York City metro-area museum professionals, individuals with disabilities, and representatives from disability organizations. Rebecca has sixteen years’ experience in the field of access to museums and the arts for people with disabilities, with particular specialization in access to information and interpreting art for people who are blind and partially sighted. She presents frequently at conferences all over the world. She has published many articles on museums and accessibility, as well as a chapter for a forthcoming NAEA publication on art education, and a chapter entitled “Universal Design in US Museums: Current Challenges and Achievements,” in Das barrierefreie Museum. Theorie und Praxis einer besseren Zugänglichkeit. Ein Handbuch, edited by Patrick S. Foehl and Stefanie Erdrich and published by Transcript-Verlag in 2007.

In 2003 she co-authored, with Ileana Sánchez, Art and the Alphabet: A Tactile Experience, an innovative children's book combining introductory braille, tactile pictures, and images of works of art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was previously Director of Making Sense Access Consultancy in the UK and USA. She has an MA in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and an MA in Museum Studies from Leicester University in the UK. Ms. McGinnis was an Educator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Assistant Arts Officer at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, both in London. She is currently completing an MA in Cognitive Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and plans to pursue a PhD focusing on tactile perception, mental imagery, and visual impairment. 


Joan M.McGovern, Vice-President, JPMorgan Chase

Joan M. McGovern began her career at JPMorgan Chase in 1985 as a Data Systems Analyst in the General Auditing Department, and went on to work in various units of the firm including Risk Management, Retail Operations and Systems, and Chase Automotive Finance. She currently sets the priorities of the Access Ability Resource Center, as Director of the unit. Ms. McGovern holds a MA in Public/Healthcare Administration and is frequently asked to speak on behalf of the disabled segment. She is Founder and Director of the Access Ability Resource Center, and is putting that force to work to demonstrate to the disability segments JPMorgan Chase’s commitment of conducting business without barriers.

As a Vice President within the Corporate Diversity unit of JPMorgan Chase, she serves as a catalyst and advocate for change in the area of disability issues. 
Following an intensive data gathering effort in 2003, Ms. McGovern provided a business case for this segment of the population, resulting in the firm’s senior management establishing a global business unit called the “Access Ability Resource Center.”  This unit officially launched in March 2004 with a direction to affirm the company’s commitment to employees and customers with disabilities.  By advocating, informing and enhancing the work environment and customer experience for disabled colleagues, business is being conducted without barriers.
On behalf of JPMorgan Chase, she has received recognition from various organizations for the support provided to disabled colleagues, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, Abilities Inc., League for the Hard of Hearing, and the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind.


Lofti Merabet, Harvard Medical Center

Lotfi Merabet is a clinical researcher with the Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and investigator with the Boston Retinal Implant Project in Boston, MA. He has doctorates in both Neuroscience and Optometry, and maintains a clinical and faculty appointment in the departments of Ophthalmology and Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Merabet’s research interests focus on neuroplasticity and, in particular, on how the brain adjusts to the loss of sight and its relation to restoring functional vision and developing novel rehabilitative strategies for the blind.


Josh Miele, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

Josh Miele is an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley where he received this BA in Physics and his PhD in Psychoacoustics. His involvement with the development of accessible technology began in the early 1990s with outSPOKEN, an early screen reader for Macintosh computers. He is currently a Research Scientist at The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center. His research continues to involve the integration of inexpensive, mainstream technologies and the Internet to develop innovative approaches to information accessibility for blind and visually impaired people. His recent work has included research in the areas of tactile maps, audio/tactile graphics, auditory displays, and wayfinding technologies. Dr. Miele lives in Berkeley California with his wife and two young children.



Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University (NYU)

Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Art and Art Professions, and Director of Visual Culture MA/PhD program at NYU-Steinhardt. His many publications include Silent Poetry: deafness, sign and visual culture in modern France (1995), An Introduction to Visual Culture (1999), and most recently Watching Babylon: The war in Iraq and Global Visual Culture.


