The demand and uptake for Tactile Tours, part of our Access and Inclusion program, continues to expand yearly since it was introduced in 2009. This year 400 visitors and school students with various disability experienced a fee Tactile Tour and engaged with a selection of sculptures in the exhibition through touch and informed discussion with trained AGNSW Guides and Sculpture by the Sea Educators. The Tactile Tours also provide audio descriptions of works for people who are blind or visually impaired. For the tour with Blind Citizens NSW, carefully constructed objective and informative written descriptions were provided before the visit and translated by their organisation into braille for the participants.
2016 initiatives included working with young people from the Catholic Care transition to work program. Two young people worked with us in the our Surry Hills office once a week for two months pre exhibition and experienced and contributed towards the behind the scenes preparation that takes place in organising a huge cultural event like Sculpture by the Sea. Several other young people joined the volunteer program during exhibition and were supported and directed in delivering a ‘My Perspective Tour’ where they presented some of their favourite sculptures in public to Tactile Tour audiences.
We were also very excited to pilot a ‘Sculpture and Poetry’ imitative in collaboration with The Red Room Company. Poet Candy Royalle worked with primary and secondary school students in their Focus Tours and also with a group of seniors with onset Alzheimer’s and Dementia during their Tactile Tour and created poetry with them based on their responses to some of the sculpture they experienced. Watch this space for how this great project develops and the potential it unleashes!
A big thanks to the Federal Government Catalyst Fund, the James N Kirby Foundation and Waverley Small Grants for making the 2016 Tactile Tours possible.