All the world's a stage: and other things we learned at the Globe

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As part of our Sense Arts and Wellbeing programme, we have been focussing on accessing culture. Working with our friends at the Globe theatre, we took a tour of the space. It was all very exciting and we are really looking forward to experiencing Othello in a few weeks time..

One of the artists we support had this to say about the experience from an MSI point of view:

About the Globe Theatre. Good.

We stand on stage. It made an echo sound. It was cold and windy because there was no sunshine and no roof. I felt the very big pillar that holds up the stage.  

It feels like a pop star being on the stage. I think there was a dressing room; people go to dress and have make up on. There was a man talking to us, called David.

It’s a round shape like the world. Underneath the stage was different. There was some steps to go down. The trap door, disappearing like a magician. I think there was a bit of wood in the stage. It was made from oak, an oak tree.

I did like the Globe Theatre. We go to a new place in the van. We met one of my friends from college and Sense of Space. I think it’s very noisy when you go in the theatre, like Dalston Theatre (The Arcola).  

William Shakespeare. I think its William Shakespeare. I think he’s a man what wrote stories. We are going in March to the play. A play is a bit like a musical, but a play doesn’t have any songs in it.

I think there was a café. That’s where we had things to eat. The food. I would like to go again to the theatre. Thank you for having us.

 

A huge thank you to David Bellwood for the tour of the Globe theatre. This was a great experience for the multisensory impaired people we supported there. We look forward to visiting again soon.

Making healthcare accessible for all

In my role as the Health Policy Officer for Sense I spend a lot of time listening to the views and experiences of deafblind people on the healthcare services that they access.  The other day I was talking to Joanne who told me about how she nearly missed her flu vaccination because it was being advertised using posters in her GP waiting room which she couldn’t see as she is blind; thankfully her husband saw the poster and mentioned it to her so she was able to ask her GP about it in her next appointment.

There are so many aspects of healthcare services that need consideration for those who are deafblind – more than I initially realised.  These range from needing appointment letters in accessible formats (e.g. braille or large print) so that the person can know when their next appointment is, to having appropriate communication support (e.g. a deafblind manual or BSL interpreter) booked for appointments or stays in hospital.  Other considerations include the lighting and layout of clinics as well as how to know your name is being called in a waiting room if you can’t hear or see the doctor or nurse.

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Poems of the River

Our Poetry Project has well and truly begun, and this week in Spalding, Lincolnshire our Sense team welcomed Poppy and Laila.

The group began with some games to make human sculptures – boats, televisions and elephants all featured! The project is all about multi-sensory poetry. Where do poems come from? How do we tell stories about the river? How do we share those stories?

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Some of the participants spent the first session trying to teach Laila some sign language, and the group started to build a shared vocabulary with critical words for the project. This is a really important feature of all Sense Arts projects. Words like river, boat, duck, bridge and fish need to be understood by all.

Stories of eel fishing in the Fens started the conversation and preparations began for the next phase of the project working with the 16th century stately home, Ascoughfee Hall, who will be playing an important role in hosting our poems later down the track.

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Staff from the museum will be sharing objects from their permanent collection with the group, and the theme of rivers will feature strongly. There’s talk of fishing nets, oars, eel traps and even a few stuffed kingfishers and herons.

I’m always impressed by the incredible creativity the artists we support have. It’s not always simple to imagine how an artform could be made accessible, but the artists we support teach me something new every day.

Stay tuned to watch the project unfurl in Spalding and London!

 

 

What do you want from your MP?

Molly Kearney, Parliamentary Manager

Molly Kearney

On Tuesday afternoon I was in the Stranger’s Dining Room in the House of Commons for the launch of an Every Disabled Child Matters report (we contributed to the writing of the report, which you can read on the EDCM website) .

I was with Lesley, mum to 7 year old Ruby who has CHARGE, and we had the chance to talk to several MPs about Lesley and Ruby’s lives. It was a brilliant opportunity and Lesley was an incredible champion for Ruby, Sense and other families with disabled children

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Advances in technology are changing the ways people access audio books

Steven Morris
Steven Morris

In this month’s oldblog, we’re going to look at audio books and how advances in technology are changing the way people access them.

For many people unable to read print, audio books offer a great way of reading the books we love. The RNIB launched their ‘Talking Books’ service way back in 1935 on gramophone records. They did this as soldiers who lost their sight during World War 1 found learning braille difficult. Since then, the RNIB have sent out many millions of talking books on record, cassette and now special ‘Daisy’ CDs.

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Christmas technology blog

Donna Corrigan

Donna CorriganHappy Christmas to all our readers.

This year the technology Christmas oldblog is dedicated to all those that like the unusual, new to market and irresistibly shiny gadgets and technologies!

Audio books

For those who enjoy their audio books, RNIB have just launched their digital download library service where you can download from over 23,000 talking books, magazines and podcasts straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer. It’s called RNIB Overdrive and offers unlimited titles throughout your year’s subscription however you can only have 6 at any one time. You can buy an annual subscription as a gift (or for yourself) for £50.

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Miles and Miles and Miles…

On Dunstable downs you can see for miles and miles…

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We wanted to find out how high-end equipment might extend our ears across the counties that were visible from the hill-top. On pointing the microphone across the hills, one of the participants commented “there’s a car just over there”. In the distance maybe two miles away a car was creeping across the valley, it appeared tiny to me but to the student without sight, holding the mic it was his focus.

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This experience shows how technology can enhance our possibilities of understanding the world but also how it can potentially confuse us. It reminded me of how cross-modal our perception is when working out what’s around us. Of particular sonic beauty was a kite being flow above our heads, which accentuated the gusts of freezing, swirling wind.

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You can be anything you want to be

This week, I’m pleased to introduce Zara-Jayne Arnold, writer/poet/performer. This is her poem… 

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You can be anything you want to be.

 

The thing is I didn’t want to be a writer, I wanted to be an actor, but I was always writing scripts and living in my own little made-up world. Until Michael Landon entered – not in life form, but in spirit – he handed me his legacy and left his words: “if you make the audience cry, they keep coming back.”

 

It was after my nan’s death that I really put my heart into writing, and preserving not just my name – but the lives of William James Greenshields Davidson and Margret Rita Lavery Davidson, my granddad and nan.

 

I’m no one special and maybe Michael felt like that too, and maybe it’s other people that make you seem special in life and after. But somewhere and somehow people need to leave their mark on the planet and how they do it is up to them.

 

I’m Zara Jayne

Performing Sensory Immersion

I’m coming to the end of my two years at Sense – it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work on so many projects, but it seems particularly fitting that one of the last ones I’ll be a part of it is such a fascinating, innovative and creative project that brings together so many strands of the vital work that Sense does.

Performing Sensory Immersion, currently in rehearsal at the Academy of Science of Acting and Directing, and culminating in a performance at the amazing Arcola Theatre on Friday 1 August, is something I couldn’t be more proud to be just a small part of.

A woman playing a cello in the Performing Sensory Immersion rehearsals

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A trip to Denmark with the DBI Outdoor Network

Last month, a group of five deafblind adults that Sense supports took a trip over to Denmark to take part in an annual gathering of deafblind adults from all over Europe who are part of the Deafblind International Outdoor Network.

Mark, Rory, David, Warren and Matthew were accompanied by Sense staff members in this five day trip to venture into the great outdoors.

We met up with deafblind people and their support staff from Denmark, Scotland, Norway and Sweden. This trip was a first for many of us and I am delighted to say that it was a tremendous success for all involved.

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