‘Tactile Histories’ – Art exhibition by deafblind people at the V&A Museum of Childhood

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Tactile Histories, a textiles arts exhibition telling the unique personal stories of people with sight and hearing impairments from Tower Hamlets and Hackney was on at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

For 12 weeks local people with sensory impairments over the age of 60 worked together at the museum to design a patchwork quilt of memories. The quilters shared their stories and used fabrics, embellishments, print media, paints, and personal objects to mark the twists and turns of their lives.

The project was part of Sense’s Arts & Wellbeing programme, which supports deafblind people at all stages of their involvement in the arts and cultural sector. The exhibition took place on January 23, 2015

Visitors were able to touch the memory quilt that served as a tactile history of each participant’s past, while listening to recordings of their stories.

Kara Jarrold from Sense, who oversaw the project, said: “Quilts and the act of quilt-making have occupied an important social space in many communities. The making of quilts often spans generations and friendships and every time a quilt is passed on, so too are memories, thoughts or feelings of each recipient.

Quiltmaking provides an accessible and significant way of bringing local people together to share their stories with their community.

“We hope that visitors were as inspired by Tactile Histories as we were by the museum’s wonderful toy and clothes collection.”


(from a press release)