- Plenary talks by Georgina Kleege and Zina Weygand
- An audio-described screening of Ruth Grimberg’s 2014 documentary Across Still Water followed by a Q and A with the director and producer.
- A touch-tour of one of Royal Holloway’s most evocative sculptures, ‘Erinna’
- An audio-described tour of Royal Holloway’s famous Picture Gallery by the gallery’s curator and a professional audio-describer.
- A creative writing round table with French novelist Romain Villet, professional French-English translator Frédéric Greiller, Anglo-Canadian sci-fi writer Naomi Foyle, internationally acclaimed Canadian memorist Ryan Knighton and Canadian Disability Studies scholar and writer Rod Michalko.
- A wide range of academic sessions on histories, theories and representations of blindness: topics include: museums and accessibility; haptic art; blindness in American literature, Borges, blindness and film history and theatre by and for blind people.
- Six tactile art installations explained and introduced by their creators.
- An after-dinner talk by Louis Braille’s biographer Michael Mellor.
- Interactive art and theatre workshops on the theme of blind creation.
- An audio and touch tour of some of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s key exhibits
In June 2013 a major international conference on the history of blindness and the blind took place in Paris, France. It was covered for ‘In Touch’ by Selina Mills and attracted interest across the world. This 2013 event generated much scholarly excitement which resonates with current interest in visual culture and the senses in general. Whilst the 2013 event was primarily focused on the social and political history of blindness, several of the papers touched on the relationship between blindness and other creative arts such as writing, painting and music. The members of the ‘Blind Creations’ organising committee, who met at the 2013 event, share an interest in the intersections of blindness and creativity and have created an innovative event which explores these intersections whilst showcasing art created by or about blind people.
Blind Creations will be open to the public and widely publicised amongst the blind and partially blind community.
Dr Hannah Thompson is a leading figure in Disability Studies in the United Kingdom. As well as having academic interests in the intersections of blindness and French culture, she is also a disability activist and writes the popular ‘Blind Spot’ blog.
Dr Vanessa Warne is a Canadian academic who teaches and publishes on both North American and British disability history. She is based in Winnipeg, home to the Canadian Disability Studies Association and a hub for Canadian disability rights activism. In parallel with her academic work, she works with heritage organizations, including historic home museums, on exhibit accessibility.
We are very grateful to the following for generously supporting the conference:
the Wellcome Trust; the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada, the Interdisciplinary Master's Program in Disability Studies, University of Manitoba; the Faculty of Arts, University of Manitoba; the Department of English, Film and Theatre, University of Manitoba; the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Royal Holloway, University of London; HARC (Humanitiews and Arts Research Centre, University of London); the Centre d’Histoire des Systèmes de Pensée Moderne, Universite de Paris I; the Centre d’Etudes en Rhétorique, Philosophie et Histoire des idées, ENS Lyon.
For more information contact Hannah Thompson (Hannah.Thompson@rhul.ac.uk)