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Engage is the lead advocacy and training network for gallery education.

We support arts educators, organisations and artists to work together with communities in dynamic, open exchanges that give everyone the opportunity to learn and benefit from the arts.

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Engage Scotland

Events and networking

Let’s talk: developing access with visually impaired people

Monday 27 March 2017, 09.30 – 16.30

Please note that this event is now fully booked.

National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW


This full day training seminar is an opportunity to discuss and develop a range of approaches to working with visually impaired people. The day will be jointly led by Engage Scotland, Artlink Edinburgh and Lothians and the National Library of Scotland, with sighted and visually impaired artists to share diverse experiences and ways of working.

Who is it for?

Arts and heritage organisations, artists, local authority officers, and anyone interested in developing meaningful, purposeful and sustainable creative approaches to improving access to their venue or programme for visually impaired people.

The programme will include the following sessions:

Describing visual art

Artist Juliana Capes shares her approach to descriptive gallery tours with insight from participant Anne Dignan. The session includes practical exercises for participants to develop their own skills and approach.

Handling artefacts

Curators from the National Library of Scotland lead an example of a handling session with objects with the collection and share learning from their work with visually impaired visitors.

Descriptive language

Poet Ken Cockburn reads poetry and prose relating to the library building and current exhibition. Participants then have time to reflect on the space, how they might describe it or how they can use the learning in their own venues.

Hands-on workshop

A practical workshop led by visually impaired artists, Alan McIntyre and Fiona Powell. The artists will share their developing art practice and lead a practical workshop, exploring ways of working with visually impaired participants.


Contributors will include:

Juliana Capes

Juliana Capes isa visual artist who lives and works in Edinburgh. In her personal visual arts practice she is known for her ambitious installations. Concurrently she has a socially engaged practice working on arts and education projects with many different organisations including Edinburgh Artlink, National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Life, Edinburgh City Council, Edinburgh University, Fruitmarket Gallery amongst many others. An adept and inspiring teacher and communicator she works with communities to facilitate artistic processes. She has been the lead artist on the National Gallery of Scotland’s Visual Impairment programme for the past decade, and is considered one of the country’s foremost Visual Describers. 


Ken Cockburn

Ken Cockburn is a freelance poet, translator, editor and writing tutor based in Edinburgh. Formerly Fieldworker and Assistant Director at the Scottish Poetry Library, he has wide experience of running writing workshops for children and adults in a range of settings including schools, libraries, museums & galleries, parks, prisons, hospices and care homes. Previous projects with Artlink include Pandora’s Light Box, a poem for visually impaired visitors to the Talbot Rice Gallery, and Some Bat-squeak Echo of Other Time, a tour guided by fiction of the National Library of Scotland. His most recent collection is The Road North: a journey around Scotland guided by Basho’s oku-no-hosomichi, a long poem written with Alec Finlay.


Some Bat-squeak Echo of Other Time

Pandora’s Light Box


Booking (this event is sold out).



£25             [engage member freelancer]

£40             [Non-member freelancer]

£60             [engage member organisation]

£100           [Non-member organisation]


Please return your completed form to: Engage, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA Email: info@engage.org Fax: +44 (0)20 7739 3688

If you have any questions about booking or would like this information in another format, please contact Engage on

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7729 5858

Fax: +44 (0)20 7739 3688

Email: info@engage.org


Artlink is an arts and disability organisation established in 1984. Artlink believes participation in the arts has an important role to play in realising personal and social change. Our aim is to increase opportunities to take part in the arts for those who experience disadvantage or disability in the East of Scotland. We offer practical support so people can get involved and work with venues to increase opportunities to enjoy the arts. Artlink establishes partnerships with artists, venues and organisations to encourage positive change.



Engage is the lead advocacy and training network for gallery education with some 850 members across 270 museums, galleries and visual arts organisations. Engage has well developed programmes in England, Scotland and Wales, and members in over 20 countries worldwide. Engage focuses on four areas of work: research and activities, continuing professional development, sharing practice, and advocacy. Engage receives support from Arts Council England's National Portfolio Programme, project funding from the Arts Council of Wales and is an Annual Client of Creative Scotland.


Engage members are people who deliver learning programmes in the visual arts, including gallery educators, artists and artist educators, as well as students, teachers, curators, directors, youth and community workers, policymakers and others involved in arts education and the visual arts.


We are the UK's most effective advocate for gallery education. Engage membership starts at just £34 per annum. Find out more at: www.engage.org


The National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is the world's leading centre for the study of Scotland and the Scots. The library holds a major European research library, with collections of world-class importance.





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