Edmund Mooney, Composer, Sound Artist and Acoustic Ecologist

Edmund Mooeny is a composer, sound designer and sound artist. His work has been presented at Lincoln Center, DTW, The Whitney Museum of American Art, St. Marks Church, and PS 122, among others. Recent works include “Body Maps” with Vision into Art at the Whitney Museum and Scoula Superiore ISUFI in Lecce, Italy; “Sound Box 1” with Andrea Williams and Jonny Farrow at Free 103’s Wave Farm; and “Eros Thanatos” with installation artist Erika Harrsch at Fotofest in Houston, TX, and at Galleria Leme in Sao Paolo, Brazil. He is a founding member of the New York Society for Acoustic Ecology and a co-curator of its monthly radio show, “Giant Ear.” His recordings include “The Eighth Nerve” and “Happy Trails,” available at and itunes,com among others.


Michael A. Naranjo, Sculptor

Michael A. Naranjo was born in Santa Fe, NM, in 1944. In 1968, he became totally blinded as a result of an injury he received from a grenade explosion while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. His self-determination enabled him to carry on with his work as a sculptor. Mr. Naranjo’s work, being totally created by touch, led him on another journey. After finding doors not always open to him to be able to touch work in many public institutions, he began a personal crusade to make sure that his work was always totally accessible to all. In 1992, he had his first “all touch” show at the Eiteljorg Museum of Southwestern and Indian Art, in Indianapolis.  That led to the continuation of the concept in touring his work around the country.  Sighted and visually impaired people alike are delighted to read “Please Touch” as they walk through his exhibits. He has gone beyond sculpture in that he serves as a powerful example of the human spirit and what can be done. Many continue to be inspired not only by Mr. Naranjo’s work, but also by what it represents.


Helen J. Neville, University of Oregon

Helen J. Neville is currently the Robert and Beverly Lewis Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Director of the Brain Development Lab, and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oregon in Eugene.  She was awarded a BA from the University of British Columbia, an MA from Simon Fraser University, and PhD from Cornell University.  Her postdoctoral training was at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Neurosciences.  Dr. Neville’s major research interests are the biological constraints and the role of experience in neurosensory and neurocognitive development in humans.


Suzette Neptune, the Project Volume

Suzette Neptune, Artistic Director of the Project Volume, was born and raised in New York City. She gained a scholarship at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, as well as studied dance at LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and Performing Arts. Ms. Neptune completed her studies in London at The Laban Centre, earning a MA in European Dance Theatre Practice. Her professional international career spans seventeen years, as a dancer, choreographer and dance education specialist. Ms. Neptune's career as a dancer has included performances at The Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and The Royal Opera House, London. Neptune recently choreographed Butterfly, for three professional dancers with developmental disabilities, from Anjali Dance Company, which premiered to excellent reviews at The Place Spring Loaded festival, London 2007.


Jenny Nilsson, The Swedish Library of Talking Books and Braille (TPB)

Jenny Nilsson has worked as a children’s librarian for more than twenty years and has been involved in the development of tactile picture books in Sweden since 2001.



Susan Norwood, the Project Volume

Susan Norwood, Artistic Director of the Project Volume, was born and raised in England. She studied fine art and dance, before earning a BA at Dartington College of Arts, specializing in choreography. Her choreographic work has been performed at The Place Theatre, Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, The Royal Festival Hall, and for Channel Four television. Her seventeen years of pioneering work with dancers with developmental disabilities has included the design and direction of an accredited dance program, mirroring modern dance training, and taught alongside leading British choreographers and dance companies, such as Siobhan Davies and Rambert Dance Company. She recently completed a research project at Oxford University, looking at the use of dance in creating an equal learning platform for diverse learners


Carlos Mourão Pereira, Architect

Carlos Mourão Pereira was born in Lisbon, in 1970. He graduated in architecture at the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (Technical University of Lisbon). In 1997 he was awarded with the “Prémio Comendador Joaquim Matias.” His career began in 1998, mainly in partnerships. He worked in Lisbon with architects Gonçalo Byrne, Aires Mateus, José Martinez, Carrilho da Graça, and Costa Cabral. In Zurich he worked with Toni Geser, and in Genoa with Renzo Piano. He taught the discipline of architectural project at the Universidade da Beira Interior (University of Beira Interior), in Covilhã, Portugal, between 2005 and 2006. Also, since 2003, he has been teaching architecture at the Instituto Superior Técnico (Higher Education Technical Institute), in Lisbon. In 2006 he became blind and has continued his professional work, both in teaching and in architectural design.


