In a Seeing World
Directed and Edited by Joel Checkley and Produced by Belinda Ensor for Museums Australia (Victoria), 2015.Contributors
Reproduction of this content for public purposes must be approved by Museums Australia (Victoria).Copyright
Museums Australia (Victoria)
The interaction between the people who are blind or have low vision and the mainstream world bears the weight of historic preconceptions and limitations. What does it mean for those with low vision or who are blind to live in a seeing world?
This film explores education, employment and access through the experiences of three individuals.
1. The images in this film were sourced from the State Library of Victoria, Vision Australia Historical Collection, as well as Andrew Follows' personal collection.
2. Blind children in a schoolroom reading braille, Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, 1912 (picture), State Library of Victoria.
3. Blind children playing, Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, 1912 (picture), State Library of Victoria.
[IN A SEEING WORLD]
Vision Australia provides services to people who are blind or who have low vision, of all ages. So starting from early childhood programs. So when a family has a child, you know, born blind or loses their sight at a young age, we have our services that we support the family and the child. And at one stage I did some work with parents of children who were blind and there was an automatic thing to assume by the parents that my child won’t be able to do anything much because they’re blind
People still seem to encounter disadvantage and discrimination in access to education.
Being blind it’s, it can shut a lotta, lotta doors and its hard to break through.
Whether that be getting access to their materials in a format they can read, to do their course, or whether it be denial of certain subjects or courses because their blind and it’s considered by some that they can’t do it for the sheer fact their blind, rather than their ability.
Being a legally blind photographer it’s just not heard of. So, okay let’s break the mould. . You know, with me I’m sort of, you know I’m fortunate, I’ve got life skills behind me and education in, and all that sort of stuff. But a lot of people don’t have that and they get left behind.
People who are older who go blind, they’ve usually worked, they’ve had a career, they’ve you know lived life and now they’re having to readjust and rehabilitate into, you know, living a life of blindness. It’s very different to when you start young with a child and teach them skills from the beginning.
One of the key things someone with low visual, someone with a disability but if you can get an education behind you, that will help.
We need to make sure that even from the child’s parents, there’s an expectation of ‘you can do’ rather than what you can’t do.
Unemployment for low vision or blind people is exceptionally hard.
You’re looking at about 75% of vision impaired people in Australia, and similar countries, are unemployed.
And you have to kind of say why? Two real factors of which we came to the conclusion of – one is job readiness, like being ready, skilled, have access to the equipment that you need to do the job
I mean anyone can use a computer now but trying to convince the employer that you can use a computer as good as a sighted person is really hard.
And the other is the attitudes of employers. So that’s a lot about peoples’ attitude to what you can and can’t do ‘cause you’re a blind person and often assumptions that are myths, not true.
People don't see past the dog, in my case or they don’t see past the white cane and what hazards that’s going to create in the office environment and all this sort of stuff.
Places like Vision Australia and other disability employment services are well aware of that and they try to market to prospective employers that a blind person can do that job.
One of the good things that did happen when I was younger - Vision Australia had an employment section, to advocate you know, visually impaired or legally blind people into the employment. So I got some good jobs when I was younger, which was really good.
You know, I have four children, one who is blind and what I find is that at school the children work at McDonalds, they work in, you know, everything to get a job and get some money. A child who’s blind has never had that same opportunity so we’ve got to get that happening in a young age to get them that same kind of, you know, work experience.
So, there’s a lot of attitudinal barriers that we need to breakdown in the employment arena, but things are improving.
I think it will get better. I think we have laws that are in place, like the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we have the Disability Discrimination Act in Australia, so there’s kind of lots of frameworks, legal frameworks to kind of ensure change happens, but change happens over time and people need to kind of embrace it and run with it.
In a Hearing World
Hidden from Sight
In a Seeing World
The Laughter of the Tribe
Eyes on Access
Sign Language Alphabet Chart
Flinders Street Deaf Club
Muir and Abraham at Flinders Street Deaf Club
Blackburn Lake Park
Jolimont Square Garden Party
Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind Chief Librarian
Demonstration of Assistive Technology
Braille Playboy Magazine
Story education resources
Education A Sensory Experience Education Kit - Deaf Perspectives
Created by Way Back When Consulting Historians, this education resource links to relevant learning outcomes in the year 9 Australian History Curriculum. It utilises a range of primary sources including images, video and essays; interviews with members of the Deaf community; inquiry and research-based activities; and assignment tasks and an assessment rubric.
Education A Sensory Experience Education Kit - Blind Perspectives
Created by Way Back When Consulting Historians, this education resource links to relevant learning outcomes in the year 9 Australian History Curriculum. It utilises a range of primary sources including images, video and essays; interviews with people who are blind or have low vision; inquiry and research-based activities; and assignment tasks and an assessment rubric.