Outline of Research Trip to Japan

May-June 1994

  1. To look at the development and use of touch-art in Japan both in terms of making and appreciation.
  2. To look at the different techniques and materials used in touch art in Japan.
  3. To examine the possibilities for using these techniques in my ceramic work.
  4. To look at how touch-art is commissioned, exhibited and promoted in Japan.
  5. To examine the way in which similar opportunities could be enhanced and further extended in an Irish situation.
  6. To consider the social context within which touch-art exists in Japan.
  7. To experience by touch, techniques in working and ways of appreciation that so far I have only been able to observe in photographs and read about.
  1. To observe art teaching at Chiba Prefectural School for the Blind and Kyoto School for the Blind.
  2. To complete a short project in clay with children from Chiba Prefectural School for the Blind.
  3. To visit the Tom Gallery of touch-me Art in Tokyo.
  4. To visit Miyazaki to interview Mr. Yasunori Matsumoto about his research into the education and opportunities for visually impaired and blind people in Japan.
  5. To visit Kanazawa University to interview Mr. Toshiharu Arai who is involved in product design for people with disabilities.
Some Highlights of the Trip

Visit to Tom Gallery of Touch-me Art in Tokyo and meeting with the gallery's owner and Director Mrs Murayama.

Participation in touch art workshop with visually impaired and fully sighted people at Azabu Art Museum, under the direction of Yohei Nishimura.

Participation in touch art workshop with Social Science students from Japan Women's College in Tokyo. In this workshop which was led by Yohei Nishimura we used sound as our starting point to create by touch.

Three day visit to Chiba Prefectural School. Observing art classes in progress led by Yohei Nishimura and participating in other school activities the most memorable of which was the rice planting ceremony.

Two-day visit to Kyoto Prefectural School for the Blind where I observed art classes in the junior school led by Matauki Miyazaki. I also demonstrated how I work with touch in my own murals.

Three-day visit to Miyazaki to meet Yasunori Matsumoto a Social science teacher at Miyazaki School for the Blind. Mr Matsumoto had previously undertaken Japanese government sponsored research on visual impairment in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In addition to visiting Miyazaki School for the Blind, I also visited a high school for students with learning disabilities based at Miyazaki University and a junior and high school in Nobeoka City where student's disabilities are integrated into mainstream classes.

Two days visit to Kanazawa to meet Toshiharu Arai a designer of products for people with disabilities and ceramic artist Kenji Kuze.

Interview in Nagoya with Julia Cassim for the Japan Times newspaper. Visit to Nagoya City Art Museum.

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