(last updated June 02 2015)

An International Colloquium on Blindness and the Arts
Royal Holloway, University of London, 28-30 June 2015

Sunday June 28 

9:30am Registration Opens (Management Building Foyer)

11am Coffee and Tea

10-12:00pm Art Making Workshop with David Johnson (016)

(For pre-registered delegates only)

12:00-1:00 Lunch (Management Building Foyer)

1:00-2:30: Welcome by Dr Hannah Thompson and Dr Vanessa Warne

Plenary: Georgina Kleege: 'Blind Self-Portraits' (Management Auditorium) Generously sponsored by the University of Manitoba’s Interdisciplinary MA Program in Disability Studies

2:30-3:00 Tea (Management Building Foyer)

3:00-5:00 Session 1 (Management Building)

1a. Music: Chair: Steven Riep (Auditorium)
  • Sebastien Durand, ‘How did music change the course of history for the Blind?’
  • Selina Mills, ‘The life and times of the composer, musician, performer, teacher, Maria-Theresia Von Paradis’
  • Yeaji Kim, ‘Tactile Stave Music’
  • Anne-Lise Mithout, ‘Blind musicians and the making of epic poetry in Medieval Japan’
1b. The Blind Pen: panel organised and chaired by Laura Carnelos and Jane Everson (016)
  • Laura Carnelos, ‘Italian Blind Authors and the perception of their disability in the Early Modern Age’
  • Jane Everson, ‘Memory and the Mind’s Eye: Ecphrasis in Il Mambriano of Francesco Cieco da Ferrara’
  • Juan Gomis, ‘Songs, prayers and business: blind people in Spain (15th-18th centuries)’
1c. Creative Possibilities: panel organised and chaired by Marcia Moraes (002-3)
  • Marcia Moraes, ‘Research WITH: for a world more dense with narratives and sensorialities’
  • Laura Pozzana, ‘Corporal workshop to awaken presences at the museum’
  • Virginia Kastrup, ‘Art and Blindness: Three Lives Reinvented’
  • Camila Araujo Alves, ‘What if we tried more?: A proposal for the field of accessibility in cultural spaces’

5:00-6:30 Artists' Talks and Exhibition Opening Reception (with wine): Chair: Vanessa Warne (Management Building Auditorium followed by Foyer and Exhibition Room 004-5) Featuring talks by David Johnson, Florian Grond, Teresa Jaynes, Partho Bhowmik, Aaron McPeake and Alice Entwistle and Lou Lockwood. (More details of the artworks on display can be found here).

6:30-8:00 Dinner and Cash Bar (Crosslands, Founder’s Building)

Presentation by Michael Mellor: 'Inventive Louis Braille'

8:00-9:30 Audio-Described Film Screening of Ruth Grimberg’s 2014 documentary Across Still Water (Management Auditorium); Panel Discussion featuring Film Makers Ruth Grimberg and Claire Levy with responses from Georgina Kleege and Louise Fryer

9:30-11pm Cash Bar (Crosslands; Founder’s Building)

Monday June 29

8:00-9:00 Breakfast for Residential Delegates and Guests (Management Building Foyer)

9:00-10:15 Session 2 (Management Building)

2a. Literature (Anglo): Chair: Nancy Hansen (Auditorium)
  • Adam Pottle, ‘Blindness and Limited Narrative Omniscience in Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage’
  • Hemachandran Karah, ‘Blindness writing: an examination of triple narrative positions in Ved Mehta’s The Continent of Blind Culture’
2b. Creative Blindness: Chair: Matthew Rubery (016)
  • Alice Entwistle, 'Touching Text: To The Lighthouse as tactile art in Cardiff Bay'
  • Brian Miller, ‘Prairie Tales: Mary Ingalls and the Invention of a 19th Century Super Crip’
2c. Japan: Chair: Kozue Handa (002-3)
  • Hiromi Kishi, ‘A History of “Blindness and the Arts” in Japan: Memories and the Power of Touch’

10:15-10:45 Tea (Management Foyer)

10:45-12:15 Session 3 (Management Building)

3a. Institutions: Chair: Emma Brodzinski (016)
  • Nancy Hansen, ‘Art in Everyday Objects: Resistance in the Making’
  • Hazel McFarlane, ‘Blind Asylums: Places of Creative Resistance’
  • Iain Hutchison, ‘Creativity versus Respectability: A contest between blind aspirations and the values of philanthropic interventionists in Victorian and Edwardian Scotland’
3b. Film and Visual Depiction: Chair: Sarah Dauncey (Auditorium)
  • Alexandra Tacke, ‘“The Blind guiding the Seeing”: the ‘blind spots’ of film history’
  • Monika Baar, ‘Depictions of guide dogs and their owners in literature, visual art and film’
  • Steven Riep, ‘Intersections: Objectification, Visual Impairments and Gender in Contemporary Cinema from China and Hong Kong’
3c. Literature (Hispanic): Chair: Maria Romeiras (002-3)
  • Max Ubelaker Andrade, ‘Against Seeing: Jorge Luis Borges’ Literary Imagination’
  • Kevin Goldstein, 'Foregrounding the Amanuensis: Dictation, Interdependence, Epistemology'
  • Aravinda Bhat , ‘Borges’s Aesthetic of Blindness: The Dialectic of the Ideal and the Experiential’

12:15-1:15 Lunch (Management Foyer)

1:15-2:15 Flatlands Theatre Event (Management Auditorium): Presentation and Demonstration by Maria Oshodi

2:30-3:30 Session 4 (Management Building)

