Beyond 'Looking' Back: How People with Blindness Revisit and Share Memories
Researchers and designers have studied how reminiscence experiences can be better supported and enriched with different kinds of technology, such as online social media, smartphones, photo collections or even virtual reality. However, these projects primarily support people with sight. We wonder, how could technology support the reminiscence experience for people with blindness?
Having interviewed 9 people with blindness during the summer of 2019, this audio documentary shares their stories while offering questions to expand on the insights that have emerged across these 9 interviews. We invite you to join us in this collaborative space of reflection and to respond to our inquiries within the comments or through direct messaging. As we move forward in our research with this project, we invite you to contact us directly if you would like to be involved in the next steps of our research. Please do not hesitate to send us a direct message on SoundCloud or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Team:
MinYoung Yoo is a Ph.D. student at Simon Fraser University in Western Canada, who is currently leading the project. This project has started from a question from his family tradition of digging a pile of old photographs. His grandma, who has now passed away, had a severe vision loss in her later years. Min remembers how other family members had to figure out alternative ways of sharing memories together. How can we still enjoy a similar experience of sharing memories when we become visually impaired or blind? How do people with blindness capture and share their meaningful life experiences and what people with sight can learn from their experiences? Building on his master’s project, and continuing on to the Ph.D. journey, Min has conducted field observations and has been constantly engaging with research participants over the past two years.
Dr. William Odom is an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University. He has prior experience in volunteering with a non-profit social program that paired younger adults with older adults with vision impairment. Where the main goal is to support positive social connections and dialogues between different generations.
Dr. Arne Berger is a professor at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Germany. He has completed 1 year of community service volunteer work in a school for blind and visually impaired students. He also has 6 years of experience in designing together with people with disabilities.
Lauren Knight recently finished her Master’s program at Simon Fraser University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Media Production, specializing in sound media, from Ryerson University in Ontario, Canada. As an audio producer and sonic researcher, Lauren has joined the project to assist in the production and distribution of this audio documentary.
This research took place in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples that include the Kwantlen, Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), and Stó:lō Nations. Settler colonialism did not arrive at what is now known as Vancouver until 160 years ago. Before then, this area’s residents practiced many forms of life and community engagement outside of the colonial construction of present-day Vancouver. Although now cloaked by colonial imagery, these histories and new realities continue to sound through the nations, land, non-human agents, and advocates who maintain and share these stories. As researchers primarily working in storywork, we hope to create a space for these soundings, to encourage a consideration of land and community, and to support the First Nations communities on whose land we reside. Moving forward in future avenues of our research, we invite collaboration and communication with these communities and we will actively work to consider ways to decolonize our work.