Towards a More Inclusive Culture: Opening Art and Culture to People with Visual Impairment
Art and culture have served as an ideal ground for innovative ideas to grow, often acting as a catalyst for social change. Art suggests alternative ways of perceiving the world around us, providing a wide field of experimentation, while addressing issues of social injustice and defending fundamental democratic rights.
But, to what extent art and contemporary culture are actually from all and addressed to all? Is art considered democratic, when certain social groups are excluded from its experience? Could the introduction of inclusive practices in the cultural sector pave the way for the inclusion of persons that experience sight loss and visual impairment in other aspects of everyday life?
Today, as we experience a gradual shift towards the integration of participatory practices in various aspects of culture and education, the provision for equal access to culture for all, appears to be more urgent than ever and therefore should be considered a priority for cultural professionals, curators, educators and artists in designing cultural experiences addressed to all.
With the aspiration to contribute in the dialogue on the methods of including people who experience loss of sight and visual impairment in the experience of art and culture, Stela Anastasaki and Christina Vlachou form Off Stream, showcase examples of projects and practices that enable the equal participation to art and cultural goods. The aim of this presentation is the exchange of knowledge, to raise awareness on matters of accessibility and social inclusion, so these practices are adopted and multiplied by other professionals in the future.
Stela Anastasaki is a curator and cultural manager, Co-Founder of “Off Stream” and the creator of project “Mind’s Eye”, an accessibility project for people with visual disabilities in the art experience. Her professional experience derives mainly from her employment in museums, cultural and educational institutions of Thessaloniki (Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, PlantCult, LABattoir Project). She has studied Archeology and holds a master’s degree in Art History (AUTh). Her love for the arts drives her to design cultural and artistic projects that foster inclusion and promote social change. She is developing tools and practices that lift the barriers and enable the inclusion of people with visual impairment in art museums and other cultural institutions. Her aspiration is that the right to experiencing culture, becomes part of our daily life and be as easy and natural for all people.
Christina Vlachou is a cultural manager and co-founder of “Off Stream”. She has studied Economics and holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Management (UNESCO chair MA Cultural Policy and Management, Université Lumière Lyon2, Belgrade University of Arts). For the last twelve years she is active in the field of Arts and Culture, having worked in museums, festivals and cultural institutions, such as the MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts, LABattoir project by the Municipal Cultural Department of Thessaloniki, Reworks Festival -Greece’s largest contemporary music festival-, DYNAMO project-space and the former Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. She specialises in the field of production, communication and fundraising for artistic projects and events. She is also co-founder of WhyNot?, a Thessaloniki-based urban activism collective and a member of the Goethe-Institut Cultural Innovators Network.
- Off Stream website (coming soon, language Greek & English)
Project Mind’s Eye website (only Greek)
Mind’s Eye project video documentation (language greek, English subtitles)
- The Inclusion Discourse Series project. Series of online talks on art, culture and inclusive practices. (Language: Greek & English, Subtitles: Greek & English)
- Sonic Memorabilia project: Sound Collages by people with and without visual impairment. (Language Greek, Subtitles English)