Case study: Dunedin Public Art Gallery's insightful tours
2 April 2012
A key challenge for Lynda Cullen, Co-ordinator, Visitor Programmes, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, was working out how to explain size to participants in her "insightful tours" for blind and vision impaired visitors.
“I overcame this by comparing the artwork or object to everyday household objects: for example, the Machiavelli painting is the size of a pillowcase,” she explains.
Another challenge was how best to engage blind and vision impaired people when they can’t touch the artworks. Where possible, she says, the gallery makes available samples that can be touched. For example, samples of tempera or acrylic or oil paint on small boards; or vinyl adhered to perspex to emulate a particular artwork.
“I take time to hand a sample to each person and wait until they’ve finished touching it before taking it to the next person and placing their hands on the item," she says. "Other ideas are to ask people to put their bodies into particular poses: for example, 'arms akimbo', as in the Robin White painting Sam Hunt at the Portobello Pub; or running their fingers over their face when describing the tattoos on the Goldie painting of Te Aho.”
In a case study about the gallery’s accessibility, Lynda talks to Arts Access Aotearoa about the steps she undertook to develop and implement insightful tours of exhibitions.