VIMobilities panel discussion
The first public screening of a series of participatory films made by a group of young Londoners with visual impairments (VI) took place at the Rio Cinema in London on 3rd October.
The films are part of a collaborative research project funded by the John Fell Fund led by Dr Jennie Middleton, Senior Research Fellow in the Transport Studies Unit, and the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC). The research used video methods to explore young VI people's everyday experiences of accessibility across London's transport systems. The films document a selection of journeys around the city, sharing experiences, memories, encounters, stories, and strategies. Films included: In(ter)dependence, Crossings, Navigating Busy Streets, Textures, Tunnels, and Trains.
The accessible film screening followed by a panel discussion was supported by the SoGE Inspiration Fund, set up to enable new projects that might not normally find funding by other means.
All films were subtitled/audio described and the panel was BSL interpreted. The panellists included: Dr Emma Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London; Tom Pey, CEO, RSBC; Patrick Roberts, Trustee, Transport for All; Justin Cunningham, RSBC and VI Mobilities film project. The panel discussion chaired by Dr Jennie Middleton covered a range of pressing issues around existing transport campaigns, access to public transport, urban mobilities, and video methods.
The films were incredibly well received by the diverse audience which included, amongst others, urban designers, transport planners, and disability activists. Georgia Heathman, from the Diversity and Inclusion Team at Transport for London, explained how: "I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the panel and found the videos extremely moving as well as incredibly informative as to the daily barriers that are experienced by young visually impaired people in London".
The films and more details about the research can be found online at www.vi-mobilities.co.uk.
"The videos [were] extremely moving as well as incredibly informative as to the daily barriers that are experienced by young visually impaired people in London."
Georgia Heathman, Diversity and Inclusion Team at Transport for London