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.”

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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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The Future of subtitling – TV and Broadcasting conference

Cloes-up shot of subtitles on a television screenDonna Corrigan

On Monday 10 November, Joff McGill (Sense’s Head of Information, Advice and Research) and I attended an event in London focusing on the future of subtitling. It attracted, TV broadcasters such as the BBC, Subtitle producers such as Ericsson Broadcast & Media services (formerly known as Red Bee), organisations representing people with hearing and visual impairments such as Sense , Action on Hearing Loss and the National Deaf Children’s Society  as well as individuals with an interest in the subject. It was well attended, and as such created an excellent forum for informative and useful discussion.

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Piecing it all together

This week we took some inspiration from our surroundings at the wonderful V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.

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The museum and its buildings have a long history, as Catherine Freeman from the museum describes here. We’ll be meeting Catherine in a few weeks time, when she’ll be bringing some of the museum’s collection to life during an object handling session that we’re all really looking forward to!

On entering the museum, the mosaic-tiled floor may cause you to pause a while. The story goes that female inmates from the Woking Gaol laid the black and white fish scale pattern that greets you if you look down. You can almost make out the individual contributions; there is a certain absence of uniformity which can be seen across the vastness of the floor, belying the many hands that laid it and adding to the wonderful overall effect of this communal effort. Rather like how the quilt is progressing we think! Continue reading “Piecing it all together”

Fall, leaves, fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Bronte.


It’s autumn, the nights are drawing in, the heating’s coming on and the colours outside are starting to change. This week we took our creative cue from nature.

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Our life on fabric – getting to know each other

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Tactile Histories is a life history and textiles project for people over the age of 60 with sensory impairments. Throughout the project, the group will have the chance to learn and develop new textile skills, share their stories and work collaboratively with each other to design a patchwork quilt of their memories. 

 Tactile Histories is all about connections: to our pasts; those around us and the places we’re from – and to our innate creativity. So, how do the paths we’ve taken, as we start to re-tread them, emerge into a story that is tactile?

The age-old tradition of making patchwork quilts is where we start. Quilts are built bit by bit, using different textures, colours and ideas; a perfect way of telling our ever-evolving stories.

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There is no such thing as an empty space

One of the best parts of being a sound artist is that I get to listen to places and environments that I probably otherwise wouldn’t get access to.  With Sense students we’ve been listening to some special sounds, either through the apparatus we’ve used or through the openness of groups who’ve let us into their worlds.

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In Luton with students from Keech we recorded  under water sounds using hydrophones; water is a much better conductor of sound than air and things sound amazing under water.

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Thinking through sound

I’m really interested in how we think through our Senses, especially when experiencing something through one sense evokes an experience in another. For example what mental image does a sound or a touch provoke?

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During the past weeks I’ve been collecting audio recordings with groups of young people from Sense Hampton, Keech and GOT Cornwall.

We’ve been recording lots of different sounds from many sources including birds, machinery, two different cathedrals as well as under water sounds using hydrophones.


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Rock, Pop and Charming

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The Victoria and Albert Museum is full of things you can get your hands on, as long as you know where to look!

Sometimes, all you need is a little inspiration, as we found at our very special day at the V&A this month. We started our tour with some trying on of costumes. We often forget about the sensory impact of textiles, the different textures and smells that fabrics hold. The V&A have a vast collection, each with their own story.

This month’s performance, Rock, Pop and Charming explores the musical legacy of Adam Ant. Hats and capes, tambourines and drums all featured, and there were a few Prince Charming’s too!

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