Touch Tour Training, Part Two: Offering a richer experience for visually impaired audiences

Access & Diversity

Visual impairment awareness and touch tour training

In Autumn 2019, the Without Walls Access Advisor, Alex Covell (Engagement & Access Producer at FESTIVAL.ORG) liaised with Without Walls-supported companies to examine ways in which their shows could address barriers to access for D/deaf and disabled audiences.

One of the areas of interest that arose from these conversations was looking at how outdoor companies could offer a richer experience for blind or visually impaired audiences. 

This led to devising two training sessions which included introductions to visual impairment awareness and etiquette, guidelines for running a touch tour as well as several practical description and guiding exercises.

In the second session, Without Walls joined forces with Vocal Eyes to develop a different training session for several outdoor companies, most of whom were at the very early stages of creating their shows. 

It felt important for the artists to access this training and gain a wider understanding around visual impairment while they were creating the shows, so they could incorporate the learning in their developmental period. 

This training was attended by eight companies that have created work with Without Walls support. We also welcomed representatives from Outdoor Arts UK and NASA (National Association of Street Artists).

Check out the downloads below for guidance on how to incorporate touch tours into your own work.

'Enjoyed learning the principles and then applying them to our own work. Such a brand range of work and approaches in the room, it was useful to see other people apply to their circumstances but also be challenged to think immediately how what we were learning could be applied to our own work.'

Training participant

'I thought it was a really informative day and I came away with lots of food for thought and possibly more importantly a plan of action to put in place for our upcoming shows.'

Training participant

Vocal Eyes Touch Tour Guidance

Touch Tour Training notes by NASA (Garth Williams)