The Wallace Collection

Last weekend I took my first ever visit to The Wallace Collection, which is a museum full of paintings, sculptures and furniture collected by multiple generations of the same family. When I was younger I had no idea this was just behind Oxford Street, and a lot of shoppers in that area have probably been blissfully unaware of its existence. Of course, even if I had known back then, I wouldn’t have been interested, as I was never into art as a child, and didn’t pay it much attention for a while as I got older.

However, since moving to London, I’ve been able to start exploring and developing an appreciation for artworks and visiting galleries, particularly thanks to guided tours and other interactive and accessible methods of exploring such spaces. As very much an art novice, I am enjoying learning about it and seeing some of the delights on offer. It’s like a fascinating new world, more so than I’d initially expected perhaps. So that was one reason I was looking forward to this visit.

This was also the third and final outing I was doing as part of a PhD study into museum accessibility for the visually impaired, being worked on by Rafie Cecilia. Our previous visits were at the Victoria & Albert Museum last year, and the Museum of London in February. I also met her again during the ultrahaptics testing at the V&A earlier this month, but that was for a different study. It’s always a pleasure meeting her, and it’s wonderful that she’s putting so much time and effort into this work, to support people like myself who find it harder to explore museums compared to normally sighted people. And now she and her colleague Maryam Bandukda have set up the Disability Innovation Research Society, bringing together researchers to discuss disability innovation and accessible technology, which is great. So I was glad to be meeting Rafie again.

And talking of accessibility, that sounded really good in this museum as well, with the website stating that they had an audio guide for the visually impaired, plus Rafie had recommended a special app I could use to find out more about the artworks. So that was another big reason for me to go. I’d heard very good things about the Wallace Collection, and getting information about the various exhibits sounded like it would be pretty easy. So now I want to tell you how it all went.

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Wicked

Just because I said I enjoyed Winter at the Young Vic and looking at the snow recently, it doesn’t mean I want the winter season itself to continue! We’re halfway through March now, so you’d think the spring might make a bit of an effort. But no, we had a bit more snow today, with more due tomorrow! When I’d heard this on the weather during the week, I was worried that it might stop me from going out today. But thankfully it didn’t. What little snow fell in London failed to settle, much to my relief!

So that was great, because today I was able to tick off another big production from my theatre wishlist – Wicked. It’s had loads of awards and gets loads of great reviews, and I already knew a couple of songs from it, so I was really keen to see it. And when the opportunity to book tickets with a touch tour and audio description came up a little while back, I gladly went for it. So I went this afternoon, and in this post I’ll tell you what I thought!

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Tate Modern Audio Tours

Update (January 2019): The Tate app referred to below is no longer available, sadly. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy reading about my first visit to the attraction.

On Saturday I decided to visit the Tate Modern, as I had stumbled upon the fact that they now have a mobile app giving audio tours around the place, as well as other features that tell you more about the art on display, the activities on offer and where to eat and go shopping.

The last time I visited the Tate Modern was as a kid with my family, which I don’t remember clearly now of course (but I did record a bit of video footage at the time). So it’s been on my list of places to explore since I moved to the city, and this was a good opportunity.

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Science Museum – Information Age

I haven’t just been looking at Harry Potter things this month. I’ve also been to other museums as well. And in this post, I want to talk about the Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. I explored the exhibition over a couple of visits, as there’s so much to see in there. It was all very interesting, and I was also curious to try a special accessibility app that had been developed especially for it. So this post is a little review of my experience.

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Planning My Journeys In London

I’ve been posting a lot about what I’ve been doing in London, but I haven’t talked much about how I actually get around such a big city. I did discuss it in a post I did last year when I visited London with a friend, and briefly when I visited Sight Village in 2016, before I actually lived here. But now I’ve been a resident here for a while, and as new followers have asked about it recently, now’s a good opportunity to revisit the topic in more detail. So I’m going to split this over a couple of posts, starting with how I plan my journeys before I actually do them. Then in my next post I’ll talk about what it’s like travelling around.

I’ve also made a video to go with these posts, which you may like to check out as well.

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Audio Description – My First Experiences

In this post and video I’m going to discuss my first experiences with audio description in London, for museums, galleries, theatre shows, cinema screenings and walking tours.

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Hyde Park Walk

Following on from the Southwark Walk I posted about yesterday, the second walk I took over the weekend, on Saturday 15th April, was around Hyde Park. As before, photos from all the walks are on my Instagram, some of which are shared below as well, and there are video clips on my Youtube channel, which are also linked to during this post.

I knew London had lots of parks and garden spaces, but it’s only when looking into them online, to figure out where I might want to go on my wanderings, that I was reminded just how many royal parks, green spaces and lesser known outdoor areas there are (and those links still don’t cover all the possibilities). To have such a variety of beautiful, peaceful, natural areas in and around this big city, where you can relax, stroll and admire the scenery to your heart’s content, is one of the great things about living here.

So I knew I wanted to take in at least one or two of them over the weekend, with the nicer weather coming along. And Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens seemed a natural first choice.

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