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Archive for August, 2011

museum tour

After thinking about it I wasn’t sure if you wanted volunteers thoughts as well…but just in case.

  • Having the tour given by an architect gave an insight into the changing uses and therefore design of the building over time, enabling new ways of interacting with the space.
  • An explanation and description of the building adds another dimension not only to the visually impaired client but also to the volunteer.
  • I particularly enjoyed information about design features that the usual visitor would not be party to.
  • As a whole the experience was very positive however some of the areas were too noise to fully concentrate on what Amada was saying so other positions for future tours should be considered.
  • Depending on the clients seating might also be necessary.

Thanks Susan and Amanda for a lovely morning, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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museum tour

Feedback from a tour of National Museum led by architect Amanda Drollinger:

THANK YOU FOR A VERY GOOD TOUR THIS MORNING.  I FOUND IT INTERESTING AND ONLY WISHED WE HAD MORE TIME TO GO INTO THE BEGINNING OF THE MUSEUM DATES AND THE DIFFERENCE IN ARCHITECTURE FROM 1800’S TO PRESENT DATE.  I FOUND THE OLD PART VERY CLINICAL COMPARED TO THE NEW PART, AND I DID MISS THE FISH PONDS, AS IT WAS PART OF MY CHILDHOOD.  THE ROOMS WERE VERY NOISY AND THEY ECHOED QUITE A BIT SO THEREFORE I WAS REALLY GLAD OF THE HEADPHONES.  I AM PLEASED WE GET THE TOUR AS I WOULD FIND IT VERY DON TING ON MY OWN.  ESPECIALLY THE NEW PART AS I SAID, WAS A MAZE. WITHOUT THE HELP WE GET FROM YOU AND THE VOLUNTEERS, I WOULD SAY NO VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSON WOULD BE ABLE TO VISIT THE MUSEUM ALONE.  THERE WERE A LOT OF INFO TO TAKE IN SO I PERSONALLY WOULD LIKE A DISC OF THE  DIFFERENT TALKS SO THAT I COULD GO OVER IT AGAIN, WHEN I GET HOME.  I KNOW THIS WOULD BE A BIG JOB FOR YOU BUT I AM SURE PEOPLE WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY A FEE FOR THIS TO BE DONE, I KNOW I WOULD.  I HOPE THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT AS FEEDBACK, THANKS AGAIN.

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 Poetry Library

 Jules’s detailed description of the poetry library was really helpful and clear enough in the level of description to really have enough of the buildings character and position within the close. Also in the wider context of the high street. The small details of the description of the leaves imprinted into the entrance paving and description of architectural features (canopy etc,) left enough of a lasting memorable impression of the building. The Historical context of the whole Canon gate area is very important with connecting brief about the changes that have occurred in the area. I do not know that area very well and it helped me to visualize it then and now, from her description. 

Personally the description of the geometry of the area with the high street sloping down, visual associations of the close being shaped like a fish and constant references during the tour to our height in relation to the geology of the streets and surrounding hills were very useful for non visual bods like me as they help to clarify our position in the landscape. The building height is also important to give the scale of the buildings as well.

I liked the metaphor of the fish and bones as a summary of the proposed tour as it gave a mental map of the planned places of interest that we were to visit and the arrangement of them. This gave me a mental map of the whole tour.

Personally Julles mention of approx distances was not so important as I have no problems with walking distances. We were all together and the distances were so small that I don’t know who relied on that for orientation between the different sites. 

 

 Canongate Church.

 There was enough of a mixture of physical architectural descriptions, Historical context, both old and new of the Church and surrounding area to get an impression of the area. The connection of the different Poets and history of the gravestone was really interesting with the connection to Robert burns. You felt that you were really surrounded by a lot of History there.

 

 Tenement Gardens

 I can appreciate the use of poetry first being read to create the atmosphere for that more serene location. Rather than the Historical introduction being first to change the format of the tour a bit.

 

When we were in the garden at the back of the tenament. There was no background information about the German poet’s date of the composition or much contextual info about the author to work out the relevance.

 

The variety of the different locations was appreciated, from the modern and old architecture of the area and the inclusion of the hidden garden was very surprising.

 

The Parliament.

