Accessible maps of the Brisbane Museum District

While at the 2019 Round Table Conference in Brisbane, a group of attendees (touch readers, family members and accessible format producers) took a short excursion to explore the accessible maps of the museum district in South Bank.

We found several wall-mounted print/braille maps along with a large table-top model, located on the Grey street side of the State Library. It was wonderful to experience these inclusive accessibility measures in public spaces.
3 photographs: walking with dog and cane; clear print and tactile map; large 3D model of buildings and roads

Do you know of any similar maps or models in your area? Please let us know!

Workshop – Accessible Interactive Story Book Pages at MPavilion

MPavilion is an annual architectural commission in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, opposite the Arts Centre. As part of their STEM series, we were excited to be invited to run a free public workshop on using eTextiles to create interactive accessible story books pages. Creating Tactile Stories was presented by Leona Holloway, Kirsten Ellis from Monash University and Louise Curtin from Feelix Children’s Library.

People sewing in MPavilion 2018, an open-air wooden architectural space.

In celebration of Braille Literacy Month, we talked about the importance of early, engaging tactile experiences as the first step towards (tactile) literacy for blind children. We then learned how to use eTextiles to sew a simple circuit with lights or buzzers, which we embedded in our handcrafted tactile story book page. We were delighted to see so many beautiful, creative and ingenious designs.

Some simple instructions on how to make your own eTextiles at home are given on the SensiLab website at sensilab.monash.edu/news-events/creating-tactile-stories/. Watch this space for more tips and resources to come.

Workshop participants touching a page depicting a furry blue cat with googly eyes.
This tactile cat purrs (vibrates) when its tail is patted.

Bendigo Art Gallery accessible tour and web pages

In the next phase of our project with Bendigo Art Gallery, we had the pleasure of exploring ideas for accessible art with the Gallery and vision impaired communities.

laser cut representation of "I ate the rainbow up ..." with separate layers of acrylic to represent the background, figures, faces and handsIn a day-long workshop, gallery staff, artists and community members came together to talk about why accessible art is important, who it impacts, and the best ways to make it happen.

At a special tour, vision impaired visitors were treated to a guided tour featuring four artworks in Bendigo Art Gallery’s permanent collection. Alongside vivid audio description of the artworks, visitors were able to touch the sculptures and an old frame, take the role of a character from a painting with representative props, and explore

Accessible trial web pages were also produced to enable more independent exploration of a range of paintings and sculptures. Each page included a visual description of the artwork, information about the artwork, enlarged and high contrast images, and a soundscape related to the subject matter or period.

Watch this space for announcements regarding publications reporting our research findings.