A modest defence of disability simulation within an arts access context.

Feeney, D (2017) A modest defence of disability simulation within an arts access context. MuseumEdu: Education and Research in Cultural Environments., 5. (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

This paper presents the argument that gallery visitors with visual impairment should be allowed to author the aesthetic experiences afforded to them within such environments, rather than having these experiences authored on their behalf by fully sighted members of gallery access teams. Sight-Sim™, a piece of simulation software, is brought into service as a means of illustrating this distinction and the feasibility of its practical implementation. Unlike many of the existing endorsements of disability simulation, the tentative defence outlined here is not premised on the naively assumed capacity of simulation for awareness-raising or the cultivation of empathy. Rather, the defence is volunteered in full awareness of the impossibility of simulating the experience of disability. After the modest objectives of the form of visual impairment simulation illustrated here are outlined, its success in heightening the engagement levels of gallery visitors with visual impairments in works of visual art is evidenced. A number of distinct but interrelated benefits of simulation, neglected by previous advocates of simulation, are then identified. These benefits include: the perception of increased activity levels in the process of art access by individuals with visual impairment; an affirmative and emancipatory reconsideration of constructivist approaches to gallery education within an art access context; the “de-ghosting” of the aesthetic experiences generally afforded to gallery visitors with visual impairment; a rescinding of the privilege traditionally afforded to fully-sighted docents within art access initiatives; and a democratic reconceptualising of the process of the cultivation of aesthetic literacies.

Item Type: Article
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Disability and Education
Depositing User: David Feeney
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2017 08:39
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2017 08:49
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2085

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