Creative Voucher Scheme
Drake Music and Queen Mary University of London
Mary Paterson, Drake Music
Dr Tony Stockman, Queen Mary University of London
VIBE is a platform, springboard and showcase to promote, demonstrate and share excellence in professional practice among blind and visually impaired musicians, sound engineers and producers. As technology becomes more and more visual, it is less and less accessible to visually impaired people. Many modern instruments and pieces of equipment use touchscreens, and social networking tools like Soundcloud and Facebook are not accessible to screen-reading software (which translates visual data into spoken word). At the same time, visually impaired people find it difficult to create visual marketing materials like photos and videos, and to participate in the gigging circuit, which involves travelling to new, often inaccessible and out of the way venues.
As part of the project VIBE held a roundtable discussion for visually impaired musicians, sound engineers and other industry professionals, in order to discuss the barriers faced by visually impaired people developing professional music careers. Following this, the project team created a blue print for action: online and offline networking tools to enable visually impaired musicians to pursue their talents. VIBE continued with networking events, interviews and an email network. Peter Bosher presented the project at the Visually Impaired Musicians’ Lives conference at the Institute of Education in March 2015.
During and continuing after the pilot project’s completion, the VIBE website was developed by members of the engineering department at QMUL, in consultation with a group of visually impaired musicians.
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