Touch Tour Training: Visual Impairment awareness and touch tour training


Touch Tour Training guidelines, do's and dont's

In Autumn 2019, the Without Walls Access Advisor, Alex Covell (Engagement & Access Producer at FESTIVAL.ORG) liaised with Without Walls-supported companies to examine ways in which their shows could address barriers to access for Deaf and disabled audiences.

One of the areas of interest that arose from these conversations was looking at how outdoor companies could offer a richer experience for blind or visually impaired audiences. 

This led to devising two training sessions which included introductions to visual impairment awareness and etiquette, guidelines for running a touch tour as well as several practical descriptions and guiding exercises.

The first session, touch tour training for Motionhouse’s outdoor show WILD took place in January 2020 and was delivered by Anne Hornsby from Mind’s Eye, at Motionhouse’s studio in Leamington Spa. 

The training was attended by all the members of the company, including directors and performers as well as production, communication, engagement, education and fundraising colleagues.

Explore Motionhouse’s summary of what they learnt about Touch Tours from their training session, as well as insights into their process with their Touch Touch script, and Reminders of Do’s and Don’ts before a Touch Touch. Explore through download links below.

These notes were compiled in January 2020

'It will really help us to develop our tour - I feel much more aware and confident now.'

Training participant

'I understand what touch tours look like and the importance of strong/vivid descriptions and individual experiences of the show/set. Hugely valuable and very interesting!'

Training participant

In the second session, Without Walls joined forces with Vocal Eyes to develop a different training session for several outdoor companies, most of whom were at the very early stages of creating their shows. 

It felt important for the artists to access this training and gain a wider understanding around visual impairment while they were creating the shows, so they could incorporate the learning in their developmental period. 

This training was attended by eight companies that have created work with Without Walls support. We also welcomed representatives from Outdoor Arts UK and NASA (National Association of Street Artists).

Check out the downloads below for guidance on how to incorporate touch tours into your own work.

'Enjoyed learning the principles and then applying them to our own work. Such a brand range of work and approaches in the room, it was useful to see other people apply to their circumstances but also be challenged to think immediately how what we were learning could be applied to our own work.'

Training participant

'I thought it was a really informative day and I came away with lots of food for thought and possibly more importantly a plan of action to put in place for our upcoming shows.'

Training participant