Another braille presentation: cognitive science of reading

This year’s conference included a strand of braille-related papers. I’ve just uploaded the last of these:

Recent developments in the cognitive science of Braille reading by Ash Mathur, Vania Glyn & Dr. Barry Hughes from the University of Auckland. This presentation looked at recent research into neuroscience and braille reading.

Other papers related to braille were:


Unified English Braille in the Pacific

Transition to Unified English Braille (UEB) in the ICEVI Pacific Region was jointly written by Josie Howse of the Department of Education New South Wales, Frances Gentle from RIDBC Renwick Centre & University of Newcastle, Karen Stobbs, Manager of Assessment and Teaching Services at BLENNZ and Janet Reynolds, Manager Braille and Electronic Text at RNZFB.

Karen and Janet presented the paper at this year’s conference, and gave an overview of the transition to Unified English Braille in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Braille music education in New Zealand

Today’s addition to the blog is a presentation from Wendy Richards, Braille Music Specialist at BLENNZ and Lisette Wesseling, Braille Awareness Consultant at Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.

Their presentation, entitled Bringing Braille Music Back from the Brink, discusses the braille music education revival in New Zealand through innovative teaching, production and promotion tools.

Five more presentations

A few more presentations from this year’s conference are now on the blog site:

Australian Braille Authority meeting 2010

Tactile street sign for Elizabeth Street, Sydney, with raised print and braille.

The Australian Braille Authority (ABA) is a sub-committee of the Round Table, and traditionally their annual meeting is held in conjunction with the Round Table conference.

Next year, ABA will instead hold an extended two-day meeting in Australia, just after Round Table conference. They have confirmed the dates for this meeting as 5th-6th June 2010. The meeting will be held in Sydney, with the venue to be confirmed shortly. More information will be available on the ABA website soon.

While we won’t be hosting ABA in Auckland next year, we’d love to see a strong braille strand in the conference programme. If you have something to contribute, please check out our Call for Papers and consider submitting. Remember that the Call for Papers closes on 27 November. Perhaps you could:

  • run a workshop or discussion on innovative braille or tactile production techniques.
  • talk about local experiences with adoption of Unified English Braille, and opportunities for collaboration between Australia, New Zealand and other countries.
  • share successes with local advocacy to increase the availability of information in braille.
  • describe projects that have raised braille awareness in your community.

Feel free to share any other ideas by commenting on this post.

Planning underway

Braille cake: a cake topped with candy braille dots, which read “Celebrating 200 years of Braille” (in this picture, partially obscured by a candle).

Conference is finished for another year, and planning is well underway for next year. Thanks to everyone who has shared ideas, feedback and offers of support. This will be the first time that Round Table’s annual conference has come to New Zealand, and we’re excited about the opportunity to do things a bit differently.

This year’s conference was a great blend of interesting presentations, practical workshops and opportunities to network with colleagues and friends. The photo above is from the conference dinner. As well as the usual chance to socialise, dinner this year included a braille cake to mark Louis Braille’s bicentenary, and the presentation of Round Table’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Awards, to Bruce Maguire and Mary Schnackenberg. A few more photos from the event are online.

What should we do for conference dinner next year – perhaps a theme, speakers, a hāngi? Leave a comment if you have any ideas.