A new free audio descriptive tour for visually impaired visitors will be available at Tate Britain from 8 February. The new equipment, which is lighter than previous audio sets and portable around the neck, provides listeners with two forty-five minute tours of Tate Britain’s displays, Collections 2003 - 1500, BP Displays at Tate Britain.
Both tours include orientation and gallery information as well as evocative descriptions of the visual aspects of key works. Background context and information on the artist and his or her technique is also provided. The tours have been developed with invaluable help from a group of visually impaired people and a team of interpreters including practising artists. The tours offer different layers of information from personal and poignant observations, with the occasional amusing note, to more factual or historical information.
The first tour encompasses some of the most popular historic works at Tate Britain including:
- The Saltonstall Family 1636-7 by David des Granges
- God Judging Adam 1795 by William Blake
- Ophelia 1851-2 by John Everett Millais
- Peace - Burial at Sea1842 by J.M.W. Turner
The second tour focuses on modern British masterpieces including:
- Figure of a Woman 1929-30 by Barbara Hepworth
- Recumbent Figure 1938 by Henry Moore1935
- White Relief 1935 by Ben Nicholson
- Construction: Stone with a collar1890-1977 by Naum Gabo
The audio tour has been developed by Vocaleyes in partnership with Tate Britain and funding from the Arts Council of England’s New Audiences Programme. Vocaleyes is a nationwide service and registered charity which works, through audio description, to increase access to the arts for people with visual impairment (www.vocaleyes.co.uk).
In the longer term, Tate Britain aims to create a bank of descriptions that can be changed in relation to the rotating Collection displays. In the future this resource will also be available online at www.tate.org.uk.
Notes to Editor
The tour is part of a wider project by Vocaleyes and the Royal National Institute of the Blind on audio description for museums, galleries and heritage venues with an overall aim to develop new audiences. Tate Britain is one of three case studies and a research programme that will be presented in project publications and a conference. The other case studies are a touring exhibition of Ben Nicholson’s later work (Chasing Out Something Alive, Drawings and Painted Reliefs 1950 - 75, an exhibition which started at Kettles Yard, Cambridge) and a partnership with a regional heritage venue, Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.