We featured in an article by French journalist Clara Crochet-Damais which documented the award ceremony in Paris where we were awarded the International Access for All Design Trophy 2015 on the website FranceTVinfo
FranceTVinfoPage report on Design for All Foundation Award
Summer 2015 Zena Hussein an Intern from UEL worked on data analysis from the Sensory Objects Project. Karl and Barbara Baeck from a tempo, a support network for people with disabilities to access employment, in Graz Austria, Karl and Barbara were funded by the European Union to study the Sensory Objects project. They intend to translate the Sensory Expeditions Activity book into German. The picture below shows Karl with Marc on an earlier visit to the project.
Karl with Marc from ‘atempo’ Graz.
Sensory Objects were invited by Becki Morris to contribute to a new webpage Disability Cooperative Network the aim of the network is to share knowledge to break down barriers for disability in the cultural sector
Kate and Nic gave a hands on presentation of the Sensory Objects project to the Inclusive Museums Conference at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. We sent a big box containing Sensory Objects developed by our Co-researchers from Reading College at MERL and also the Access to Heritage Group in Liverpool. We showed slides and videos of our current group from the Tower Project at the British Museum to explain our project conference attendees. We met people from all over the world who were interested in our project. The pictures below show some of them trying out the objects you can see Phillip and Johns scrapbooks of Sudley House Liverpool, Sians mooing boot and Rachel’s Pink grunting Pig and Nic explaining our ideas of using Squishy Circuits, littleBits and our research with littleBits go LARGE.
Inclusive Museums Presentation Sensory Objects
Sensory Objects Presenation Nic at the Inclusive Museum Conference
During the conference there were many talks and discussions often all happening at once. One of the most inspiring talks, I thought, was by Nina Simon, she wrote a book that helped give shape to our sensory objects project The Participatory Museum. Below are some images she used during her talk about Santa Cruz Museum where she is working at now. Her talk showed her ideas and experiences of making the museum a place where everyone can feel welcome and take part. She mentioned Pop Up Museums and also the idea of the museum acting as a place for people to have conversations, bringing unlikely people together, she described it as ‘bridging’ the two people bottom left of the picture are a lady who knits and a graffiti artist who meet during a workshop at the museum and really got on.
Presentation Nina Simon
During the talk Nina mentioned some of the problems of making the museum more participatory, that some people in the community accuse her of dumbing down the museum, she illustrated the problem by showing this cartoon below. You can’t please everyone, in the cartoon a character called MAH that Nina said represented her is telling Michelangelo that his painting of the Sistine Chapel is “a bit passive and that he must engage the visitor, leave room for the visitors to colour in your work with crayons or paint ball! you know…. dumb down your work!” Nina mentioned that by widening the audience to the museum you will also alienate people who enjoyed it as it was, but attendance and participation in the Santa Cruz Museum continues to rise and generate income because of her ideas of inclusion.
Nina Simon Cartoon
The video below shows Nina giving a talk which has similar content to the presentation at the Inclusive Museums Conference.
Our seminar was excellent and we want to say a big Thank You! to all who took part you were brilliant. Below shows the events of the day in our easy read programme
Seminar Easy Read Doc
Miranda Fox from Reading Mencap Coffee Club began the day with an intro to the project with Kate
Miranda from Reading Mencap
Phil Lucas Head of Reading College LLD/D Dept was also kind enough to say a few words, he mentioned that our project predicted the future, learning ‘through project’ which he felt was very successful and something that Reading College would be doing more of in the future. He was very proud of what the students had achieved and that it had benefited both students and staff.The picture below shows Rachel demonstrating her pig to Phil and Skye using an iPad to show her Wiki
Rachel with Phil Lucas in background
Our Co-researchers demonstrated their sensory objects to the seminar, the picture below shows Gosia helping one of our visitors experience Rachel’s Pig.
Trying Rachel’s Pink Pig
Trying Rachel’s Pink Pig close up
Sheep cushion that goes baa when you stroke it
Sian shows Tina from the University of Reading Art Dept her Wiki
Andy smiles while photos
Kate Arnold-Forster Director of MERL talked about the impact of the project on MERL that it had given them ideas for interactive exhibits in the redesign of MERL and also for workshops that have a more open ended creative approach.
The picture in the slide below shows the museum where Sensory Objects will work next at the British Museum from July 2015.
Kate ArnoldForster Director of MERL
Special thanks go to our Co-researcher group who came up for the two days from Liverpool. John Taylor and Phillip Ryan from Liverpool Mencap Access to Heritage Group
John & Philip present their research using the Sensory Objects Cookbook
John shows Nicola andPhilip shows Gosia sensory Scrap book
John and Philip gave a vivid report of their experiences using our Sensory Activities Cookbook, by demonstrating through slides, fat scrap books and boxes of textures, and their reflections and thoughts of their sensory experiences visiting Sudley House in Liverpool.
Gosia and Andy presented ideas about using multi media as away for our co-researchers to reflect.
Gosia & Andy presentation
Andy talking about multimedia advocacy
Nic presented littleBits go LARGE and other workshop tools developed by the project to make technology more accessible or is that make accessible technology?
Nic and littleBits
Having a go with littleBits
Nicola Grove gave a talk about the meanings of objects and led a discussion.
Nicola during her talk
Nicola asked for a volunteer to help her discuss what objects mean to different people, she asked John close his eyes and tell us what object he was holding. John gave a great description of the cold feel of a metal key. Nicola asked the audience what a key meant to them, some people said home, but Nicola mentioned that for those of us who don’t have our own key to where we live it would have a different meaning.
