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  • Writer's pictureShannon Das

The Art of Vision

As part of National Science Week 2019, Josh, Riemke and myself organized and ran an art class… “with a twist!”

Having won seed funding from the CSIRO, we set out to create an event that would showcase the work of the lab and also raise awareness about visual impairment in a fun and family-friendly setting. We wanted to highlight just how important our sense of sight is, and also how our minds can incredibly fill in the gaps.

The event would be simple. Aided by experienced art teacher, Ilona, members of the public would be encouraged to think about their sight and how they perceive the world around them. They would then be asked to wear a pair of glasses that mimic different kinds of visual disorders: cataracts, AMD, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Participants would then be asked to take in the surrounds with the visual impairment and then sketch a random item from a paper bag. These items ranged from toys to model animals and everyday items.

Participants were asked to pay attention to their sensations. The class was followed by and informal open-panel discussion. It was agreed that familiarity played a large role in whether any part of their sketch resembled the item they had chosen. The discussion then ventured into more general territory and questions about maintaining healthy eyesight and longevity came up. This yielded some interesting items with a take-home message to use blue filters on your digital devices as one way to keep your eyes in good shape!

A massive thankyou to everyone who gave up their time to be involved in the project, with a special mention to Riccardo from CVR, Ilona and Kendra from Vision Australia.

The team from CVR looks forward to next year’s National Science Week!

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