Publications

International Journal of Art & Design Education

Somewhere in Between Touch and Vision: In Search of a Meaningful Art Education for Blind Individuals

Volume 23.3   2004

DE COSTER, KARIN AND LOOTS, GERRIT

 

This article offers a theoretical framework of a meaningful art education for blind people. Existing literature focuses on the interaction between the artwork and the blind person. This text describes this aesthetic encounter, which is complex due to tactile sensations, individual differences of the non-sighted viewer and specific features of the art work. The article demonstrates further the importance of thorough reflection on these issues. The paradoxical character of blindness and visual art raises some difficult theoretical problems. Several authors plead for an art education for the blind that emphasises tactile experiences, instead of visual information. The article considers the consequences of such reasoning and stresses the importance of visual information in an art educational setting for blind people. Finally the article considers the roles of the art educator and the museum guide, as moderators in this dichotomy between the tactile elements of an artwork and its visual features.