How this art festival in Goa is championing the cause of being disabled-friendly

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How this art festival in Goa is championing the cause of being disabled-friendly

The Adil Shah Palace in Goa, one of the eight venues of India's first multidisciplinary festival, Serendipity Arts Festival, hosted an one-of- a-kind specially curated art walk on its premises. A young man leads a group of students to the foyer, in front of a display of photography by Chandan Khanna.

It is only when you notice that instead of gazing at the pictures adorning the walls, they wait until the young man describes what lay in front of them and handed out tactile reproductions of the very same pictures.

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The kaleidoscope of emotions displayed on the faces of these students makes it apparent that their imagination is taking them on a journey, none of us understand. It is their journey into the world of tactile-visual art.

The young gentleman, Siddhant Shah, is one of the few who's working to break down the barriers to accessing art. As an art access consultant, Siddhant works towards ensuring differently-abled visitors, kids, and even the elderly, are given the opportunity to enjoy and engage in the arts just as everyone should.

How this art festival in Goa is championing the cause of being disabled-friendly

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With the aim of being inclusive and accessible for all, Serendipity Arts Festival partnered with Siddhant to create a tactile experiential program called SENSES, to ensure that everyone, regardless of any situation are not left out when it comes to experience art.

The main aim of the SENSES program is to make the event, spaces and its artworks more welcoming and accessible to the visually impaired visitors along with others with special need, so that one goes back with a fulfilling experience. Tactile maps, braille books, tactile reproductions of art works on display, tactile and braille equipped signage are all a part of this. The tactile products essentially enable everyone to understand the various aspects of the art-works through multiple senses. The products and the ideas designed will allow a wide range of interaction with the artworks on display, thus making it universal to a large section of the society.

To make understanding things easier, Shah has also conducted a Blindfold Photography Workshop, where the participants will be clicking pictures without seeing them. In a space for social and educational engagement, the SENSES project acts as catalyst to allow Intellectual and Social Access to those demographics who are otherwise overwhelmed and do not participate in these events.
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Here's hoping that this initiative by Serendipity Arts Festival is a game-changer for making art festivals more inclusive.