Helen Petrie, University of York

Helen Petrie is Professor of Human Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York in the UK. She originally trained in cognitive and experimental psychology before becoming interested in how people use computers and what makes them easy or difficult for people. She then undertook further studies in Computer Sciences. She has spent more than a decade conducting research on the use of computers and new technologies for people with disabilities and older people. Recently she investigated the accessibility of the World Wide Web for disabled and older people, access to technology enhanced learning for disabled students, and access to multimedia information through tactile and other means for visually impaired people.
Ms. Petrie was instrumental in the establishment of the National Centre for Tactile Diagrams at the UK’s University of Hertfordshire to promote the use of tactile diagrams in both education and everyday life for blind people. The National Centre is now part of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and Ms. Petrie now works with the Centre for Tactile Images at the University of York.


Fran Prezant, Abilities! (National Center for Disability Service)

Fran Prezant has been actively involved in the disability field for the past three decades as a service provider, advocate, college instructor, parent trainer, researcher, author, presenter, and program administrator. After beginning her career as a school-based therapist, she served as a university faculty member in Pennsylvania for more than a decade and established a parent training, information, and support program for families of children with disabilities. In 1999, she received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service and the Sponsored Programs Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Service from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

For the past eight years, Ms. Prezant has been at Abilities! (formerly National Center for Disability Services), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the full participation of people with disabilities in society. In her role as the Director of Research and Evaluation, she interacts with the organization’s employment training programs, educational programs for children with severe physical and medical disabilities, and the National Business and Disability Council, collaborating on the development of innovative programs that facilitate opportunities, participation, and empowerment for individuals with disabilities.

She has been actively involved with increasing programmatic and physical access to museums in the New York area through her participation as a Steering Committee member of the Museum Access Consortium (MAC) and through disability awareness trainings and consultations. She has coauthored several journal articles on various disability issues, has presented at more than 30 major national and international conferences, and has coauthored two books: Disability and the Family Life Cycle  and Married with Special Needs Children


Linda Pring, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Linda Pring, PhD, Psychology Department, Goldsmiths, University of London, studied at the University of Newcastle and later at Birkbeck College, University of London. She joined the Medical Research Council Developmental Psychology Unit in 1980, and it was there that she began research with children and adults with disabilities. She has published more than 100 articles along with chapters and books on the topic of psychological and developmental aspects of blindness, savant syndrome and literacy. Dr. Pring now holds a Chair in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she teaches on the MSC in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, lectures on speech and language, and continues with research. She is working currently with Great Ormond Street Hospital, London on a study with infants and young children with visual impairment (VI); with Professor Adam Ockelford (Roehampton University) on research into musical ability in savant syndrome; and on her own in connection with object recognition in visual impairment. 


, Art Beyond Sight

is Editorial Director of Art Beyond Sight (ABS) and coordinator of its annual Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. Before joining ABS, Ms. Pursley -- a graduate of the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism -- spent thirty years as a magazine and book editor. She has written extensively on antiques and collectibles, and is the author of four books on contemporary decorative art.


Martin Quinn, Design Rhythmics Sonification Research Lab

Martin Quinn is the founder of Design Rhythmics Sonification Research Lab, which specializes in transforming data into music. He has collaborated with scientists at the Venice Marine Institute, the Climate Change Research Center and Space Plasma Group of the University of New Hampshire, the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona, and most recently with UC Berkeley Space Science Lab and the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, both partners on a recently awarded NASA Ideas grant to create a museum exhibit featuring musically encoded sonifications and visualizations of Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) Mission imagery and data. In addition to a BS in Computer Science and Scientific Visualization, Mr. Quinn is a professional musician, drummer, tabla player, vocalist ,and composer, who has performed and recorded with many artists including Doah World Music Ensemble, Pat Martino, Cornelieu Montano, Darius Brubeck and the Rock My Soul gospel choir, and toured with a number of Broadway shows. He performs a number of original dance and stage performances with his wife, dancer and psychologist Dr. Wendy Quinn, including a full musical stage production of the mystical book The Seven Valleys.


