UCAN receives funding from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales

We are delighted to announce that UCAN Productions has secured funding through the first round of the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales.

The Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales is a partnership between the Arts Council of Wales, Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Nesta to support arts projects across Wales that work with digital technologies to expand audience reach and engagement and/or explore new business models for the arts sector within Wales.

UCAN Productions is a membership organisation and our members have identified the need for an innovative solution that will assist people with sight loss to independently visit arts venues with confidence.  We have been awarded funding to work in collaboration with our technology partner Calvium and co-create an accessible indoor navigation app called UCAN Go.  This user-led project will explore the process of verbally mapping a building to support reduced or non-visual navigation around arts venues and to test and pilot this proposition, we will be working in partnership with the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff and the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven.

At UCAN we champion the capabilities of blind and partially sighted young people and the idea that visually impaired young people are the best individuals to lead on activities that are for visually impaired young people.  Our activities are directed by UCAN’s Young People’s Steering Committee and UCAN Go will be lead by two members from this committee: Mared Jarman and Megan John.  Both Megan and Mared are registered blind and this is what they have to say on the project:

Mared: ‘This innovative idea could be revolutionary in developing confidence in the Visually Impaired and anyone who needs a little encouragement when visiting arts venues.  I know first hand how technology can enhance quality of life and I’m honoured to be part of the process that will without a doubt be a game changer.  I’m not only excited about the outcome of this project but also how UCAN and Calvium will develop and grow as one.  The possibilities are endless.’

Megan: ‘The importance of this project is based around giving the visually impaired and blind, the confidence and independence, to visit arts venues.  To be a part of a project where I can contribute and help develop a technology, which could allow for me, and so many others, to have this independence is extremely exciting.  There are so many issues about arts venues that make them inaccessible for the Vi and Blind.  I’m looking forward to seeing what solutions Calvium can produce to solve these issues for us in the future.’

We are really pleased to be working with Calvium as our technology partner on UCAN Go.  Their collaborative philosophy and creative approach to problem solving and prototyping ideas is perfectly suited to UCAN and our members.  Jo from Calvium says: “Calvium are excited and delighted to collaborate with UCAN on this project. The insights, skills and approach that is integral to UCAN will be the key for us being able to work together to co-create the UCAN GO app. We will be adopting a hands-on, user led approach so that we can quickly prototype and test ideas to see if we can develop a lexicon and schema for creating a ‘verbal map’ of a building.”

To find out about the other three projects that will receive funding from the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts in Wales please go to: http://www.artscouncilofwales.org.uk/62094?diablo.lang=eng