Crumlish, Sean (2018) What can an Artistic Sensibility Bring to the Design & Production of Braille, & What Role Might UV Flatbed Printing Play in This? Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Within the confined of this thesis I set out to address two questions. Firstly, I ask whether there is a role for UV flatbed printed Braille, as a viable, alternate technique that might complement orthodox methods of production? In addition I ask if there is a role for art and aesthetics in the context of Braille production?

With regards to the first question I feel confident that UV flatbed printed Braille does in fact have a role in modern Braille production, one centred on bespoke runs and highly custom work. By positioning it as a high quality, luxury method of production, printing firms that already own these machines would be able to offer an additional service with little to no extra initial cost. In addition the firms that own a UV flatbed would already be dealing with this kind of custom print work, positioning them perfectly to take advantage of the additional work that this Braille production method might offer.

Attached is an additional document that focuses on the practical aspect of my work, one which explains the production method and showcases the range of Braille that has been created as part of my research. One sample in particular my “Linda Lewis” sheet metal sign, has shown remarkable resilience. It has been installed in the University of Huddersfield’s Print Bureau for over a year now, yet it shows no sign of wear and attempts to scrape or chip the dots with a scalpel have been repeatedly unsuccessful.

As for the less straightforward question of “the role for art and aesthetics in the context of Braille production”; I begin by applying the philosophy of aesthetics, haptics, translation, critical realism and finally Différance. After this I look at the role of Braille in a wider context, initially exploring its place as a public disability aid, but later moving on to examine it as a private aid and how Braille as a medium might be integrated into lives of the sighted.

I go on to explore disability stigma and disability fashion, in an attempt to understand the ways in which Braille might interact with the built environment and the tensions which can arise when poor, or indeed merely functional Braille, especially when is may be the exclusive image of the disability aid we are presented with. This in turn allows for an examination of artistic intervention, how it might enhance, help or otherwise increase the profile Braille, in order that Braille and the unique experiences it offers, might play a larger role in both the sighted and non sighted world.

Crumlish THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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