William Reed, Cleveland Public Library

William Reed is the Assistant Head of the Cleveland Public Library’s Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Cleveland Library for the Blind is a charter member of the national network of libraries under the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Mr. Reed has been working at the Cleveland Library for the Blind since 1997, when he was hired to help coordinate, initiate, instruct, and manage an adaptive computer training program. Mr. Reed is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), an active committee member with the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) Libraries Serving Special Populations, the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers, and he serves as an accessibility consultant to ALA’s Web Advisory Council.


Rochelle Roca-Hachem, Program Specialist for Culture, UNESCO/NYO

Rochelle Roca-Hachem is the Program Specialist for Culture in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Office attached to the UN in New York.  She arrived in September 2007, and her liaison position covers a wide scope of cultural issues including World Heritage, indigenous peoples, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, and the protection of cultural objects.

An American lawyer, Ms. Roca-Hachem has been with UNESCO, at its Paris Headquarters, since 1994. Prior to her recent arrival in New York, she worked in the Division of Cultural Heritage, focusing on illicit trafficking in and return and restitution of cultural objects. In her work relating to trafficking and restitution of cultural property, she has published several brochures for UNESCO as well as independent articles. Before joining UNESCO, Ms. Roca-Hachem practiced in a private law firm in Washington, DC.



Pam Rogers, Pure Vision Arts/The Shield Institute

Pam Rogers has been an art educator for more than 18 years. She received her PhD in Art Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and has spoken at many conferences on a variety of topics related to the arts and people with developmental disabilities, particularly autism. She is currently the Director of Expressive Art Programs for The Shield Institute and Pure Vision Arts. Pure Vision is New York’s first art studio and gallery for people with developmental disabilities. Dr. Rogers is a graduate of The Institute for Expressive Analysis and, in addition to her work at The Shield Institute, is a licensed psychoanalyst with a private practice in Manhattan. She is also an artist whose work depicts spiritual and mythological themes related to transcending the human condition. She has traveled around the world taking photographs for her work, and recently returned from a trip to India and Bhutan. Her art has been included in many exhibitions and private collections.


Clara Ines Rojas Sebesta, Art Beyond Sight

Clara Ines Rojas Sebesta is an editor and developer of educational materials for Art Beyond Sight (ABS). She has degrees in Art History from Cornell University and Rutgers University, and an MA in Art Conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts-NYU. She is co-author of American Identities, a volume of ABS’s Art History Through Touch and Sound multi-sensory encyclopedia, and of the Handbook for Museum and Educators. She also contributed to ABS’s Art Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment. Ms. Rojas Sebesta has also worked as an educator at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



Francesca Rosenberg, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Francesca Rosenberg is the Director of Community and Access Programs in the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Education. In her twelve years at the Museum, she and her colleagues have won national respect for MoMA’s unique efforts to make the Museum’s extensive resources accessible to all. The Department of Education’s Access Program was awarded the Access Innovation in the Arts Award in November 2000 by the Metropolitan Life Foundation and VSA Arts (formerly Very Special Arts). In 2007 Ms. Rosenberg received the Ruth Green Advocacy Award from the League for the Hard of Hearing, and in 2002 she was recognized as Community Leader of the Year by Self Help for the Hard of Hearing. She serves on the Board of Directors for Dorot, Inc., the Education Committee for the American Folk Art Museum, and on the steering committee for the Museum Access Consortium. Ms. Rosenberg is the co-author of the publication Making Art Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals and the co-producer of the video Art Beyond Sight: A Demonstration of Practical Techniques for Teaching Art to People with Visual Impairments. She has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences; recent engagements include the 2006 Mayoral Conference on Alzheimers, the 2007 Society for the Arts in Healthcare annual international conference, and the 2007 National Art Education Association annual conference. Before joining MoMA, she worked in the School Programs Department at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and as the Associate Director of Art Beyond Sight.



