Haptic artworks produced in collaboration with leading sight loss charity
24 May 2019
Exhibition marked the Royal National Institute of Blind people's 150th anniversary
School of Art students have created a series of beautiful sensory artworks that enable blind and visually impaired people to appreciate art and design in new ways and sighted people to understand art differently.
To mark the Royal National Institute of Blind people’s (RNIB) 150th anniversary, second-year students from Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University also ran workshops in collaboration with people experiencing sight loss.
As one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities, RNIB wanted to highlight the ways that galleries need to be more accessible and encourage artists to produce good quality creative work that can be appreciated by visually impaired art lovers.
Work that students created through the workshops – which were part of this year’s Unit X Festival – was then displayed at a special RNIB anniversary event at The Lowry Hotel in May.
Lynn Setterington, Senior Lecturer in Textiles in Practice at Manchester School of Art, and academic lead on the project, said: “This was a wonderful and inspiring project on so many levels. Everyone involved seemed to learn and grow from the experience of working together.
“The students developed greater understanding of the importance of the haptic and how textiles can move beyond the decorative into the social.
“The event at the Lowry was a perfect end to the shared working and was an excellent showcase which enabled the students to reach out and share their ideas with visitors and guests.”
Danielle Colcombe, Community Facilitator from RNIB said: “The project has been a breath of fresh air. Visually impared people are often neglected when it comes to art as many sighted artists rely heavily on visual communication to experience their work. What the studens have demonstrated beautifully here is that everyone can enjoy art when all of the senses are stimulated“.
The Unit X project was the second collaboration with RNIB this year, following on from third-year Textiles in Practice students being invited to create their own haptic artwork.
This was a wonderful and inspiring project on so many levels. Everyone involved seemed to learn and grow from the experience of working together.
A group of visually impaired people judged the students’ work, and Lucy Kent was declared the winner for her piece containing seeds that appealed to the senses of touch, smell and hearing.
Lucy Kent said: “Being involved in the Haptic project was a great opportunity and allowed me to think about my work not just visually but also from a sensory perspective.”