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We visited Jupiter Artland to test the new recorded descriptive tour before it opens to the public in May.  Diana, the education officer, recorded the tour following live tests with Artlink members last year.  Diana quite naturally described works, with some lovely visceral comaprisons.  She describes Anish Kappor’s Suck as the feeling you get when your heel catches in the bath plug as the water drains away.

On this tour we used Artlink’s portable FM loop system to broadcast the tour.  I held and controlled the only MP3 player and everyone listening had a receiver.  A simple box with a volume control, easy to use and no fiddly buttons.  as a group we walked round the artworks and listened to the recording.  this helped us focus on the content rather than the recording.

The tour will be available on handsets along with information from the artists and fictional stories by children in response to the artworks.  Hope fully the tours will work well for visitors to Jupiter Artland.  Follwoing feedback, the tour will be re-recorded for next year.  The group suggested a few improvements and tweaks but these were described as minor.

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I enjoyed:

  1. Hearing the names, dates and histories of the buildings
  2. Hearing the descriptions of the decorations on them
  3. Catching glimpses of old lanes and yards as we went past
  4. Speculating on the painted advertisements above the shops
  5. Appreciating the open space beside the river
  6. Sitting in the sun hearing about the old church
  7. Seeing inside the old converted warehouse at Fran’s studio

I have often been told to look up, but I now need a good description of what can be seen.  And historical facts add to my enjoyment.

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Craft Trail Feedback

FIRST I HAVE TO SAY IT WAS GREAT TO GET AN INSIGHT TO LEITH DOCKS, IT BROUGHT MEMORIES BACK FOR ME.  THE TOUR FOR ME, WAS  VERY INTERESTING AND WELL DESCRIBED, ESPECIALLY THE ARCHITECTURAL STUFF ON THE WALLS, WHICH WE PROBABLY WOULD NOT NOTICE IF IT HAD NOT BEN POINTED OUT TO US. 
FRANCIS REALLY INSPIRED ME WITH HER TALK, HER FEELINGS AND HER MOTIVATION. 
IT MADE A VERY GOOD CONTRAST TO THE MUSEUM TOUR.  I WAS ALSO IMPRESSED WITH THE WORK SHE IS DOING IN HER WORKSHOP, IT WAS GREAT TO SEE THINGS FROM BEGINNING TO END, INSTEAD OF HALF WAY THROUGH. 
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HARD WORK YOU PUT INTO THESE THINGS FOR US, I DO APPRECIATE IT.

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I enjoyed learning:

Her description of the new entrance hall and how every museum now had to have a cafe and gift shop!

How the Main Hall had been decorated to emply the iron work and to return it to the space for promenading, as it was designed for when it was first built.  (I thought it had been ceared for larger _ and receptions!)

Why the Hawthornden Court was wedge shaped, how the use of steel for construction enabled the construction of almost unsupported stairs and even walls.  And specifically about the 10cm gap in the low wall!

The unusual construction of the spiral staircase.  I had not  noticed how different it was.

How, on the Terrace special frames were made for views eg Arturs Seat.  And also that the plants in the roof garden were all native Scottish plants.  Also that modern buildings should have roof gardens!

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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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