The following are designed to enable interaction and shift perception in the group, or preconceived expectations, of who can or can’t do what.
Exploring the space
In pairs, one leads the other around the space, starting from the studio entrance door. The purpose is to give a sense of size and nature of the environment for access and independence. Demonstration includes how to hold the arm at the elbow, how to indicate change in direction, the need to step up or down, to go through a door, to sit on a chair, etc.
Themes. Explore from the Periphery of the Space, locating exits, windows, features, chairs etc, using touch, placing the hand on a surface or object.
- Allow the led person to ‘lead’ their exploration – to decide how long to spend in a place.
- Try with no verbal interaction – then feedback before changing roles.
- Teach the sighted guide skills – include how a sighted person guides the VI person around the space, outside to facilities etc, to a chair to sit down upon, etc. This gives a formal sense of ‘how to do’ the guiding role.
Meet & Greet
Themes. Standing, meeting each other in movement activity such as ice breakers inviting awareness of physical, sensation. Invite short encounters (in dyads) and games or exercises involving informal interaction in movement.
- Body part to body part (e.g. “knee to elbow” and they have to find someone to join with or be found by someone). This reveals those who are confident to move in space and those more inhibited, facilitators support the more inhibited.
- Back to back rub, standing or sitting in a circle - turn to face the person on the right so now all face someone’s back. Put hands on the back and give a shoulder rub, gentle slap, brush, or stroke. It can involve the whole back. This reveals a sense of body size and shape which visually impaired people cannot see. If time allows change sides. This can be done at other times and in other formations.
- Hand shaking in variations - squeeze the hand, how long do you hold the hand, take and slide the hand rather than grip).
- Brushing past - fleeting meetings moving in close proximity and in slow motion. This reveals individual ways of coping with proximity and sensitivity to proximity needs to be respected. Those who are sensitive can move with a sighted guide for example or remain more peripheral. Sighted participants can be invited to close their eyes if there are enough on the outside to support the space.
- Clusters (interaction in small groups) moving in constant contact in and around each other, changing levels, awakening awareness of multiple contact points and sources of stimuli for movement response. This can be across the floor from one side of the room to the other or in the middle. The invitation is to be in continuous flow, with the permission for stillness.
Walking in the space in twos, leave partner find another one; stop start together (sighted people are the eyes for all – keep safe distance etc).