Dana Salisbury, Multi-disciplinary Artist; Creator/Director, Dark Dining Project

Dana Salisbury is a multi-disciplinary artist whose investigations span dance, visual art, site-specific performance/installation, video, and language. Her dances and videos have been seen in New York at PS 122, Judson Memorial Church, Dance Theater Workshop, Dixon Place, University Settlement and the 92nd Street Y. A winner of the New York Dance and Performance Award (a “Bessie”), she has created site-specific works for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, New York’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn. Her visual art has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries. For the last several years, inspired by the sensate and imaginative life of the blind, Salisbury has been exploring non-visual perception. Her dance production “Whole-Body-Seer” (2004) offered experiential equivalents of vision without sight. In 2005, she created Dark Dining Projects, a highly successful on-going series of sensory feasts served to blindfolded diners. More information and upcoming events can be found at


Ileana Sanchez, Puerto Rico

Ileana Sánchez is a graduate from Pratt Institute of New York and a seasoned professional with more than 22 years of experience in the graphic design field.
During those years she has worked on the development of corporate identity and graphic programs, brochures, annual reports, publications and periodicals, exhibit design, POP materials, signage, ad campaigns and web design. In addition she’s published two tactile art books for the blind: Art and the Alphabet: a Tactile Experience and El Arte y el Alfabeto: una Experiencia Táctil, receiving various awards for said work, both locally and world wide. Ileana’s most recent area of interest is the design and development of a sensory park in Puerto Rico, where she lives.


Jaime Sanchez, University of Chile

Jaime Sanchez received an MA (1983), MSc (1984), and PhD (1985) degrees from Columbia University, New York. He has also been a postdoctoral research fellow at the MIT Media Lab and Cornell University (1987). He is Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chile. He has developed several sound-based virtual environments for developing learning and cognition in blind children.

Currently, Dr. Sanchez is working on audio-based mobile devices to help blind learners to develop and rehearse problem-solving skills in real settings. His research interests include the impact of using audio on cognitive development in blind learners, usability evaluation methods, game-based learning, and mobile learning. He has published extensively on these topics and has also authored several books on learning with computers.

He is currently spending his sabbatical leave in 2006-2007 as Visiting Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Columbia University and the Center for Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation at Harvard University.


Matthew P. Sapolin, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)

Matthew P. Sapolin was appointed to serve as the Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in October of 2002.  MOPD works hand-in-hand with other City agencies to assure that the voice of the disabled community is represented, and that City programs and policies address the needs of people with disabilities. A few of Commissioner Sapolin’s accomplishments include: launching ShopABLE New York, an initiative that provides grants and works with neighborhood business associations to create barrier-free shopping districts; taking the lead in making sure that the operators at “311” Citizen Services Hotline have the latest in accessibility technology for the disabled; acting as a staunch advocate for accessible public transportation, among others. Before being appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, he served as Executive Director for the Queens Independent Living Center (QILC), overseeing all operations. 

Born in 1970, Commissioner Sapolin became blind at the age of 5 as a result of bilateral retinoblastoma.  After being educated in mainstream public schools, he received his BA at New York University, as well as a MA in Public Health Administration from Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, where he also served as the Co-Captain of the Varsity Wrestling team. He was raised in Long Island, New York, and now lives on the West Side of Manhattan.  He enjoys spending time with his wife Candra, 17-year-old son Trevor, 13-year-old daughter Toscany, and his faithful Guide Dog Compass.


Krish Sathian, Emory University

Krish Sathian is Professor of Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine and Psychology at Emory University, and Medical Director of the Atlanta VAMC R&D Center of Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Veterans with Vision Loss. His research interests are in normal and disordered tactile perception, multi-sensory perception with special reference to cross-modal interactions between vision and touch, and novel approaches to neurological rehabilitation. He has published extensively in these areas, and his research is funded by the NEI, NSF and VA. He is a member of a number of professional societies and was elected to the American Neurological Association in 2001. He was the recipient of Emory University’s Albert E. Levy Faculty Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in 2001.


Michael Luck Schneider, Artist

Michael Luck Schneider is an interactive new media artist based in New York. He was recently invited by the MCA in Sydney Australia (October 2006), as Artist in Residence, with artist Bruce Odland, to create an accessible multi-sensory interactive installation, "Good Vibrations." He is a founding member of motohoho, a group of artists and designers who use network technology to create artistic portals connecting people to the world. His “BuzGlo” (2004-2005) was an interactive rehabilitation space designed for children with profound disabilities at the Terrence Cardinal Cooke Center in New York City. Mr. Schneider teaches at New York City College of Technology and at New York University, exploring the implementation of computer human interfaces using physical interaction. He has co-taught a class between NYU's department of Occupational Therapy and Interactive art department, where students researched and prototyped new interactive devices for therapy applications.


