Posted on 3 March 2014
Members of the York Young Archaeologists' Club (YAC) joined trainers from The Wilberforce Trust at The King's Manor on Saturday 8th February 2014 to develop awareness of visual impairment. Training was foremost experiential: with the aid of empathy glasses that simulate a variety of visual impairments, learners undertook a range of tasks using visual, tactile and audio aids. As a result, YAC members developed their understanding of the needs of visually impaired people.
Training was supplied in preparation for the York Tactile Mapping project, a collaborative project led by York YAC in partnership with the Council for British Archaeology and the Department of Archaeology. The aim of the project is to develop awareness of the needs of blind and partially sighted members of the community in York and the barriers to their engagement with the historic environment in order to widen participation. This will be achieved through the production of a suite of ‘tactile’ historic maps depicting York through the Roman, early medieval and industrial periods. The maps will go on temporary display at The King’s Manor to coincide with the York Festival of Ideas in June; thereafter, it is envisaged that they will become a travelling ‘pop-up’ exhibition.
The project’s development has been supported by Catherine Bell, who is undertaking a professional placement with the Council for British Archaeology as part of an MA in Cultural Heritage Management. As part of her placement, Catherine has successfully reviewed lessons learned in similar ‘tactile’ mapping projects and undertaken consultation with focus groups from York Blind and Partially Sighted Society and The Wilberforce Trust.