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Have you Thought about Art Made Accessible to those with Disabilities? #WATWB

Covid We Are the World Blogfest Writing by hand

We are the World BlogfestWe are the World Blogfest is here with its ninth edition.

To spread peace and humanity on social media, a few of us have worked together to create the We are the World Blogfest. In a world where news and social media are awash with negativity, we aim to turn the focus on to small but significant stories that renew our faith in humanity.

The cohosts for the August 2017 WATWB are: Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Andrea Michaels  and yours truly. Please do go and say hello to all the other co-hosts.

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In the spirit of “In Darkness, Be Light,” I’d like to share the story of art made accessible to those with disabilities.

I confess that when it comes to those with disabilities, I’ve always considered issues like accessibility, equal opportunity, and so on.

It goes on to show exactly how biased my perspectives are that I didn’t realize some museums in India cater to those with visual impairments and allow them not only to enjoy a work of art, but also to enhance their experience of it as much as possible.

Siddhant Shah, a Heritage Architect and Access Consultant, has been working with museums to help create a world where anyone can have access to museums, art galleries and heritage, irrespective of the kind of disability.

“In a museum, an architect’s job is not just about providing ramps, wheels and toilets as many seem to believe. One should also make sure that even the knowledge stored in these walls need to be communicated. That is why I introduced the idea of ‘intellectual accessibility’.” 

I’m heartened that in a country like India where having disabilities often leads to stigma, there exist people like Siddhant who work for equal access to art through initiatives like Access for All.

“Through his 2-year-old organisation ‘Access for All’ he has already worked with National Museum in Delhi (where he was instrumental in setting up Anubhav Tactile Gallery), City Palace and Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa among many others to produce tactile reproductions, braille books and organise Abhas tactile walks. Additionally, he also designed the first museum braille book in Pakistan, for State Bank Museum in Karachi!

These accessibility initiatives can be life-changing for many, who are kept outside the enriching world of art and culture, thanks to their disability.”

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If you found this piece of news heartening, and would like to take part in this blogfest, sign up in the WE ARE THE WORLD Blogfest Linky List below and please help spread the word on social media via the hashtag #WATWB.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

  1. Keep your post to below 500 words.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love and humanity.
  3. Join us in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More We Are the World Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. Add your post HERE so we can all find it quickly.

#WATWB also wants to link to charities supported by the co-hosts, and you could choose to donate to some of them or add links to local charities you support. Here’s the organization I’ve come to love and support: PROJECT WHY— and here’s one of my previous posts on the work they do. Feel free to send them a little of your help– every little bit counts.

 The We are The World Blogfest Community Page on Facebook will continue to show links to the various blog posts. So you don’t have to hurry through. You can always enjoy one a day. Like the page and share your posts on the thread for the purpose.

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Do you have museums near you that allow those with disabilities a meaningful access to art? What heartwarming story have you heard recently? Do you have stories you’d like to share?

We Are the World BlogfestPlease join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community (Click on See First).

If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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37 Comments

  • Shilpa Garg says:

    That’s such a fabulous and meaningful initiative. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story, Damyanti!

  • Emily Bloomquist says:

    Wow what a cool way to enrich lives. Thanks for sharing this Damyanti!

  • Heidi says:

    I love the idea of “intellectual accessibility.” It serves us all. Thanks for this insightful article.

  • rationalraj2000 says:

    An informative and revealing post on the work being done in this area…..

  • Christy B says:

    Giving everyone access to museums – how wonderful! I’m all for this! I’ll be including this inspiring post in my Friday roundup, Damyanti 🙂

  • Library Staff says:

    Love the post. As the father of a young man with autism, I say special abilities instead of disabilities. I don’t know where I heard that but I like to think we all have special abilities.

  • msw blog says:

    Great post and way to keep everyone involved in the arts.

  • I love this. I a world where museums keep viewers well-apart from the artwork, this is refreshing. Thanks for opening my mind.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I’ve read about so many wonderful people and great ideas as I check the posts on this hop. We need more stories like these out and about in our world. They give us hope.

  • This is immense. I hope we all can do a little bit to make the world a better place. Siddhant has shown light to all of us. Thank you for an inspiring story.

  • Meenakshi J says:

    What a noble way to enrich lives and make them part of the society.Kudos for such initiatives and thanks to you for bringing this to our notice !

  • ccyager says:

    I love this story! It’s wonderful to see that museums in India are taking the initiative like this. I’m more familiar with music organizations in America — some have taken steps to make music accessible to people with Autism who have issues with loud sounds, and provide sign language interpreters for choral concerts. Theaters also provide sign language interpreters. It’s wonderful to see this happening. Thanks for sharing this story about India!

  • Dan Antion says:

    What a great idea and a worthy goal. Thanks for bringing us this story!

  • Shilpa Gupte says:

    Isn’t that a wonderful initiative this young man came up with? We don’t even realise how people with disabilities may live lives bereft of the healing touch of art. I know how therapeutic art is to the human mind, If special people get an access to art and culture of a society, they will enjoy living more enriched lives!

