We describe our experience of working with blind and visually impaired people to create interactive art objects that are personal to them, through a participatory making process using electronic textiles (e-textiles) and hands-on crafting techniques. The research addresses both the practical considerations about how to structure hands-on making workshops in a way which is accessible to participants of varying experience and abilities, and how effective the approach was in enabling participants to tell their own stories and feel in control of the design and making process. The results of our analysis is the offering of insights in how to run e-textile making sessions in such a way for them to be more accessible and inclusive to a wider community of participants.
Emilie Giles is a researcher, artist and educator, her work spanning creative technology, crafting and pervasive gaming. She is a PhD student at The Open University exploring personal associations with touch and e-textiles. Her recent focus has been on working with blind and visually impaired people to make their own interactive art objects through hands-on making workshops.
Emilie has a wealth of experience in teaching people how to build their own creative technology projects, having been Co-director and Head of Outreach and Participation at Codasign before starting her PhD. She has also taught physical computing with e-textiles to students at University of Westminster, London College of Communication and The Royal College of Art as well as to members of the public in museums such as the V&A and Tate Britain.