News

Introducing Git: Tuesday at 7:30 PM

According to Wikipedia, Git is a distributed version control system that tracks changes in any set of computer files, usually used for coordinating work among programmers collaboratively developing source code during software development. Luckily for us it’s far more interesting than it sounds on paper as it’s going to be the topic of the third in our series of computer science masterclasses, sponsored by Bristol Braille Technology.

We’ll start off by cutting through some of the technobabble typically associated with tools such as this and then get hands on with some simple examples using the popular Liblouis project. We’ll build on our Linux skills from the previous class along the way and even do a little bit of programming before ending the session with your questions.

Register for the Masterclass here.

To join by phone, please use these details:

  • Phone number: 0131 460 1196
  • Meeting ID: 824 7645 2710
  • Passcode: 123456

Do you get healthcare letters in the wrong format? Help RNIB improve the access people have to accessible healthcare information.

We want to know about your experiences with accessible healthcare information – good or bad; you’ll help us celebrate the healthcare providers who are doing it well, and help enforce the Accessible Information Standards for all patients in areas where there are still issues.

Your contribution will help us build a base of qualitative evidence, which we can take to health boards and decision makers, to make the case for change. If you’re blind or partially sighted, please share your experiences and share in your own networks!

Introducing Linux with a Braille Display: Tuesday at 7:30PM

Linux: it powers everything from laptops to toasters, braille displays to coasters. You may have heard of the world’s most popular operating system if you follow technology related news, but what is it and how do you get started exactly?

In the second of our computer science themed Masterclasses, we’ll be exploring how to get started using Linux with technologies that you’ll already be familiar with. We’ll start by getting access to a test system to experiment with, then introduce everyone to a few basic commands that will allow us to perform some basic tasks. As always, there will be plenty of time for all of your questions towards the end of the class.

Register for the Masterclass here.

To join by phone, please use these details:

  • Phone number: 0131 460 1196
  • Meeting ID: 824 7645 2710
  • Passcode: 123456

Braille for Beginners On Demand Office Hours

If you are registered for our Braille for Beginners On Demand course, our next Office Hours session will take place on Tuesday at 7:30 PM. Please look out for a reminder email containing your unique joining link. If you have not received it by Tuesday lunchtime, please write to [email protected] for assistance.

If you are new to braille and not registered for Braille for Beginners, please consider signning up at www.braillists.org/beginners.

For people not following Braille for Beginners, your next session will be next Tuesday. Please see next week’s Newsletter for more information.

Accessible format transcription and other support in music education: can you help?

A message from The Amber Trust on behalf of RNIB.

What are we doing?

  • We would like to capture an honest assessment of the education system’s ability to support blind and partially sighted musicians.
  • We are running a survey through Music Education Hubs to get an idea of how well-equipped the current system is.
  • We would also like to present a report on the current state of play for accessible music notation transcription in the UK.
  • The views and experiences of blind and partially sighted musicians, and those who support them directly, will be incredibly important for this report.

Why are we doing this?

  • In the new National Plan for Music Education, the Government has explicitly committed to making music education accessible to all children. However, there is currently no provision in the plan for the transcription to accessible notation.
  • While discussions are open around how funding will be allocated as part of the NPME, we think it is essential that a report is composed, to argue the case that resources should be set aside for transcription and access to notation.
  • We will use insights from this research to make recommendations for how blind and partially sighted musicians can be better supported in the future.
  • The report will also help RNIB to shape the work of its Music Advisory Service.

How can you help?

As you will appreciate, obtaining data on numbers of visually impaired musicians is not easy, and numbers only tell half the story; it is the voice of those affected which is likely to hit through.

It would be great to include some short testimonies from teachers of blind students, QTVIs, and musicians themselves about:

  • Why access to music in accessible formats is important
  • What it means to have this
  • What it means not to have this
  • What barriers there are to obtaining this currently
  • Accessing the services and support of Music Education Hubs

Any assistance you can offer with pulling together these experiences would be a massive help. Please send any responses to Jay Pocknell, Music Support Officer at RNIB: [email protected]

Thank you very much!

How will responses be collected?

RNIB’s Music Advisory Service are very grateful to the Amber Trust for circulating this call for support. RNIB will collect responses anonymously. We will extract and collate comments from responses at the earliest opportunity, at which point your contact details, and any other personally identifiable data, will be removed, and your original email will be deleted.