Richard Donald Smith, Musician, Educator and Scholar

Richard Donald Smith is a musician, educator, and scholar. Dr. Smith received his PhD from Temple University in Philadelphia, writing a dissertation titled "Music Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria and Beyond--A Case for African Development," aimed toward assisting in the development of musicians and music education in Africa. He is currently a member of the music faculty at the United Nations International School in New York City. After becoming totally blind, he auditioned for and was accepted as a student of internationally renowned flutist Jean Pierre Rampal of France, with whom he studied at the Academie Internationale d'Eté. The following year, he was accepted as a student in James Galway's master class in Switzerland. After embarking on an African tour in 1974, with sight, he began to develop a strong closeness with that continent, eventually being considered a continental African as well as an African-American. He is a composer or arranger of many musical works (ASCAP member), and the author of scholarly and other writings. He has served as a United States Fulbright Research Scholar in Nigeria and is a member of many professional organizations. He recently completed a specialized book (unpublished) on the understanding of African music and is currently writing a book titled Travelogue of a Blind African-American Musician, which details his travel, research, and interactions over a 20-year period in Africa, a blind witness to African history and cultural change. Dr. Smith is a member of the board of Arts Education for the Blind, Inc.


Charles Spence, Oxford University

Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory based at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University ( He is interested in how people perceive the world around them and, in particular, how our brains manage to process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multi-sensory experiences that fill our daily lives. His research focuses on how a better understanding of the human mind will lead to the better design of multi-sensory foods, products, interfaces, and environments in the future. His research calls for a radical new way of examining and understanding the senses that has major implications for the way in which we design everything from household products to mobile phones, and from the food we eat to the places in which we work and live. Dr. Spence is currently a consultant for a number of multinational companies advising on various aspects of multi-sensory design, packaging, and branding. He has also conducted research on human-computer interaction issues on the Crew Work Station on the European Space Shuttle, and currently works on problems associated with the design of foods that maximally stimulate the senses, and with the effect of the indoor environment on mood, well-being, and performance.

Dr. Spence has published more than 250 articles in top-flight scientific journals over the last decade. He has been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize, the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section Award, the Paul Bertelson Award, recognizing him as the young European Cognitive Psychologist of the Year, and, most recently, the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.


Mandayam A. Srinivasan, MIT Touch Lab

Mandayam A. Srinivasan is a Senior Research Scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Srinivasan received his PhD from Yale University in 1984. He came to MIT in 1987 as a research fellow in the Newman Laboratory, and joined RLE in 1989 as Research Scientist in RLE’s Sensory Communication Group. Today, Srinivasan directs RLE’s Laboratory for Human and Machine Haptics, known worldwide as the Touch Lab


Mònica Surís, COM ACCESS

Mònica Surís graduated in Arts at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and has completed postgraduate study in the field of heritage interpretation at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She has had wide experience as a tour guide and interpreter, and in training docents and tour guides. Ms. Surís & Maria-José Anía are partners at COM ACCESS, a firm based in Barcelona, Spain


Elizabeth Sweeney, National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

Elizabeth Sweeney is the Accessibility Educator at the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Ontario. She develops, implements and oversees public accessibility programs for all ages, such as adapted school programs, master workshops series, and tactile and visual description tours. Her primary focus is to create accessibility programs that foster sharing and dialogue between inclusive and diverse groups. As a result her most recent initiative included developing the pilot program titled Stimulating the Senses, a public program that invites ALL visitors to explore art, using senses other than sight.



Jeff Tancil, Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Jeff Tancil is the Director of Web/IT. He has worked in new media development for the past nine years. As a project manager for Icon MediaLabs, Mr. Tancil oversaw the development of Web initiatives for the American Cancer Society, IBM and E*TRADE.  He has worked at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum since 1999, overseeing the Museum’s Web site and managing its acclaimed Digital Artists in Residence Program.  Mr. Tancil has also written for CitySearch New York and developed the content for the History Channel’s “This Day in Wall Street History” Web site. Prior to working at Nicholson NY, he conducted research and reporting for ABC News’ “20/20,” and also worked as a videographer for the University of Pennsylvania’s Children’s Hospital. He received an MA degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.


