June 2018 Favourites

Time for another monthly favourites post and video, this time looking back over June. It was a significant month on social media for a few reasons, plus I also got to see 2 theatre shows, went out to a few museums and did a few walking tours in the nice weather. So there’s plenty to mention.

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My Assistive iPhone Features & Apps

Thank you to everybody for the lovely reactions to my previous post about My Visual Impairment Aids & Gadgets, especially after the RNIB kindly shared it on Facebook and Twitter, where it got a particularly big response. I’m very glad it’s proven so useful, and it’s been great to see other people sharing what they use as a result.

So this post and video is a follow-up to that, looking at the accessibility features and favourite apps I use on my iPhone. I’m not sponsored by anyone to do this or affiliated with any companies mentioned here, I just wanted to share the things that I use and enjoy. So I hope you find this post interesting, and feel free to share the features and apps that you use too.

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My Visual Impairment Aids & Gadgets

I use various things to assist me in my day-to-day life as a visually impaired person, just to make things easier or more accessible. It means I can be independent and do many things that normal people do. So in other words, I’m still leading a normal life, it’s just that I do some things a bit differently to people with regular sight.

Naturally my iPhone is a huge help these days, but I’ll talk about the features and apps I use there in a separate post. In the meantime, you can see a list of my apps here, with an older video about them that I’ll update when I do a new post.

So in this post and video I’m going to tell you about various other aids and gadgets that I use, and a few used by my mother as well, as she’s blind. I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by any companies mentioned here, and these are all my own opinions.

So I hope you find this post interesting. And let me know if there are any particular aids or gadgets that you use a lot, or if there’s anything you recommend I should check out.

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Libby’s Eyes

For the visually impaired and other disabled people, the processes involved in claiming and retaining benefits and support can cause a lot of stress. Some are left feeling that their conditions and needs are not understood by those making the decisions. and by wider society in general for that matter. And there is some truth in that unfortunately. Although awareness is improving, there is still a lot of work to be done.

A new play called Libby’s Eyes is hoping to increase that awareness. It’s written by visually impaired playwright Amy Bethan Evans, and stars visually impaired actress Georgie Morrell as Libby. It’s not often at all that you see a disabled character played by a person with that disability, so that delighted and intrigued me when I heard about the production, as well as the overview of the story itself. So I went to see it on Thursday night with my friend Claire, and I wanted to give you my thoughts on it. Continue reading “Libby’s Eyes”

Peter Pan

This weekend I took my mother to see another theatre show – Peter Pan at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. It’s another venue we’d never been to before, and we loved the idea of watching a show in the outdoors. And, as usual, we had chosen an accessible performance that included a touch tour and audio description from the wonderful folks at VocalEyes. I’m pleased to say we had a lovely time, and the weather also behaved itself, so I thought I’d tell you about it.

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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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Something In The Air At The V&A

Earlier this month I made another visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum. The first time I went there last year was with a lady called Rafie, to see how accessible it was as a visually impaired person for her PhD study. And this time I met her at the museum again, but this time it was for a focus group accessibility study organised by some of her colleagues from University College London (UCL), and there were 3 other participants as well as me. The ladies from UCL were running a few of these sessions over a couple of days, organised by a lady called Lydia, and this one had sounded very intriguing to me. Quite literally ‘sounded’ in fact, given that it involved some clever use of ultrasound!

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