Visual Impairment Awareness Day a Huge Success
Last week students from the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) held a visual impairment awareness day. Eight members of staff from Hereford College of Arts (HCA) made the short hop to the RNC to take part in sighted guide training and an immersive visually impaired experience.
Staff members were invited to wear blind folds and spectacles that replicate different visual impairments. They then undertook sighted guide training, where they were taught how to guide a visually impaired person and experience what it is like to be guided for those with sight loss. Other activities included learning how to make refreshments, how visually impaired people use assistive technology for support, and finally creating a life drawing all with impairments to their vision.
Former RNC student Lenny Jordan helped to coordinate the afternoon with the HCA and is the first visual impaired student to take a fine art degree with the college.
HCA short film course leader Keith Temple said ‘There were several benefits for me in taking part on the VI awareness session. Firstly, the RNC is so close to HCA yet there’s really no connection. I’ve worked there for a year, I pass RNC students in the street on a daily basis but our paths never cross. I wanted to know more about and experience what the world was like for our visually impaired neighbours and although it was only for a short time, I learned a lot, which of course you do when you put yourself in another person’s shoes.
Until the session on Monday I’d been ignorant of the fact that there are a variety of visual impairments. Without really giving it much thought I’d just assumed that when people were ‘blind’ they couldn’t ‘see’ – that all was dark. The workshop was informative in dispelling this myth and by providing different sets of customised glasses we were given an insight into just some of the visual impairments students live with.
As a writer who works in what is taken for granted as visual media – film, television, the written word in print, the workshop was a reminder that the visual element of my work is only a part of a wider sensory experience.’
RNC student governor David Parfitt said ‘The visually impaired awareness day gave us an opportunity to highlight what it is like to have sight loss. It also helped us with our course work and is part of our final graded mark, so it’s a win win for everyone involved. The more events we can host like this will enhance the understanding for people of what it is like to live with sight loss and visual impairment, which can only be a good thing’.
The college are aiming to host similar events in the future for other organisations, if you are interested then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thank you to the HCA staff who attended and the RNC students for organising.