The location of where we stood for the description of the parliament wall was unfortunately loud. I was struggling to hear to much effect and my hearing is fine.

 

 

Overall

Overall the length of time for the whole tour was enjoyable and comfortable not too long to cover a variety of locations in a condensed area, without getting tired. 

Maybe as Anne suggested that perhaps, the inclusion of poems at every location might be too much for some people who are not really interested or might find trying to appreciate the different meanings or content of a poem while a road full of noisy tour buses and cars is rumbling in the near background just time to switch off. Unless it was of course a themed poetry tour.

 

I personally found the old Scots poem difficult to understand outside the Cannongate church as the vocabulary was so different and unfamiliar to me. I presume that non English speakers might struggle with some of the poet

 

The fact of the poems being read by a poet was appreciated and definitely suitable to project and perform the depth of the poems so as to present them for the listeners as close as they should be. In other words, Rather than just being spoken with little emotion or intensity by a lay person. His appreciation for the work was felt. 

 

I think that this tour would make me want to research more about the History of the area.

 

I have attached an audio file of part of a Bus audio city tour of York that I recorded recently, Maybe it can give you some ideas of the types of mixture of content with some humorous points of interest that is being used for a city tour?

 

 

Some audio tours that I found on the web incase you were interested. Although you have probably seen them.

 

http://www.walktalktour.com/edinburghtourfull.html

 

http://www.realhistorytalks.com/

 

http://iaudioguide.com/hotel-edinburgh-en.html

 

http://www.tourist-tracks.com/tours/edinburgh.html

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When having to complete a creative task set for you by someone else perhaps it is best to be taken by surprise. The organisation Artlink is very good at producing ‘Oh!’ and ‘Ah!’ moments. I have had many over my time as a volunteer. As it brings together diverse collections of people and places to find creative ways for individuals to be involved in their communities, Artlink seems to value the generative, restorative element of surprise.

 Recently I’ve been involved in a collaborative project between Artlink, the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh and the poet Ken Cockburn. Using the thoughts of visually impaired clients as a starting point, Ken wrote the poem ‘Pandora’s Light Box’ about the Talbot Rice’s three rooms. The wonderfully incantatory poem for two voices will be installed in the gallery to provide a sense of the place for visitors. The sense of place it provides goes beyond anything one might physically be able to see while in the gallery. Instead, if I can risk putting it so vaguely, the poem deals in invisible sights. As it describes historical moments in the life of the building, the poem calls each listener to build in their mind’s eye places substantial and complex.

This is taken from a blog post, written by an Artlink volunteer describing Pandora’s Light Box and her involvement in the project  You can read the full post here.


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From Professor Whitestick’s Blog:

Following on from my post regarding the Edinburgh Art Festival and my visit to the Anton Henning exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery, I returned to the gallery for the launch of Pandora’s Light Box.  I had been invited to take a sneak ‘peek’ on my first visit and had decided that I would definitely go back.  I attended the reception on 17th August and was welcomed by Zoe Fothergill of the Talbot Rice Gallery and Susan Humble from Artlink.  I was able to meet several people from the visually impaired community and it was good to share in their interactions with others in the community.  My own contribution was in lending out my cane to both Zoe and Susan so that they could experience the carpet in the Anton Henning exhibition and do a compare and contrast with the Georgian gallery, to where we later adjourned for drinks and a performance of a poem especially written by Ken Cockburn and performed by Ken and Lorna Irvine from the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL).
A blog by a man with significant sight loss and his encounters with the aid of his white stick (a long cane with a ball on the end). There is no guide dog, but the white stick can be ‘anthropomorphisised’. Sometimes the white stick speaks. If you’re accessing this through a screen reader, you will need help in leaving a comment. I am now posting comments sent via Twitter in the comment section.

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links for 2011-08-22

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(g)Host City

The world’s biggest arts festival goes virtual. Use your smartphone or mp3 player* to experience exciting new performances, anywhere and at any time.

(g)Host City is a pioneering new festival of downloadable, site-specific performances by Momus, Alan Bissett, Kieran Hurley, Jim Colquhoun, Circumstance, Ewan Morrison, Kirstin Innes, Christopher Collier, Jenny Lindsay, Katy McAulay, Hannah McGill and
Laura Cameron Lewis.

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