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.

CHI 2018

We were thrilled to have a paper accepted at ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction. The paper is entitled Accessible Maps for the Blind: Comparing 3D Printed Models with Tactile Graphics.

Kim Marriott represented our group, presenting the paper and participating in the invitation-only workshop on Inclusive Educational Technologies: Emerging Opportunities for People with Print Disabilities.


DemoLAB is a creative tech demo night co-hosted by Media Lab Melbourne and ACMI. Participants are invited to come along to share ideas and projects over pizza.

As part of Melbourne Design Week, we will be speaking at DemoLAB about our work creating innovative accessible objects for the vision impaired community using emerging low cost technologies. Registration is free.

Date: Tuesday 20 March 2018
Time: 6-10pm
Location: ACMI X, 2 Kavanagh street, South Melbourne


OMAA Conference

The 6th Australasian Orientation and Mobility Conference will be held on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 April 2018 in Melbourne at Bayview on the Park.

Monash researchers Matt Butler and Leona Holloway are excited to be presenting at the conference on the topic of 3D printing for accessible maps.

Earlybird registrations are open until February 14 and the draft program will be available on the OMAA website in early February. We hope to see you there!

3D printed map with indented roads and buildings of varying shapes and heights.
3D printed map of Bayview on the Park and surrounding area.

2017 Tactile Reading Conference – wrap up

The Tactile Reading Conference on braille and graphics for vision impaired children and youth was held in Stockholm in April 2017. Video recordings are now available for all of the presentations. Some of the highlights included:

      • 3-3 shapesThe National Institute for the blind, visually impaired and deafblind in Iceland provided packs of 3D shapes for young vision impaired students for more engaging interaction with maths concepts. (video)
      • Swell form diagram of a thermometer with bead on a string to indicate the mercury reading.Staff from the Valteri Center for Learning and Consulting in Finland spoke about creating tactile picture sets with generic pictures relating to the National Curriculum. Notes on how to use the graphics were provided along with sound scenarios to enrich the learning experience for all students in the classroom. (video)
      • Thinkable demonstrated their Motorised Drawing Arm, capable of very quickly transferring an electronic diagram into a tactile graphic by drawing on the TactiPad.
      • Les Doigts qui revent - little breath of wind page 3Phillipe Claudet spoke about the paradox of presenting tactile graphics based on images to people with no experience of vision. He also displayed his beautiful tactile books from Dreaming Fingers, now available in UEB through APH. This image is from “A little breath of wind”.

We also managed to do some sightseeing in charming Stockholm. Europe seems to lead the way in terms of accessible maps and models at tourist attractions.

It is hoped that this Conference will be the first of many, to be held in a different country every three years.

Carved wooden map.

NFB Convention STEM tutorial

The National Federation of the Blind’s National Convention will be held in Orlando, Florida from 10-15 July. Those of us unable to attend will still be able to reap the rewards of their STEM tutorial being hosted by John Gardner, with many of the speaker talks already available online at There are some great resources here on reading, writing and converting math to accessible formats; technologies for accessing graphics; and guidelines for accessible teaching of STEM materials.

Technical drawing of the solar system on computer screen, coming out of a swell machine, and overlaid on an ievo device

Bendigo Art Gallery accessible artworks project

Scanning a 60cm statue in the Bendigo Art GalleryMonash University are teaming up with the Bendigo Art Gallery to create accessible versions of some of the most popular pieces from their permanent collection. We will be using a variety of approaches including 3D scanning, 3D printing, laser cutting, audio description and  tactile graphics.

See for pictures and story.

2017 Tactile Reading Conference – upcoming event

Tactile Reading 2017 is a conference for academics and practitioners in the field of tactile reading for children and youth who are blind and vision impaired. A wealth of information will be shared, with three concurrent streams on developing tactile literacy, braille, and tactile graphics, a wealth of information will be shared. The full conference program is now available.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: 5-7 April 2017
Tactile reading logo. Braille and graphics for children and youth. Stockholm April 5-7 2017.

Free webinar: New and under-used strategies for accessible graphics in higher education

ADCET logoThe Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training hosted a free webinar on accessible graphics in higher education, presented by Leona Holloway of Monash University. Based on findings from a two-year study, the webinar will offer insight on:

  • identifying which graphics need to be made accessible
  • new technologies that students can use to gain independent access to graphics
  • choosing the most suitable techniques and technologies to make graphics accessible
  • resources to help implement solutions

The webinar recording is available online.