The comments themselves may be used to help form the report as detailed above, so will be kept for that reason, but these will not include any personally identifiable data.

We will only use your email for the reason detailed here and cannot respond to enquiries made within responses. If you would like to contact RNIB’s Music Advisory Service for support or further discussion around supporting blind and partially sighted people to access music, please email us separately using the address: [email protected]

VICTA Braille Art Competition 2023

Do you have an interest in tactile art? Do you think you can impress the VICTA team with your creative flair? Would you like to enter the Braille Art Competition? Then what are you waiting for?

To mark Louis Braille’s birthday on 4 January, we celebrate #WorldBrailleDay to honour the Braille code which has made written literacy accessible for individuals with a vision impairment. Our Braille Art competition is back for its fourth year to mark the celebrations!

The VICTA Braille Art Competition has 2 categories.

Category 1 – Braille your name!

For under 10s

The challenge for category 1 is to make your name out of Braille in the most creative way possible. You can be as creative as you like, from using Lego bricks to apples, the possibilities are endless.

Once you have completed your creation, ask an adult to photograph it and email your entry to [email protected]. Please send your photo high resolution as a jpeg format.

The prize:

  • 1st place will receive a £50 Amazon voucher
  • 2nd place will receive a £25 Amazon voucher
  • Chosen finalists will be displayed in our online gallery

Terms and conditions:

  • This category is open to children who are registered or are registrable blind or partially sighted aged between 0 and 9 years on 31 January 2023
  • Entrants must be residents of the United Kingdom
  • The entries will be judged by a combination of VICTA staff and VICTA Trustees. The judge’s decision will be final
  • By entering the competition, you agree to you/your child’s name and competition entry being used on the VICTA website and social media. Please note, if you do not want your child’s photo to feature on the website/social media, please do not include them in your photograph of your artwork.
  • The competition closes at 5pm on 31 January 2023

Category 2 – Connections!

For 10 to 29 years

To enter category 2, VICTA would like you to create a piece of Braille art that can be any design you like. For inspiration, you might want to explore last year’s gallery or check out sixdotsart.com

You could also create your piece based on the theme of ‘Connections’. In 2022, we were fortunate to make ‘connections’ with the CNIB on a number of different projects and programmes including a Braille Art mural and this year, there is a special international category for Canadian entries.

As well as the prizes detailed below, your designs may also be put forward to feature on sixdotsart.com!

Once you have completed your creation, either email the instructions to [email protected] or post the finished artwork to:

VICTA, Braille Art Competition, Challenge House, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, MK3 6DP

The prize:

  • 1st place will receive a £50 Amazon voucher
  • 2nd place will receive a £25 Amazon voucher
  • Chosen finalists will be displayed in our online gallery

Terms and conditions:

  • This category is open to children and young adults who are registered or are registrable blind or partially sighted aged between 10 and 29 years on 31 January 2023
  • Entrants must be residents of the United Kingdom
  • The entries will be judged by a combination of VICTA staff and VICTA Trustees. The judge’s decision will be final
  • By entering the competition, you agree to you/your child’s name and competition entry being used on the VICTA website and social media channels. Please note, if you do not want your child’s photo to feature on the website/social media, please do not include them in your photograph of your artwork.
  • The competition closes at 5pm on 31 January 2023

International Entries – CNIB

VICTA are delighted to invite participants from the CNIB to enter our Braille Art Competition. International entrants can enter category 1 or category 2. If you are in Canada and would like to enter, please contact Karen at the CNIB on [email protected]

Find out more & be inspired!

Braille Art Exhibition: The Power of Touch

Braille artist Clarke Reynolds is registered as severely sight-impaired and uses Braille as an artistic medium. He describes his art as “Seeing Without Seeing”. Not only can the art be seen but it can also be touched, making it accessible to visually impaired people.

Mr. Reynolds is exhibiting at the Quantus Gallery in London from 11th to 28th January. The weekday opening times are 10am to 6pm but we have no information on the weekend opening times. There is free entry and no need to book ahead.

The Quantus Gallery is located at 11 – 29 Fashion Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6PX as part of the Rafael Viroly Architects premises.

Mr. Reynolds’ seeingwithoutseeing.com website provides information about future exhibitions and images of past projects, as well as information about his artistic journey from dream to realisation.