Nicola Gives John a Key
Qian Chen our students lecturer finished the day by leading an impromptu sing along of Old Mac Donald! by that time our numbers had swelled to around 80 people as many students arrived from Reading College.
We are going to have talks and demonstrations about the project on Tuesday 10th of June the Seminar is part of Universities Week Below is a flyer in easy read version and with more text about the Seminar. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend the seminar its free but places are limited.
Although making sensory boxes were planned during this session, we used the whole session to feedback about the book its self. It took longer than expected so we made some sensory boxes in our final session at Sudley, the pictures below show some of our Sudley House Boxes made during our final session.
Angela’s box of Sudley House
Close up of Stephen’s Box of Sudley House
Ticky wrote this report for us on the groups thoughts about the cookbook. We began by recapping on the previous session. We went around the group individually to share Objects made last week, iPad photos, Printed photos, to help them to remember and to share. In pairs – with support staff and service users we looked at the whole of the cookbook.Feed back was filmed and some notes were written in the books. Some really useful comments and suggestions came out of this session.
The name is misleading
It would be good to have the whole section about one activity in one place instead of separated with appendices
It would be good to have a list of things you need for the activity with the cartoon
A session planning template would be useful for support staff
A filled in version as an example would show supporters what kind of thing to write
(We made a template for support staff as part of the Hands On training – but we think it could do with being reformatted as it looks too much like a form and some staff find that off putting.)
A blank page for notes would also be useful
J&G have been adding a starting activity (ice breaker) and a feed back session at the end and this could be worth suggesting in the book if it is to be used by support staff.
Who is the intended audience for the book? Casual visitors? Venue staff? Support staff, service users all?
It could be used by groups visiting if they were handed a sheet on arrival to help them focus their visit on a sense?
Or for a 6 week block visit
Could be a really useful tool for support staff to plan activities at the base through the senses over several weeks – for example a group have South America as their topic and could choose to have a food focus then music……
Suggested that it could be less linked to a house and made more general
Produced as a durable book as it would get a lot of use and handling
Asked about web resources they didn’t think it would work as staff in day centres are not given the time to go on line and down load plans
And they would be unlikely to up load their photos, films sound clips, comments for same reason.
Unless it was incorporated into the session
Other comments on book
Simple symbols possibly in colour and quite big needed for the senses to be used where ever there are titles smell touch etc introduced in the contents page where it can be explained if necessary then recognised elsewhere.
Symbols Used in place of the photos which are too ambiguous in contents and else where (although lovely for the group as they are in them)
Most of the cartoons are brilliant and are an excellent way to engage with the book for people with learning disabilities.
Some pictures are confusing and misleading – microphone mistaken for an ice cream – mouse confuses people – smell pictures are hard to read – texture is most unclear and needs rethinking – possibly using real pictures?
The questionnaire is not made for people with learning disabilities
If you want their comments need more work on this – yes/no answers smiley face sad face.
Some comments written in books directly which I will send to you along with the films of people feeding back.
Our group of Co-researchers in Liverpool have continued to test the Sensory Objects Cookbook at Sudley House Liverpool throughout February and March 2014. Each week members of the Access to Heritage group have met and tried out a different sensory expedition. In an earlier post we told you about a touch activity, the next was sound.”
The group brought sound making equipment with them to Sudley house, Shakers, Keyboard, etc. June led an activity where we all had to close our eyes and sit quietly for a couple of minutes just to listen. Then we went round the room to find out what people had heard. It was surprising what you could hear when you listen! Shoes on stairs, I heard, people talking, Chairs creaking, bird song, dogs barking, Carl drinking coffee and putting cup down, the sea. In the house we went round in small groups with i pads which we used to record images and sound. We created some sounds our selves – like opening drawers, walking on wooden floors and turning the pages of a book.
Sound workshop, collecting, imagining and making sounds at Sudley House
We recorded people chattering and clinking in the tea room. We imagined what other sounds might have gone on at the dining table for example – pouring drinks, laughing. cutlery, clock ticking, banging plates, biting, chewing, scraping. After lunch we listened to sounds each of us had recorded on the i pads: a creaking door, hitting railings with a stick, turning a door handle, walking down stairs, cafe sounds,rain drop, fire cracking, talking. Some people took photos of paintings and photos and imagined the sounds they would make. The group didn’t end up using the sound makers they had brought with them.
This testing session the first of six was a chance for Nic to introduce the Cookbook to a new group, and to introduce Sudley House. The picture below shows our Co-Researchers looking at the Cookbook.
Cookbook Test at Sudley House
Stephen Hogg, Angela Green, Gerry Regan and June Jenkins were Sensory Objects Co-Researchers 2012-13 at Speke Hall Liverpool. We asked them along with Ticky Lowe and Nic Hollinworth to meet and introduce John, Keith and Pauline and support worker Anita from Stockbridge Day Centre to the Sensory Objects project Cookbook. John, Keith, Pauline and Anita are new to the project and we wanted to show them the Cookbook and see if they found it easy to use as a guide to planning sensory activities at a new venue. Led by Ticky we explored Sudley House focusing on and recording textures of actual objects, costume and objects in paintings.
Sudley Hall Textures
Then back in the workshop room we used Ticky’s collection of fabrics to choose textures like the ones we found in the house to make a “textural” record of our visit. For the next sessions Anita will be using the cookbook to plan and deliver workshops at Sudley House herself. Ticky’s role will be to document the sessions and find out how Anita finds using the cookbook to plan and deliver the sessions.