Pipe cleaners and feathers make mapping fun.
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Melanie Huber

Dots on the chest

All visitors to the WELTSTUDIO are invited to participate. For blind and visually impaired people, the WELTSTUDIO’s mediation team has developed inclusive elements.

by Melanie Huber

Ugne Metzner puts the pencil aside. She reaches for the sheet of paper in front of her and runs her fingertips over the protruding lines. They represent the outlines of a human body in a self-drawn sea of yellow, green, blue and pink rectangles. Ugne Metzner turns her head and asks Dennis Müller, a member of the WELTSTUDIO team: “Is my human being colourful enough?”

Ugne Metzner has been blind since she was 20 years old. For the mediation team of the WELTSTUDIO, she and two other visually impaired women are now testing the tactile materials and tactile objects.

This is because the participatory stations in the WELTSTUDIO, consisting of three room-sized cartographers, have inclusive elements. “It is important to us to give everyone equal access,” says Constanze Schröder, curator of the WELTSTUDIO.
In the workshop area of the WELTSTUDIO, the posters for the personal cartographer are designed.
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Melanie Huber

Together with inkl. design, the agency for inclusive design in Berlin, Constanze Schröder and her team developed numerous materials. For example, in addition to the human-sized posters, A3 posters with swell paper were created for the person cartographer. Threshold paper is a special paper on which tactile graphics can be displayed.

“During the development of the design, we worked with focus groups, including people who are blind or visually impaired,” says Constanze Schröder as she lifts the poster with the human outline into the air.
Besides two dots for the eyes, there are also dots in the chest and belly area. They serve for orientation.
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Melanie Huber
“For example, the focus group has asked to place a dot in the chest and stomach area”. The top dot is near the heart: when feeling the outlines, the small, tactile graphic is a good orientation.

Silja Korn, a member of the focus group, likes that: “It’s easy to stay within the boundaries and create the figure.”

But it is not only crayons that Silja Korn, Ugne Metzner and Mandy Hamann have at their disposal. Pipe cleaners, feathers, balls or high-contrast stencils are also part of the equipment in the inclusive material boxes. These can be requested from the WELTSTUDIO facilitators.

“The floor guidance system in the WELTSTUDIO leads directly to the three information booklets in Braille, which are located at the cartographers,” explains Constanze Schröder. “There, the three cartographers are introduced and the contact persons are named. In addition, each cartographer – the thread cartographer, the rolling cartographer and the person cartographer – has additional information booklets in Braille that describe the stations in detail.

Ugne Metzner and her guide dog Kalle in the WELTSTUDIO.
© Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Melanie Huber

Meetings on the same level

Ugne Metzner is finished with her poster. Guide dog Kalle watches his owner hang up the poster. Ugne Metzner is satisfied with her work – and also with what WELTSTUDIO has to offer: “I have been testing tactile objects and materials for the Stadtmuseum Berlin for a few years now. The team is responsive to others and creates encounters on the same level. That is not a matter of course.”

Ugne Metzner would like to see less shyness from people who don’t have disabilities. Perhaps the WELTSTUDIO is just the place to understand that there is no need for shyness.

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