In an effort to make art accessible to everyone, Photography students are holding an art exhibit for those with limited or no sight.
The Canterbury School of Visual Arts (CSVA) at Canterbury College has created a number of artworks either for those with visual impairments, or highlighting the difficulties these impairments cause.
Taking place at Canterbury Roman Museum on Butchery Lane from Saturday, June 25 to Sunday, July 3, the ‘Touch the Artwork’ display is part of a larger free exhibition of students’ pieces called 'Bright Young Things'.
Featured are so-called tactograms – plaster casts featuring braille which the public is invited to touch and read. Pictures also convey the concept of sight and what goes unseen, for example microscopic images of every day objects.
Using a PENfriend, a tool offered by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, visitors are able to hear audio descriptions of displayed works of art, a first of this kind by any local college.
This exhibition forms part of the work experience project that Year 1 Photography students undertook with Kent Association for the Blind (KAB). Amanda Broadmaide of KAB ran a workshop with the students about the challenges faced by those with visual impairments. This enabled them to create an accessible exhibition of their photography.
Photography Lecturer, Danny Whitcher said: “When our Industry Liaison Officer Denise Knights-Toomer first approached us with this project, it was a daunting challenge as our medium is entirely visual. However, it’s actually been really fun and interesting to adapt and learn about art for the visually impaired.
“We had Amanda from the Kent Association for the Blind come in to brief the students on the requirements of the audience, and she also brought in special eyewear that gave a sense of what it would be like to have a visual impairment.
“During lessons, we also ran an exercise where two students would sit back to back with one describing an object and the other having to draw it. It led to some very interesting artwork, and really conveyed the difficulties faced by visually impaired people.
“Through these activities, our students have fully engaged in the project and revelled in the challenge of taking their specialism – photography – and showing it to a wider and more inclusive audience.”
The ‘Touch the Artwork’ display, and the wider Bright Young Things exhibition, is open to the public from 10am to 4pm every day from Saturday, June 25 to Sunday, July 3 at Canterbury Roman Museum on Butchery Lane.