This three-day international conference and micro arts festival,which took place between 28 and 30 June 2015, explored the relationship between blind people and artistic creation.
Our definition of ‘blind person’ was broad, encompassing anyone who might be defined as having ‘non-normative vision’ and / or who relates to the world using senses other than sight. We welcomed 116 delegates from around the world and heard interventions from blind and non-blind academics, practitioners, advocates, writers and artists. By defining blind people not only as subjects in their own right, but also as active creators, the conference rejected the ‘medical model’ of disability which posits blind people as passive objects of medical investigation and rehabilitation. In so doing it challenged and reconceptualised the myths and stereotypes of ‘blindness’ which continue to circulate by recasting ‘blindness’ as a multi-faceted and positive creative force which might be usefully explored by both non-blind and blind people.
The conference, which took place at Royal Holloway’s campus in Egham, Surrey, UK, was co-organized by Hannah Thompson (Royal Holloway) and Vanessa Warne (University of Manitoba, Canada).