Sensing Culture Symposium 

Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 10:00 AM – Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 5:00 PM BST

University of Bath, The Chancellor's Building, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY

Sensing Culture is a Heritage Lottery Fund funded project that enables blind and partially sighted people to increase their independence through visiting heritage sites and museums. Sensing Culture is led by CultureLink South East, which is a partnership led by the Royal National Institute of the Blind with the support of a number of prestigious heritage organisations, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and will conclude in April 2018.

Sensing Culture aims to increase independence by training staff and volunteers at partner heritage sites, so these stakeholders understand the impact of sight loss. This training focuses on ways of supporting visitors and positive learning experiences. Amongst the methods of supporting visitors who are blind and visually impaired, technology, audio description and tactile panels are used to make sites more interactive.

Theme: Founding a Community of Practice for Sensing Culture Through Inclusive Capital

The theme of the symposium is founding a community of practice to engage professionals, volunteers and visitors who are blind and partially sighted to develop more inclusive heritage sites. The symposium will include the launch of a website based at the University of Bath, UK, which will host the community of practice.
Through discussion, presentations of good-practice, and critical engagement with barriers to inclusion, the community of practice will provide a legacy for Sensing Culture beyond 2018. We would therefore particularly like to engage with people who can contribute to this community of practice.
The symposium will work to develop inclusive capital in cultural heritage sites. Inclusive capital can be described as a sense of inclusion in cultural heritage sites, which is gained in four stages:
The first stage in this cycle is connecting and bonding with a network of people
The second stage is learning through networks
The third stage is collecting information that leads to access or knowledge through learning
The fourth stage is physical and virtual access to spaces and places where we can learn and gather new information, such as visiting or attending cultural institutions

About the speakers

We are delighted to be hosting a wide range of talks from around the world. Our keynote speakers are:
Professor John Kennedy - University of Toronto (Note: This keynote will take place via Skype)
Professor John Ravenscroft – University of Edinburgh 
Doctor Lee Campbell – University of Lincoln and University of the Arts London
Elisabeth Axel - Founder, Art Beyond Sight/Art Education for the Blind, New York | more info (Note: This keynote will take place via Skype)

We currently have a call for papers for the wider programe of speakers (see below). The programme already includes speakers from major national museums.


Light refreshments will be provided, but please bring your own lunch.

Call for Papers

Your abstract should be brief and a maximum of 100 words – preferably fewer - and should include the theme of developing inclusion, that can form inclusive capital. Examples of presentations could be:
a project you have designed or run in a heritage site
findings from an evaluation of a project
experiences of visiting exhibits as a blind or visually impaired person
initial or substantial findings from research
We are particularly interested in receiving brief abstracts from people who are:
people who are blind or partially sighted with experience of museums
museum managers, administrators, professionals and volunteers
academics and students studying museum access
teachers (either in a museum or who engages with museums as part of your teaching)
The presentations will be 15-20 minutes, and incorporate 10-15 minute discussions. We particularly welcome on-going projects that can be enhanced through a discussion at the symposium.
The abstracts will be published on paper, on a new Sensing Culture website, and on the University of Bath's new community of practice website. If the presenter wishes, we will also publish their presentation or a paper outlining their presentation online. Papers can also be considered for a special issue of The Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research (JBIR) if the author(s) so wish.
Abstracts should be emailed to [log in to unmask] and submitted by February 14th 2018.

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