Pictures to Touch & Hear

Art galleries and museums are no places for the visually impaired, it offers visual experience and therefore deprives them of experiencing artefacts and national art treasures.

A photograph “by” the visually impaired (created under Blind With Camera project) has to be “for” the visually impaired.

Keeping this in mind we are in the process to implement the “In Touch With Pictures” project to provide adaptive ways for the visually impaired to access and enjoy photographs.  The project incorporates the best practices followed by art museums around of world to engage the visually impaired visitors to access their art collections. “In Touch With Pictures” is guided by the Disability Equality Policy on access to art and culture. To know more about our Disability Equality Policy, click HERE

Below are adaptive ways which collectively gives holistic experience of art to the visually impaired –

1. Tactile (Touch & Feel) Pictures: These images are “raised” on a flat surface and designed to provide access of photographs or visual arts by visually impaired people through touch. Tactile images are not exact reproductions of the visual image, but reinterpretations of the visual image into a tactile language. Based on the original picture tactile images are created by printing black and white onto swell paper (also known as microcapsule paper), and then heating it in a tactile image enhancer so that the black areas (which absorb heat faster) raise up and create a relief version of the design.


The picture on the left is the original picture and to its right is the touch & feel raised picture, first drawn by an artists, printed on thermal sensitive paper and followed by heating techinique to “swell” the picture.


2. Audio Description: Commonly know as AD, are recorded or live description by trainers used in our workshops and exhibition tour guide. The narrative provide a detailed description of the original work and give emphasis on the perceptive, shapes of object, foreground, background, distance, color, expressions and features.

3. Tactile Picture with Audio Description: The most effective way to access photographs and visual art by the visually impaired people is by using touch and sound together.  Audio Description (AD) that accompany the tactile image guide the visually impaired across its surface in a clear and logical way without jumping into details directly. The narrative begins at one of the image’s corner (usually left bottom) and work inward in an orderly progression, giving detail descriptions of the shape of objects touched. It also gives emphasis on the foreground, background, distance, color, expressions and features etc which cannot be identified by touch alone. Feeling the tactile images with AD helps the visually impaired photographers and viewers to gain a clear understanding of the composition of the photograph.To hear the audio description of the above picture click here  
4. Braille and Large Print: All text on display, footnotes, in exhibition catalogue and invites are in Braille and Large Print of above 18 points.   
Below are pictures from our inclusive design exhibition  providing a combination of touch & feel raised exhibits, Braille & Large Print, Visual Aids (magnifiers) and Audio Description (AD).  

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