Welcome to Countryside experiences:
Perceptions of people who have impaired vision

My name is Karis and I am conducting PhD research at the University of Sussex into how the countryside is perceived by people who have impaired vision. This research includes people who are congenitally and non-congenitally vision impaired, partially sighted and severely sight impaired.

I aim to provide a detailed account of how individuals who have impaired vision perceive and experience the countryside of East Sussex. I having been walking one to one with walkers as their sighted guide for the last five years, inviting people local to the East Sussex area to join me. Together we have been creating film, photographs, walk diaries and sound recordings to record our experiences.

I would be really interested to hear your experiences of being in the countryside and have created this website for anyone who has impaired vision or is a sighted guide to tell their story. Click on the 'Get involved' tab to tell your story and read other's stories.

Countryside and disability organisations have been at the forefront in researching how walkers who have disabilities experience the countryside (including the English Heritage, Forestry Commission, The Fieldfare Trust, Natural England and National Parks). This has often focused on identifying the attitudes of countryside service providers and visitors to propose suitable environmental adaptions for different landscapes. This research is about how you perceive the landscape, that is, how you feel, sense and engage with the countryside. The focus is not on dis-ability, but the richness of each individual's sensory experience, regardless of how they identify with various labels.

I am writing the findings of this research up as a book and shorter papers. Do get in touch if you are interested in reading these. I am also available to provide the findings of this research in a digestable format to relevant organisations, including countryside service providers hoping to improve visitor experience and participation, disability focused organisations and rehabilitation programmes aiming to facilitate people in sensory re-orientation.

If you're interested to learn more about some of the organisations I have been working with, including Healthwalks, City Synergy Sports and Social Club for Blind and Partially Sighted People, East Sussex Association of Blind and Partially Sighted People, London Blind Ramblers Club and 4Sight, please read the 'useful links'.

A big thank you to Tony Osmand from the Mid Sussex Ramblers Club for kindly providing many of the photographs of the London Blind Ramblers Club on this website.

Twitter

Anthropologist of #perception #senses #disability #walking + #environment @SussexUni | Inclusive arts facilitator | nature lover!

RT @darkmtn: Today we launch our new section about trees and what they mean to us. 'Under the Canopy' begins with an introductio… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Eagerly waiting to read this book! I had the opportunity to preview a few pages and it is sumptuous... #southdownstwitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @Corbel_Stone: Call for Work: On Non-Human Consciousness Work responding to the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness:… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Fantastic event! 'Adventures in nature with sight impairment', 19 September in Bristol, read more about this here:… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

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