30th November 2016, 4:06pm
Making art accessible to visually impaired people
Exhibition An innovative new project will explore the best ways to curate and design exhibitions to make them more accessible to blind and visually impaired people.

The University of Lincoln has been awarded more than £36,000 for the project as part of a £5 million research programme into independent living for disabled people.

The Lincoln project is one of the first to be awarded funding through the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) initiative – a five year scheme led by disabled people and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Professor Anne Chick, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Architecture & Design, will lead the project, collaborating with The National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD) in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, the RNIB Regional Centre (Midlands), Age UK Lincoln and volunteers who are blind or visually impaired, including older people.

Liz Sayce from Disability Rights UK, which is supporting DRILL projects in England said: “We’re delighted to be announcing the first DRILL grants, and supporting a project run by disabled people about disability issues.”

Professor Chick added: “Sight loss affects people of all ages, but as we get older we are increasingly likely to experience it. Our work will demonstrate how anyone with sight loss can have intellectual access on equal terms when visiting their local galleries and museums.

“This funding means that we are able to go ahead with our plans to curate, design and test an inclusive and accessible exhibition at the National Centre for Craft & Design. We will also be sharing our findings and developing practical guidance so that other national and regional visual arts venues and museums can draw on our experiences when they are planning their own exhibitions in the future."

The team will co-research and co-produce a multi-sensory exhibition of 3D printing at the NCCD, which opens to the public on 28th January 2017 for three months.

Launched in 2015, the DRILL programme is fully funded by Big Lottery Fund and delivered by Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales. DRILL is expecting to fund a total of up to 40 research pilots and projects over a 5-year period, all led by disabled people. Around £600,000 will be allocated in the next round of applications, which are currently being assessed. An announcement is due in February 2017. Further calls for potential projects will be made between 2017 and 2019. More information on DRILL is available at www.drilluk.org.uk.
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