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Beyond seeing - innover le design de mode sans les yeux (third meeting)

I left from Zaventem Airport with the professor from the school in Brussels. At our arrival, we went to their hotel (I slept with the students), where we met again the professor and the partially sighted girl from Paris. For me, it was more like seeing them for the first time than meeting them again, as I had hardly mixed with people from the other schools when we were in Paris. I got along very well with that partially sighted girl, as we think alike in many respects.

After that, we went to the school, where we were welcomed by Katharina Scriba (the person in charge of this project) and by the school owners. A very nice buffet supper was waiting for us at our arrival, so we had lunch at the school before starting.

We were gathered in a big hall and we were devided into five groups (1 student from every school + 1 partially sighted + 1 Architecture student: they joined us in Berlin to manage all that had to do with stage design). The Berlin students guided their groups for a tour of the school. Afterwards, every student of the group suggested an activity that had already been organized in his own school. The day ended with another buffet, with all the food that we participants had brought with us (as for me, I brought a typical meat meal from Li├Ęge). During the dinner, some people tried to taste something that was apparently Swedish, but no one managed to chew on that terribly salty stuff.

The day after, we watched some videos from each school, which showed some of the work that had been already done. Afterwards, we had lunch in a small cozy restaurant close to the school. After that we went to a museum and we met the owner, who turned out to be partially sighted himself. Unfortunately, I didn't hear much of what he said, as I felt a bit ill. I was told that he'd lost his sight at a young age due to an accident. However, he was operated about ten years ago and regained some of it. Afterwards, we visited the museum, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have due to the state I was in.

On Wednesday, we tried to find the answer to three questions:

  • Can the world exist without images?
  • Are we different when we lose our sight?
  • Can a visually impaired person be creative?

Needless to say, answers were different for everybody. After that, we had to create and build a project using cartboard. Our group decided to build a route full of traps (handrails leading to dead ends, sounds leading to corners...), so as to show that blind-related aids conceived by sighted people are not always good, because they have no idea what it means to be partially sighted or blind.

On Thursday we finished to build our project and then we got to test the ones built by the other groups. We then had a last meal together. I went back to Belgium with the same people I had come with.

To summarize, it was a very interesting meeting for me. However, I found it a pity that they completely abandoned the subject of fashion, to focus only on the daily experience of being blind.