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Beyond the Visual

  • Free
  • Symposium
  • British Sign Language
  • Captioned
  • Hearing loop
  • Audio described
  • Relaxed
People sitting in rows of purple seating in the auditorium at Wellcome Collection, a member of the audience is speaking into a handheld microphone and gesturing with their other hand.
Event at Wellcome Collection, Susan Smart. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

What you’ll do

Hear from a wide range of speakers reflecting on what blindness brings to the experience of art within cultural organisations and beyond.

Your speakers will include artists, creative practitioners, disability activists, historians, researchers and scientists.

This symposium goes beyond thinking only about facilitating access: speakers will also talk about what blind and partially sighted people can bring to cultural experiences for all.

There will be themed sessions with short individual responses to the session theme, followed by round tables where a facilitator will bring the speakers together to reflect on ideas. There will be time for you to ask questions during the round-table discussions.

There will also be sessions with key figures in conversation with a facilitator about their work, including Amanda Cachia and Fiona Candlin. These discussions conclude an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project.

A summary schedule and speaker list are below. You can download the full schedule, speaker biographies and abstracts of talks on the University of the Arts London website.

Day 1

  • Welcome and introduction to the symposium
  • Sensory Environments, Architectures and Performances
  • Lunch
  • Sounds, Scores and Words
  • Coffee break
  • The Art of Touch

Day 2

  • Multi-Modal Wayfinding and Storytelling
  • Lunch
  • Blind Aesthetics
  • Coffee break
  • Expanding the Beholder Experience
  • Keynote with Georgina Kleege: Reflections, Regrets and Resolutions after 20 Years of Advocacy


Ken Wilder (Principal Investigator, University of the Arts London), Aaron McPeake (Co-Investigator, UAL), Jo Bannon, Kazimir Bielecki, Alex Billig, Sally Booth, Madi Boyd, Jos Boys, Laurie Britton Newell, Amanda Cachia, Fiona Candlin, Àger P Casanovas, Matthew Cock, Polly Dalton, Gabriela Daniels, Claudette Davis-Bonnick, Fayen d’Evie, Marcus Dickey Horley, Alison Eardley, Rachel Gadsden, Simon Hayhoe, Leighanne Higgins, Katharina C Husemann, Rachel Hutchinson, David Johnson, Maria Kapsali, Ameerah Khadaroo, Georgina Kleege, Eleanor Margolies, David Mollin, Maria Oshodi, Carmen Papalia, Will Renel, Joe Rizzo-Naudi, Hannah Thompson, Simon Ungar, Collin van Uchelen, Lennie Varvarides, Salomé Voegelin, Anica Zeyen.



Need to know


We’ll be in the Henry Wellcome Auditorium. To get there, take the stairs or the lift down to level −1. The auditorium is fitted with a hearing loop.

Place not guaranteed

Booking a ticket for a free event does not guarantee you a place. You should aim to arrive 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to start to claim your place. If you do not arrive on time, your place may be given to someone on the waiting list.

Waiting list

If this event is fully booked, you may still be able to attend. We will operate a waiting list, which opens 30 minutes before this event starts. Arrive early, and we’ll give you a numbered ticket. If there are any unfilled places just before the start time, we will invite you to enter in order of ticket number.

British Sign Language

This event will have British Sign Language interpretation.


This event will be Captioned and the captions will be visible throughout the performance space.

Hearing loop

There will be a hearing loop at this event.

Audio described

Key visual elements referred to during this event will be described.


This is a relaxed event, which means that if you need to, you are welcome to move around and make noise at any time.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

Our event terms and conditions

About your collaborators

Arts and Humanities Research Council

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds outstanding original research across the whole range of the arts and humanities.

University of the Arts London

University of the Arts London (UAL) is "the world’s biggest factory for making trouble" (Grayson Perry, UAL Chancellor). UAL is 1 university, made up of 6 Colleges and 19,000+ students from everywhere.