Simon Hayhoe has a PhD and MEd by research in the study of blindness and the arts — his PhD was co-supervised by John Hull, author of Touching the Rock. He has previously been a qualified mainstream school teacher for over twelve years, and during his career he has taught design, information technology and computing. In addition Simon has key-worked students with special educational needs, devised inclusive courses for school students — including the 4 Senses project in 2005 - organised conferences and seminars, and lectured and published essays and books on this topic. He has also researched educational attainment with the universities of London and Toronto and has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York.
Simon is currently a member of the Educational Technology Faculty, Sharjah Women's College, UAE. He is also involved with social and philosophical research and consultation in the field of arts and blindness at Art Beyond Sight (New York) and writes on this subject as an academic visitor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London University- previouslyhe was also a visiting school teacher at Pembroke & Caius colleges, Cambridge University.
Oliver Sacks Please click here for Professor Sacks’ biography
John Kennedy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, into a family of 5 children, in 1942. "I was Robert and Isabel Kennedy's 4th. Daddy was in the Royal Air Force as a flight sergeant. Mummy had been a nurse. Times were hard, and my mother took in in lodgers, and , eventually, old people, turning our house with its 7 bedrooms and 2 boxrooms into a kind of nursing house. My mother was very keen on education, and my father was a steady churchgoer and choir-member, in the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian church, which is affiliated with Unitarians. The catechism began "who are you?" And it answered "I am a child of God, as all other human beings are." The last phrase is more and more the part I would ask us all to rely on. I attended Rosetta Primary School, some 20 minutes away by bus, since it was in a better area of town. Then I went to the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (Inst), quite young, since I started taking the 11 plus exam at age 9. Rosetta had skipped me a grade. Mr Johnson in 5th class was the first to recognize my stories. He said one was publishable! He praised my artwork (a picture of a stream), though a few days later the art teacher held it up to ridicule. Mr Dunlop, in 4th class, smacked me for getting 15 out of 20 in sums, though he had said 15 was a pass, saying I should do better. I was afraid to go to school when I was in Mr. Dunlop's because I did not know when I would be smacked. But we children did not complain. Benign neglect, and the school is right, my parents thought. At Inst I discovered my acting talent, at an all-boys school. I still do not know how to talk to girls, but I acted as Laertes, MacDuff, as Mr Wu a Chinese teacher, and a Spanish dancing girl complete with castanets. (In Cubs I had a leading part in a play about the Union Jack. At Sunday School I was in many Xmas functions, and, later, in the choir. I sang in the Hallelujah chorus, the Amen, and in Holst's "I vow to thee my country.") I remember writing that if I were to become a teacher my guiding principle would be to be fair, in an essay for Mr. Snowden, the English teacher. The Ulster Museum was near and we street urchins would go up there on occasion on our own, to see the mummy, a Rodin "Thinker," and once as a teenager I went on my own to see a modern art exhibition and to my pleasure I ran into several Inst boys in a group. We discussed the works at length. Later a few of us joined the Junior Drama League on Sat nights, and did play readings for each other. My best friend Brian Scott joined too. I met Stephen Rea, Roma Tomelty, Bud Tomelty and other great talents there. My brother Michael joined.
I read incessantly. I numbered and arranged my books. I wrote a lot. I acted a lot. I acted in summer stock at Portrush, a holiday resort. I was in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, courtesy of Michael Emmerson and his "Queen's Players" mostly us from Queen's University, where I studied Psychology at the most beautiful psychology dept in the world, in the private road Lennoxvale. I fenced for the university, and played squash, and occasionally ran. As a teen, I read Robert H. Thouless "Straight and crooked thinking." It has put sinew into my critical reasoning. I wanted to know as much as possible, to critique it, and to contribute something valuable. I blossomed at Queen's, and it welcomed me back for a Master's and Dr. Peter McEwan there launched me into Cornell, where I met the Gibson's and James and Eleanor were remarkable kind supervisors. I followed my nose on ideas that interested me, and I learned a very great deal from the Gibson's. James J. Gibson's theory of perception was my basis for thinking clearly about what others were saying was the basis of perception. Flourishing at Cornell, and backed by the Gibsons, I got a job at Harvard. James said of me that I would rewrite a page in the history of psychology. Once I'd done that to figure-ground, pieces started to fall into place. I realized outline drawings would be recognizable in touch, if everthing I'd theorized was correct. The finding of supportive evidence on this got me a job at Toronto. Again and again, new pieces fell into place in the Toronto work. Realizing what the problem was, being ready for a solution, being constantly surprised by the solution once it dawned on me -- that is the name of the game. Often it has been colleagues like Andy Kukla and Abe Ross, students like Igor Juricevic, and Yvonne Eriksson, and informants like Joan Eroncel and Elke Zollitsch and Paola di Guilio and Amedeo D'Anguilli who lead me to meet Gaia, Esref and Eriko, who opened new scenarios of possibility to me. They often came along at just the right time. Colleagues in the US like Pat Cabe and Morty Heller offered constant connections in experimental tactile psychology. I have had great critics too, who have been skeptical in all the right places. I learned from many people. I'm duly grateful."
Joanna Brendon Please click here for Ms Brendon’s biography
Tasha Chemel is currently a social work student at Boston College. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in psychology, and her work has appeared in several college publications. Her interests include the psychology of blindness, narrative therapy, and creativity studies.
Roz Driscoll is a sculptor, painter and papermaker, Driscoll has for the last sixteen years focused on making sculptures that explore the sense of touch, many of which may be touched as well as seen. She is developing the theory and practice of aesthetic touch through making and exhibiting tactile sculptures, documenting viewer reactions, investigating tactile perception, and conducting workshops and lectures. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad and received awards. She has written a manuscript, Whole Body Seeing: Touch in the Visual Arts to establish a theoretical and practical foundation for the inclusion of touch in art.
Her commitment to investigating haptic perception and advocating for touch is lifelong, growing out of an awareness of the cultural trend toward alienation from the body. Touch is the new perceptual frontier. Driscoll exchanges information about haptics with scientists researching touch around the world, and her artwork resides in several research labs.
Rand Huebsch is a printmaker, book artist, and teacher. His articles on print techniques have appeared in the British quarterly "Printmaking Today", as well as other publications. For many years he has experimented with using the etching technique to make printing plates to emboss on paper and other materials such as clay and thin-gauge metal. Among the collections holding his work are those of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the New York Public Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Fogg Art Museum, and Yale and Princeton Universities.
Ann Cunningham has been carving stone since she was fifteen years old, which led her to wonder, years later, if the sculptures she was making could be interpreted by touch as well as sight. She decided to devote her life to tactile art, eventually being commissioned to prepare low-relief stories and exhibits at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, the Denver Art Museum in Denver, CO, the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood, CO, the Morton-James Public Library in Nebraska City, NE, and the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore, MD. Recently the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Museum, Tactile Art Gallery, commissioned Ann to create a sculpture entitled "In Touch with the Seasons." Ann teaches art classes to develop self expression through the sense of touch at the Colorado Center for the Blind. The driving force behind Ann's work is the desire to learn and teach how we share ideas through beautiful tactile works of art.
Ann Cunningham is a Board member of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association--Independent Publishers Working Together. CIPA's membership consists of over 450 publishing companies and associated trade professions serving Colorado. Its website is http://www.cipabooks.com/. Ann can be reached at 303-238-4760 or emailed at Ann@SensationalBooks.com.
Tim O’Brien Please click here for Mr O’Brien’s biography