4a. Key Figures: Chair: Bérengère Levet (Auditorium)
  • Bruno Ronfard, ‘An Enlightened Journey: Taha Husayn’
  • Bruno Liesen, ‘Cecile Douard (1866-1941): Impressions d'une seconde vie’
4b. Tactile Education: Chair: Pieter Verstraete (016)
  • Norman Ball, ‘The innovations of Frank H. Hall’
  • Annika Noll, ‘Viktor Löwenfeld and Tactility’

3:30-4:00 Tea (Management Foyer)

4:00-5:30 Session 5 (Management Building)

5a. Across Media: Chair: Vanessa Warne (016)
  • Emilie Giles, ‘Exploring the role of eTextiles designed by blind and visual impaired users within cultural spaces
  • Amanda Cachia, ‘On ‘Marking Blind’ online exhibition’
  • Kozue Handa, ‘Shape of Content: Exploring Japanese Traditional Design through Touch’
5b. Audio Description: Chair: Ryan Knighton (Auditorium)
  • Louise Fryer, ‘An ecological approach to audio description’
  • Polly Goodwin, ‘The limits and possibilities of audio describing silent film’
  • Yayoi Mashimo, ‘Near Poetry, Beyond Explanation: Toward Verbal Descriptions with Inspiration’
5c. Multimodal Reading (panel organised by Matthew Rubery): Chair: Rebecca Scales (002-3)
  • Matthew Rubery, ‘Talking Books and Censorship’
  • Rachel Hutchinson, ‘"Books are asked for by the loudest shouter": the challenges of reading creatively with a limited library’
  • Sejal Sutaria, ‘What’s in a Name?: The Dangers and Delights of Multimodal Reading’


Partho Bhowmik: Blind with Camera: Book Launch (016)

Rod Michalko and Tanya Titchkosky: 'Blindness Imaginaries and Visual Culture' (Auditorium)

This session reveals blindness as a form of cultural perception lurking at the edges of all ways of looking and seeing.

6:30-8:00 Gala Dinner / Cash Bar (Crosslands; Founder’s Building)

8:00-9:30 Creative Writers' Roundtable featuring Ryan Knighton, Naomi Foyle, Frédéric Grellier, Romain Villet and Rod Michalko (Management Building Auditorium)

9:30-11pm Cash Bar (Crosslands; Founder’s Building)

Tuesday June 30

8:00-9:00 Breakfast for Residential Delegates (Management Foyer)

9:15 Plenary: Zina Weygand, 'Jacques Lusseyran: Le héros aveugle de la résistance française / The Blind Hero of the French Resistance' (in French with English translation online) (Management Building Auditorium)

10:30-11:00 Tea (Management Foyer)

11-12:30 Session 6 (Management Building)

6a. European Texts: Chair: Hannah Thompson (002-3)
  • Pieter Verstraete, ‘The representation of blindness in Maeterlinck’s theatre play De blinden and Johan van der Keuken’s documentary Herman Slobbe: Blind kind II’
  • Sabine Gadrat-Cellou, ‘L'émergence d'un nouveau type de personnage(s) aveugle(s) dans la fiction’ (in French)
  • Bérengère Levet, ‘Blindness or Femininity, that is the question: the young blind girl in The Two Orphans, a popular novel by Adolphe d'Ennery (1887-1889)’
6b. Touching Art: Chair: Ruth Hemus (Auditorium)
  • Simon Hayhoe, ‘An enquiry into passive inclusion and unreachable artworks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’
  • Raquel Guerriro, ‘Aesthetic Accessibility and Tactile Images of Works of Art’
  • Riitta Lahtinen and Russ Palmer, ‘Art Experiences Using Haptices on the Body’
6c. Medieval/Enlightenment Perspectives: Chair: Selina Mills (016) 
  • Irina Metzler, ‘Mis-leadings: Guide Dogs and the Blind in Medieval Culture’
  • Herve Baudry, ‘Barocco Blindness : music, poetry and philosophy in early-modern France’
  • Jenni Kuuliala, ‘The Sacred Lack of Vision: Blindness of Saints and their Clients in the Later Middle Ages’

12:30-1:30 Lunch (Management Foyer)

1:30-3:00 Session 7 (Management Building)

7a. Museums: Chair: Laura MacCulloch, Curator, Royal Holloway Art Collections (016)
  • Paul Sullivan, ‘Inclusive descriptions of art works at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery’
  • Sasa Poljac Istenic, ‘Including and Empowering the Blind: The Case of Slovenian Museums and Art Galleries’
  • Rebecca McGinnis, ‘Seeing through Art: Blind Visitors and the Museum Experience’
7b. Book Design: Simon Hayhoe (Auditorium)
  • Dannyelle Valente, ‘Multi-sensory books created for and by blind children’
  • Brandon Christopher, ‘The Tactile Comic: A Reading of Philipp Meyer’s Life’
  • Bruno Brites, ‘Colours of Touch: A Graphic Design Experience for Blind People’
7c. Theory/Philosophy: Chair: Heather Tilley (002-3)
  • Joyce Leysen, ‘Staring into the open: Towards a cosmopolitical understanding of blindness, art and society’
  • Piet Devos, ‘Against the Pollution of the Eye: Jacques Lusseyran's Phenomenology of Pure Inner Vision’
  • Maria Romeiras, ‘Visual literacy and the history of the self: an option?’

3:00-3:30 Tea (Picture Gallery; Founder’s Building)

3:30-5:30 Described Gallery Tour of the Royal Holloway Picture Gallery (Founder’s Building) with Laura MacCulloch

Touch tour of Royal Holloway’s Erinna sculpture with Michaela Jones

5:30 Conference Close: Informal Drinks at Local Pub