Abigail Hirsch

Artist Educator specialising in Accessibility, Royal Academy of Arts, London (United Kingdom)

Abigail Hirsch is a museum educator specialising in accessibility. She has been a key person in the development and delivery of the schools access program at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Abigail has completed several commissions developing and designing access resources for museums and heritage sites, notably Victoria and Albert Museum first sensory back-pack for visitors with vision impairments. Her credo is to promote corrective discrimination and encourage awareness and understanding between people from different cultures and backgrounds andwith different abilities, providing support and encouragement to enable everyone in the community to choose and fully participate in the museum experience and creative arts.

Sensory Engagement: Making a Museum Dialogue Inclusive

The use of senses encourages not only accessibility and inclusion, but also non-verbal communication. It builds relationships between individuals and the surroundings. In this workshop I will demonstrate, and delegates will have the opportunity to experience, how I work with multi-sensory objects. Triggering more than one sense, if not all senses, provides an entry point to groups with disabilities, an active engagement within the museum dialogue and experience. The workshop will be based on a hands-on activity accompanied by group work and discussion, while observing a number of elements: participation, diversity, communication, choices, senses, and inclusion. This will help participants to create a "tool box" to support the accessibility of museums.

Benefits for the participants

The workshop will provide delegates with the tools to develop and design accessible learning methodologies and resources for visitors with cognitive and / or sensory impairments, so they can fully take part in the museum dialogue and experience.

Format of the workshop

The workshop will be based on a hands-on activity accompanied by group work and discussion, while observing a number of elements: participation, diversity, communication, choices, senses, and inclusion. This will help participants to create a "tool box" to support the accessibility of museums.

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