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Spatial Explorations and Digital Traces: Experiences of Legal Blindness through Filmmaking

Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, 302 Human Ecology Building, Edmonton, AB T6G 2N1, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gregor Wolbring
Societies 2016, 6(1), 2;
Received: 3 December 2015 / Revised: 22 December 2015 / Accepted: 31 December 2015 / Published: 6 January 2016
PDF [198 KB, uploaded 6 January 2016]


Descriptions of legal blindness, as lived experience—involving continual movement between the world of sightedness and blindness—are largely absent within medical models of disability. In an effort to challenge depictions of blindness as pathology, researchers in this project worked with participants who are legally blind, in a co-designed exploration of built spaces in the city of Edmonton, Canada. In this article we describe a collaborative research method through which participants shared stories while recording their movement through a shopping mall, an art gallery, and a gym. Through this project, participants often took the lead, determining the content and context of urban journeys. Stories and images shared through this collaboration suggest that legal blindness is an alternative way of knowing the world, with unique perceptual experiences, navigational strategies, and complexity that is often unacknowledged within a medically constructed blindness/sightedness binary. In describing the complex relationship between participants, researchers, architecture, and technology we will combine narrative forms of writing with actor-network theory. The sharing of stories, along with lived experiences has led to a project that revolves around ability, as opposed to disability. A link to the film is provided at the end of this article. View Full-Text
Keywords: ability; collaboration; disability; material culture; storytelling; urban journey; voices ability; collaboration; disability; material culture; storytelling; urban journey; voices
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ruiz, A.; Strickfaden, M. Spatial Explorations and Digital Traces: Experiences of Legal Blindness through Filmmaking. Societies 2016, 6, 2.

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