V.S Ramachandran, University of California, San Diego

V.S Ramachandran is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and a professor with the Psychology Department and the Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego. He has received many honors and awards, including a fellowship from All Souls College, Oxford. NEWSWEEK magazine named him a member of "The Century Club,“ one of the "hundred most prominent people to watch in the next century." He has published more than 120 papers in scientific journals, is Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia of Human Behaviour, and author of the critically acclaimed book Phantoms in the Brain, which has been translated into eight languages and formed the basis for a TV series, as well as The Emerging Mind, and A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers. He has lectured widely on art, as well as visual perception and the brain, and is a trustee of the San Diego Museum of Art.



Anne Walton, Video/Performance/New Media Artist, Educator and Writer

Anne Walton is an Australian video/performance/new media artist, educator and writer with prior careers as a welfare rights lawyer and chef. This background gives her an eye for detail, a nose for the underdog, and a penchant for feeding her audiences. She says: "Dark dining down under could be just around the corner. Just imagine a deliciously proteinaceous witchetty grub on the end of your fork. Yes, well, you're more likely to swallow our bush tucker if you can't see it."

Ms. Walton gained a MA in Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art in 2000, supported by a Samstag Scholarship. In her twelve years of practice as an artist she has presented her performance, installation, and video works throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, in the United States, Scotland, Austria, Finland, Estonia, and Japan, and has presented papers at national and international conferences on electronic art, aesthetics, and art and text. She has been artist-in-residence in regional and remote areas of Australia, making site-specific installations and performances, and working creatively with indigenous and disadvantaged children. Ms. Walton has also undertaken many cross-disciplinary collaborations. In collaboration with Bruce Maguire, a braille and accessibility expert who is also attending the conference, she is now developing 'The Braille Window Project,' which she will present at the Artists Roundtable.


Lisa Yayla, Huseby Kompetansesenter Oslo, Norway

Lisa Yayla is a designer of accessible graphics at the Huseby Resource Center for the Visually Impaired in Oslo, Norway. She is the current leader for the SVG in DAISY project at the DAISY Consortium. She has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is graduated from The Norwegian School of Design (Statens håndverk- og kunstindustriskole) in Oslo as a graphic designer and illustrator. She is the recipient of two Norwegian design awards, and has written and illustrated a Norwegian children’s  book,  Det falske bløtkake. She has worked as a Web designer. She is also the administrator of the Accessible Image.


John Zeisel, Hearthstone Alzheimer Care

John Zeisel is President of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care and the Hearthstone Alzheimer’s Family Foundation, an associated not-for-profit organization. Hearthstone Alzheimer Care manages seven assisted living treatment residences for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. The Foundation promotes non-pharmacological treatment approaches for this illness, including design of the physical environment, music, communication, caregiver education, and art.

Dr. Zeisel’s past environmental design research experience comprises senior housing, family housing, office buildings, hospitals, schools, courthouses, headquarters buildings, museums, and other complex building types, in addition to design for people living with Alzheimer’s.  For 30 years Dr. Zeisel has been involved in strategic planning, facility programming, design review, public approvals, post-occupancy evaluations, and development management.

After receiving his PhD in Sociology from Columbia University and a Loeb Fellowship degree from Harvard's Graduate School of Design in the early 1970s, Dr. Zeisel taught at Yale University and at Montreal's McGill University, and then spent eight years on the Harvard Architecture School faculty, where he taught research methods, housing issues, and social factors in studio design. Between 1980 and 1990 Dr. Zeisel carried out applied research and consulting through the firm of Building Diagnostics Inc. In 1993 he founded Hearthstone Alzheimer Care. In 1994 he was the Cass Gilbert Visiting Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Minnesota. Since that time, Dr. Zeisel lectures internationally and teaches regularly at the business school of the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Executive Education Program. In 2003 he was awarded a CAMPUS Visiting Fellowship at Salford University’s Centre for the Built and Human Environment, in Manchester, England. In 2004 Dr. Zeisel was honored by appointment to the Board of Directors of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture. In 2005 he was invited to be a Visiting Professor at Salford University’s School of the Built Environment, a position he holds today.


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