Tactile Histories Exhibition @ The Museum of Childhood

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Visitors were actively encouraged to touch, smell, listen and interact with the quilt.

After some last minute minor adjustments the completed Tactile Histories Quilt went on display at The V&A Museum of Childhood generating much interest from those who came purposefully to see the final outcome of 12 weeks hard work by our Bethnal Green quilting group and those passing museum goers who couldn’t help but interact with and explore it.

And there was lots to explore; with fabric pockets hiding household smells , a plethora of different textures and an audio accompanyment via hand held speakers, telling the stories of the quilters in their own voices.

Young and old, experienced quilters and enthusiastic amateurs all enjoyed relating to the life histories told and techniques used to produce the quilt.

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Surprisingly compact considering its content! Here’s to phase 2 : Material Memory @ Islington Museum starting Feb 2015.

A huge thank you to our lovely quilters and The Museum of Childhood for hosting us.

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Last minute adjustments!

Islington Museum hosts Material Memory

I had never been to Islington Museum before going on a pre Material Memory project recce.   The reason? Well,  mostly because I don’t live there, and to be honest, even if I did, IMG_4204it’s a bit tricky to find, hidden beneath Finsbury Public Library; but then is it not often the case that you have to venture below the surface to find  hidden treasure?

And what a subterranean  treasure trove of Islingtonian history! As culturally rich and diverse as the people from all walks of life who have lived in and contributed to this popular and vibrant London borough.

The glass fronted entrance fittingly reflects the open and informal atmosphere of the small, but well stocked, museum. Its knowledgable staff are welcoming and unstuffy giving the museum an accommodating ‘approachable -ness’ not always noteworthy of larger institutions.

Not being from Islington, or even London turned out to be a common thread, with participants originating from from England, Scotland, U.S.A, Portugal, Iran, India, Kenya and Italy .We are a truly international quilting team!

Can’t wait to delve into the archives and draw out and add to the many narratives waiting to be discovered. Even more interested to see how they will be interpreted and re-awakened by the Material Memory participants.

Material Memory : A Community Quilting Project

Exciting news! We have embarked on the next phase of the Sense, life histories quilting journey; Material Memory at the Islington Museum. This project follows on from  the successful Tactile Histories community quilt made with Bethnal Green participants at The V&A Museum of Childhood.

Together, a diverse group of Islington residents, who had previously never met, will tell their own life histories, their responses to their shared local space of Islington and  their shared experiences on their Material Memory journey.

Taking the form of an open book, and employing various art, audio technology and craft techniques the quilt will grow and evolve as the project progresses. Panels of image, text and material imbedded with sound are made each week in response to topics generated through conversation, shared interests and objects from the museums’ archives.

The Islington group will weave a patchwork of their own life histories with Islington’s colourful heritage, and it is hoped, make new friends and have a deeper appreciation of their shared part of London.  Weekly meetings will see the group discovery common ground and make fabric responses to it over the course of 12 sessions.

Ultimately, it will be the group who decide upon the design for the final outcome and the finished quilt will be displayed at Islington museum, taking pride of place in the museum’s glass fronted foyer.

It is already evident that this group are a creative and  engaged  bunch,  brimming with ideas. They come from a wonderfully rich and  diverse backgrounds and bring life stories and a readiness to share their experiences. Mix this with a fantastically accommodating venue with loads of resources, and I for one, can’t wait to see what unfolds!

Watch this space for regular Material Memory updates…

The personal is political: or, why we need to hear from you

It’s still wintry outside but spring is already in the air – spring, that is, for the political parties here in Wales who are holding their annual spring conferences over the next few weeks.

Party conferences aren’t usually something the public feel is relevant to their everyday lives or something they want to get involved in. But, last weekend I went to the first of the Welsh political parties’ spring conferences and it got me thinking – and learning – about how I might be able to bring the personal into the political.

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Changes to BBC iPlayer

We have had a number of queries regarding the shutting down of the BBC iPlayer Bigscreen service that took place on Saturday 14 February 2015.

The BBC will no longer support this service on smart televisions and other network devices although it will still be available on the Freesat service.  You can find out more about the new BBC iPlayer for connected TVs and the closure of iPlayer Bigscreen on the BBC internet oldblog.

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Tactile feedback for gesture control….

Donna Corrigan
Computer controlling UltrahapticsOver the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of listening to and working with both people with deafblindness and product manufacturers. Optimal accessibility means an easier time for everyone, and is more cost effective to the manufacturer to get it right from the outset. However, some technologies can only be fully accessible via customisation, after all everyone has different preferences and needs.

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Riddles of the River

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I move through water 

I sleep by the river bank 

I like summer 

Fish swim under me 

I smell like smoke 

I eat oil and make engine noise 

I take people on holiday 

Who am I? 

The London group of Poems of the River met for the third time in Greenwich and it was wonderful to see how confidence is growing and comfort is setting in.

Group members talked about looking forward to Fridays, as they know it will be filled with games and creative activities themed around rivers!

The room was decorated with drawings from the previous week and the group did well to remember our river song, complete with signs which we performed together to (and with!) our new group members who quickly learned the song.

Next we discussed some new river animals and created a fresh story as a group about… a fish. Inspired by a certain Big Mouth Billy Bass, who sung a fair few renditions of his classic hit songs for us!

The group created the sounds of the river using gloves, bells and a rain maker whilst Laila read ‘The Pike is staying still’. There are so many ways to make, tell and share poetry and there is always a way to get involved.


Our most recent poem…

The fish is… 


soft and slimey 

with gold green scales

happy when moving its’ tail 

playing music and singing! 

it tastes like water

eats baby fish 

has grey eyes

looks like algae 

and smells funny!  

RoboBraille offers quick online braille transciption

In this oldblog, we’re going to focus on an online resource called ‘RoboBraille’.

Paper with Braille embossedRoboBraille is an e-mail and web-based service capable of automatically transforming documents into a variety of alternative formats for the visually impaired. This service is free for individuals and there is no need to register. You simply fill out the simple self-service form, upload your document that you wish to be made accessible and the Robobraille service will email the document back to you within minutes.

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Parent power: What families can do to secure the support their children need

All parents of deafblind children have a story to tell about their journey to get the right support for their children.  Last week I spoke to Elaine, whose 16 year old son has never received specialist support for his deafblindness and had his first Deafblind Guidance assessment only a few weeks ago.  Another parent told me about the long dispute she had to go through because her local authority started to question the need for support from an MSI teacher for her daughter. The struggle can be time consuming and sometimes overwhelming.  And sadly it may not even have a happy ending, leaving some parents feeling isolated, frustrated and powerless.

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Having your say in May

Today is National Voter Registration Day.  Are you registered to vote?

There is something very satisfying about voting in an election. We are having our say on who should represent us in Parliament, who we most believe will listen to our concerns, stand up for the things that matter to us and work to make the world a better place. In closely contested elections, our vote could change who becomes our MP and who forms the government. It could change the course of events locally, nationally and even internationally.

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