The VI friendly Tate!

VI friendly Tate Galleries

latest from Marcus DickeyHorley from the Tate

We are embedding visual impairment awareness into our front of house service.

We are working with visually impaired artists to explain and interpret the Tate collection.

We are using a mix of audio description, touching of both replicas and original sculpture to help people understand the environment.

We are looking to the future to engage with technologies to expand our work.

Vocaleyes has trained ten staff members in visual awareness and the trainees will pass this on to another five hundred colleagues over the next eighteen months

Free audio description tours take place at Tate Britain on the third Monday morning of every month.

We have permission for VI visitors to touch certain exhibits where possible but only those owned by Tate. When visitors touch exhibits they first put on cotton archive gloves.

We use examples of materials to be handled to illustrate the texture of exhibits. The touch tours are led by trained guides. Touch tours are bookable to fit the individual.

A couple of times a year we have a private view Out of hours audio described tour of major exhibitions for those who cannot make the gallery hours tours. The next one is for Picasso at Tate Modern on Monday 21 May from 6.30 to 8.30pm.

Training is being given to our visitor assistants to change the role from warder to welcomer.

We would like more VI people to visit the gallery but rather than squeeze more into the existing number of events we would like to hold more events to accommodate this.

We want to be more multisensory in the experience we offer so not just description and touch but smell also.

We are keen to work with organisations who may wish to bring a group of VI children or young people to the gallery, combining our existing learning programme with the accessibility we have developed.

Many partially sighted visitors use their phones to enlarge an image of an exhibit: now the Tate Galleries staff will not stop you taking photos unless it’s with a flash or tripod, there is no danger of your use of a phone to magnify being mistaken for taking a photo.

Information on our accessible events can be found on our website if you search under audio description. Website:

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The article is taken from the LVIF March Minutes


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