  • Really moved by reading this. Every time I would think art should be enjoyed by all irrespective of their physical disabilities. And my sincere wishes to Mr. Shah for this noblest initiative. Happy to join with you for #WATWB to spread kindness.

  • Peter Nena says:

    Mr. Shah is a blessing to this world. Thanks for sharing his story.

  • My daughter who is both a nurse and an artist is very interested in art as therapy.

  • You’re not alone in your bias – and at least you DO consider things like accessibility and opportunity! It’s hard to imagine what day to day life is like, with various disabilities, unless you’ve personally experienced it. I remember rolling my eyes at people who parked in Handicapped spaces, then walked into stores as spryly as anyone. Then, when I was pregnant with my son, I got sciatica. I don’t roll my eyes anymore. Not all disabilities are visible and not all interfere with activities 24/7, but when they do, it can bring you to your knees, sobbing. I’ve worried, a few times, that I might lose vision – and I can imagine it, since without glasses mine’s about 20/800 on a good day. But it’s correctable. What if it weren’t? I can imagine, but not everyone can.

  • mitchteemley says:

    Access for All sounds like a wonderful thing. So glad to hear someone is making it a reality!

  • ericlahti says:

    In the immortal words of Indiana Jones, “It belongs in a museum.” I like to think he was talking about making art available to everyone.

  • very nice thought full creative articles

  • The idea of ‘intellectual accessibility’ is an important one which I hadn’t given much thought…
    This post highlights the fact that Siddhant Shah, who is undoubtedly an out-of-the-box thinking individual, has done amazing work, via his involvement with various initiatives, to ensure that those with disabilities are given opportunities to access the world of art and culture, which includes places such as museums, art galleries and heritage spots.
    A heart-warming post!
    Thanks, Damyanti! 🙂

    Writer In Transit

  • PJ Lazos says:

    My husband has MS and uses a wheelchair and I’m often struck by how different the world looks to him from that vantage point. I must confess I never thought about art in this way, but now I shall. Lovely post, Damyanti. ☺️

  • Susan Scott says:

    These sorts of initiatives are so heart warming Damyanti! Heart warming because so many with disabilities are sidelined and not considered, but with the efforts of others they can enjoy works of art on all levels. Siddhant Shah is a true hero. Thank you for this lovely post.

  • Thank you for sharing this beautiful post, siddhant’s journey is edifying, and I am so glad to be reading this post today. I have learnt something new; for I have never heard of this kind of initiative, thank you for enlightening me.

  • JoAnna says:

    So many ways to experience the world! I’m glad Siddhant Shah thought of this and pursued it.

  • simonfalk28 says:

    Even originals of great art can be so textured. One of my all time favourites is Vincent van Gogh’s ‘First Steps’. When I saw the original at the Met in New York City I almost touched the painting! I just love what this museum in India is doing by reproducng artworks for people who experience visual impairment. I know blog sites are not so fond of links in comments due to phishing etc, but I have one here on artists who paint with mouth or feet http://mfpa.com.au/about/ . Thanks for this ‘touching’ (pun intended) story, Damyanti, and for all you do for our #WATWB.

  • datmama4 says:

    I also tend to think of “access” as “get them in the building.” Nobody ever thinks about the part where they get in and say, “Now what?” These museums are doing more than allowing access—they’re promoting the experience.

  • Ally Bean says:

    The world gets kinder in the smallest of ways, doesn’t it? What a wonderful person doing a wonderful thing. Siddhant Shah is light, indeed.

  • Alok Singhal says:

    What a fabulous work by Siddhant. Wishing him success in his endeavors. May people he is helping out achieve what they want to in life.

  • I love this story – thanks for sharing (and for co-hosting)! Being a great lover of art I am pleased that the Art Institute in Chicago offers both audio tours for the visually impaired, but also has some 3-D replicas of certain art pieces so there is an opportunity for tactile exploration as well. I look forward to the day when we find ways to accomodate all people in all experiences.

  • Great article… Nice to know someone is thinking of differently abled people… BTW you had left a comment on my post… I thought I would reply you here… Dr. Gowda is a genuine doctor. He procured his degree from I think the Kolkata medical college… He was featured in the television too… I think the program in which I first heard of him was ‘oh my god yeh hai India’ in the history or natonal geographic channel… There is one other such dr by name V Balasubramaniam who charged 20 rs per consultation… He died recently…

  • Hilary says:

    Hi Damyanti – it is amazing and wonderful to read how people are allowing others with sensory impairments to be able to appreciate aspects of life we experience, but they are not able to … but no doubt have access to things we’ve no idea about. Thanks for letting us know about Siddhant Shah … fascinating to read about … cheers Hilary

  • KDKH says:

    What a wonderful way to share art with an often overlooked segment of the population!

  • franklparker says:

    Done! But the list didn’t appear although the linky link did when I entered the code.

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