Archive of European Projects

Bridging the Gap between Museums and Individuals with Visual Impairments
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Museums around the world develop various practices in order to enhance the access and inclusion of people with visual impairments, but many disabling barriers still exist. Museums, as audience-centered spaces, are required to enhance thee access and and inclusion of individuasl with visual impairment. However, this is a challenging task for museums and requires the collaboration between museums and organizations involved in the education and the protection of individuals with visual disabilities. This need for collaboration and interagency partnerships is the basis of our project, which aims to bridge the gap between museums and individuals with visual impairments. Hence, the proposed project aims to address the following objectives: • To enable the museum members become aware and update their knowledge regarding the disabling barriers that impede the access of visitors with visual disabilities to museums and the techniques that can enhance the access and inclusion of individuals with visual disabilities to the museums. • To create learning, cultural and social opportunities for individuals with visual disabilities and enable them acquire self-advocacy skills regarding their rights as museum visitors and the requirements of an inclusive museum. • To promote the collaboration between museums, schools and associations of individuals with visual disabilities. • To point out the best practices and guidelines for the development of an accessible and inclusive museum for visitors with visua Five type of participating organisations, all together 12 formal partners and 4 silent partners, including museums, schools, associations for people with visual impairment which are governmental organisations, and a company will share their knowledge and experience towards the attainment of the above objectives. The main activities included in BaGMIVI concerns the management, assurance and evaluation activities, the development of a needs assessment study, of a syllabus and of the BaGMVI portal, the conduction of Joint Staff Training Events for museum members and the development of accessible museum content/programmes, the organization of the musums visits and vice versa and the development of a best practices guide and policy guidelines and recommendations and the dissemination activities. The activities during the museum visits lie in the strands of action research methodology that fulfills two important conditions; one is that it seeks improvement and the other is that it seeks an understanding of the setting and context in general (Kemmis and McTaggart 1988). The aforementioned conditions are apparent in BaGMIVI project and in particular during museum visits because an improvement is expected regarding the museum programs and the level of collaboration between the museum staff and the individuals with visual impairment and ultimately regarding the level of inclusion of visitors with visual impairments in museums. In action research, there is a group of four fundamental aspects: planning, acting, observing and reflecting, which end up in a cycle, and ultimately in a spiral of such cycles. All the spirals lead to re-planning and reconsideration of the data obtained in between. The number of the action research spirals is expected to be four because three visits will take place to the museums by the participating schools and associations and also one visit will take place by the museum staff to the schools or the associations. The expected tangible results of the BaGMIVI include the needs assessment study, the syllabus, thevideos from the training and videos from the development of differentiated museum content, the best practice guide and policy guidelines and recommendations. Intangible results include THE acquisition of knowledge and skills from the museum staff regarding the access and inclusion of individuals with visual impairment to the museums, the development of self advocacy skills from individuals with visual impairment, the learning, cultural and social benefits for individuasl with visual impairments, the promotion of collaboration between different organsations, the development of inclusive museums for visitors with visual impairments. Most tangible outputs will be Open Educational Resources to be exploited my many stakeholders in side and outside of the project and will be disseminated through the European Portal, the conferences and the websites of two NGOs. Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (1988). The Action Research Planner, (3rd ed.), Victoria, Australia: Deakin University. O’Hanlon, C. (1996). Why is Action Research a Valid Basis for Professional Development? In R. McBride (Ed.), Teacher Education Policy: Some Issues Arising from Research and Practice (pp. 179-191). Falmer Press: London
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