Museum inclusion is actively growing in today’s Russia, with many training programs and conferences, allowing specialists to share their experience and master professional skills related to their work with the disabled, taking place across the country. In 2018, the Garage team has decided to focus on the most urgent and controversial questions related to the adaptation of museum programs for blind and partially sighted visitors, that have rarely been raised at similar events before.
The conference, that will take place this autumn in Moscow, will embrace such issues as communication with and engagement of the blind community in museum programs; the possible formats of blind visitor’s participation in museum events on an equal footing with sighted audiences; and professional and employment opportunities for blind and partially sighted people in the museum sphere. Featured in the program will be round tables based around the theme of audio descriptions in visual arts and the diverse approaches to making tactile models. Experts from Russia, Europe, America, and Asia will also discuss architectural accessibility of buildings and spaces for blind and partially sighted people and various approaches to the making of tactile models.
A roundtable discussion on the problems of audio descriptive commentary will take place during the conference, organized jointly with the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation, which is a patron of the educational program of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. The foundation pays great attention to the development of a system for professional audio descriptive commentary in Russia within the framework of its proprietary Special View program aimed at supporting visually challenged people. The Special View program resulted in training about thirty new audio descriptive commentary professionals, developing visual descriptions for theatrical plays in ten Russian regions and conducting adapted film screenings at major movie festivals, such as the Pacific Meridian in Vladivostok and the International Moscow Film Festival.
The conference is the final event of the annual training course Experiencing the Museum—a month-long program of lectures, seminars, and master classes run by experts from Garage together with invited specialists. It is aimed at organizations with a vast experience in this field, as well as those who are only beginning to develop accessible environments within their cultural institutions. The conference program includes practical seminars that will help participants to acquire basic skills in the areas of audio descriptions, providing physical access to museums, and programming for blind and partially sighted visitors.
Lectures, discussions, and round tables will be delivered by specialists from Russian cultural institutions and charity organizations, as well as people with disabilities who will explain the current situation with the barrier-free environment in the country.
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art would like to request that workers at cultural institutions, already involved in programming for blind and partially sighted visitors, or who would like to start working in this direction, email the questions they consider important and complicated true-life stories they have faced during their work with this particular audience, to email@example.com.