This three-day international conference and micro arts festival,which will take place between 28th and 30th June 2015, seeks to explore the relationship between blind people and artistic creation.
Our definition of ‘blind person’ is broad, encompassing anyone who might be defined as having ‘non-normative vision’ and / or who relates to the world using senses other than sight. It welcomes interventions from blind and non-blind academics (with or without institutional affiliation), practitioners, advocates, writers and artists (also broadly defined to include musicians, actors and sculptors as well as visual artists). It sees blind people not only as subjects in their own right, but also as active creators; as such it rejects the ‘medical model’ of disability which posits blind people as passive objects of medical investigation and rehabilitation. In so doing it hopes to challenge and reconceptualise 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 will take place at Royal Holloway’s campus in Egham, Surrey, UK, is co-organized by Hannah Thompson (Royal Holloway) and Vanessa Warne (University of Manitoba, Canada). We are pleased to announce that the conference will feature three plenary speakers: Prof Georgina Kleege (UC Berkeley), Prof Stephen Kuusisto (Syracuse University) and Dr Zina Weygand (Paris). Other highlights will include:
- An audio-described screening of Ruth Grimberg’s 2014 documentary Across Still Waterfollowed 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
- A creative writing round table with French novelist Romain Villet, Canadian writer Ryan Knighton, French translator Frederic Greiller and Anglo-Canadian sci-fi writer Naomi Foyle
- Four 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.