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Multi-sensorial Astronomy Experience For The Blind And Visually Impaired Chilean Community

Presentation #226.03 in the session “Education, Outreach, and Public Engagement”.

Published onJun 18, 2021
Multi-sensorial Astronomy Experience For The Blind And Visually Impaired Chilean Community

Chile currently hosts more than 50% of the world’s astronomical infrastructure and is internationally recognised for its pristine skies and perfect weather condition for it. Motivated by this fact the Chilean astronomical outreach community over the past 10 years has brought the complex language of astrophysics closer to the public. However, Chilean people affected by blindness and visual impairments (BVI) are still largely marginalised from the inherent visual beauty of the cosmos and from the access to learn more about astronomy that we heard in the daily news. Thus, to expand the frontiers of astronomy outreach and, more importantly, bring visibility of the BVI community into society we create a project named Dedoscopio. We have developed outreach activities for people with visual disabilities, using tactile materials as a medium to represent astronomical concepts and phenomena. The materials are handmade by the team using accessible, everyday and low-cost materials. While developing our work, we realized that our material is not exclusive for BVI people but it also works for all public which makes it truly inclusive. We also found after our talks that BVI community were excited to be part of the science, solving all their questions and be able to build new concerns about astronomy. Dedoscopio has been a successful project not only as an inclusive astronomy outreach project but also for the visibility and as well as the collaborative network with different organizations that it has carried out in favor of the BVI community in front of the society. Thus, we would like to share our experiences and hope for more science professionals to join us in making science more accessible for everyone.

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