Wider community impact and engagement has been central to my research. I am now developing outputs for both academic and non-academic audiences, including chapter and journal publications, guest blogs, presentations at inter-disciplinary symposiums and reports detailing guidelines for best practice.
‘Sensing the landscape: Recreational walking in the South Downs National Park for people who have impaired vision’ at the South Downs Research Conference, Sussex, England, 6th July 2017.
‘Cultivating the ecological self through sensory engagement with nature’, at the ‘Emerging Paradigms in Wellbeing Research: Nature, Mindfulness and Spirituality’ symposium, 27 June 2017, University of Sussex, England.
‘Reappraising the visual with respect to an ethnography of people who have impaired vision’, invited presentation on the ‘Visual world of difference’ panel at the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival, 29 March – 1 April 2017, Bristol, England.
Co-organised a workshop panel, ‘Uncanny Landscapes,’ at ‘Wild or Domesticated‘ interdisciplinary conference, 20-22 September 2016, at The House of Science and Letters, Helsinki, Finland. Presented a paper titled ‘Perception, the environment and the uncanny: Sensing the woodlands with a psychic medium who has impaired vision’. Read about this here.
‘”Blind people need to teach sighted people how to listen”: ethnography through the body in an anthropology of sensory perception’, paper presentation, at European Association of Social Anthropologists 14th EASA Biennial Conference, ‘Anthropological legacies and human futures’, 20-23 July 2016, Milan, Italy. Part of the panel ‘Doing ethnography through the body’, convened by Lorenzo Ferrarini (University of Manchester) and Nicola Scaldaferri (University of Milano). Read about this here.
‘A world within reach: a sensorial anthropology of unseen landscapes and the experience of impaired vision’, presentation and workshop, at ‘Language, Landscape and the Sublime’ symposium and creative gathering, June 29-30 2016, at Dartington Hall & Sharpham House, Devon, England. Read about this here.
‘Perception, the environment and the uncanny: Sensing the woodlands with a psychic medium who has impaired vision’, paper presentation at ‘Wonder and the Natural World’ conference, June 20 – 23 2016, at Indiana University Bloomington, USA.
Petty, K. 2015. ‘Walking through the woodlands: Learning to listen with companions who have impaired vision’, in Bull, M. and Back, L., The Auditory Culture Reader. Bloomsbury.
Community engagement and report
My PhD research engaged a number of different organisations, including:
- East Sussex Association for blind and partially sighted people
- City Synergy sports and social group for vision impaired people in the East Sussex
- Healthwalks scheme, Brighton and Hove City Council
- London Blind Ramblers Club
- 4Sight Rambling Club for Blind and Partially Sighted People
These organisations contributed to the research method through providing sighted guide training, insurance, walk leader training, access to fieldwork sites and opportunities to meet research participants. Their principal incentives were two-fold. Firstly, my research offered their members recreational walks with a sighted guide. This was a rare opportunity for most participants, who rarely visited the countryside or walked recreationally. Significantly, these walks also provided opportunities for exercise and relaxation for both the participant and their guide dog. Each week guide dogs require “free runs”. This is when they can walk, run and play with no guiding role or responsibility – which can sometimes be tricky for the guardian to organise. I am now developing a report detailing guidelines for creating opportunities of recreational walking and methods of facilitation, with the intention that opportunities for recreational walking for people who have impaired vision and their guide dogs will be developed in East Sussex.
Website and participation
Not everyone who wanted to be part of the research was able to join me on walks. This was for a number of reasons, including their location, health and confidence. To provide opportunities of equal accessibility of research participation I created a website where people could share their experiences of walking in the countryside and read other peoples’. This enabled national, as well as local engagement. The website was designed as fully accessible for people who have impaired vision. Please access this website here.
To learn more about my research and research impact, check for blog updates here.