V&A Dundee has today, 26 July 2021 announced new Sensory Friendly Days as the latest step in the museum’s long-term commitment to ensure greater access to design.
Taking place on Tuesday 10 August and Tuesday 28 December, dedicated Sensory Friendly Days will provide a safe, relaxing environment for people with sensory needs, including autism spectrum conditions, sensory processing differences, or profound and multiple learning disabilities.
The special free events will welcome all visitors with additional support requirements to enjoy the museum in an adapted, restful environment. They are provided as part of the museum’s Communities programme, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Tickets can be booked at https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee/event/311/sensory-friendly-day
The museum will be closed to the general public, allowing visitors to benefit from a less crowded experience, while gaining free access to the museum’s major exhibition Night Fever: Designing Club Culture. Adapted opening times and flexible visiting options will also enable visitors to enjoy the Sensory Friendly Days at a time that suits them.
Small sensory components will be changed for museum visitors in order to create a soothing experience. Sound and light levels can be reduced to avoid unnecessary stress and the museum’s Quiet Room will be available throughout each day.
Visitors can also make use of materials tailored to a range of needs, from ear defenders to new sensory backpacks, co-developed by V&A Dundee and PAMIS. Through discussion with users and expert advice from PAMIS, the backpacks were carefully created to enable people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to better connect with and enjoy the exhibition. Objects inside the backpacks refer to relate to the objects and themes within Night Fever, supplemented by a written description detailing each object’s connection to the exhibition.
Peter Nurick, Communities Producer at V&A Dundee, said: “We have seen first-hand how much joy our sensory-friendly sessions bring to people’s lives since V&A Dundee opened in 2018, but this is the first time we will run these sessions for a full day while the museum is closed.
“Being able to use the museum in different ways means we can adapt the exhibitions to make them even more comfortable and enjoyable for people who may otherwise have struggled to visit us.
“We are delighted to welcome more people to our museum for the upcoming Sensory Friendly Days, and are grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting us to remove barriers that impede people with sensory needs from visiting the museum.”
Rachel Persheyeva, PAMIS Volunteer said: “It is vital that we understand the distinctive needs of people who are often excluded from society. By focusing on these needs, and working to remove barriers in the lives of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, we can help them to achieve equal access to society.
“The sensory friendly backpacks have been carefully designed, incorporating our key learnings on vision, hearing, and other senses. This makes them an effective tool in helping people with their learning and communication needs.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said; “It’s wonderful to know that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting these Sensory Friendly Days, helping people who may otherwise be impeded in their access to the museum to enjoy it in a way that is ideal for them.
“Ensuring as many people as possible are able to benefit from the rich opportunities culture has to offer has never been more important.”
PAMIS is Scotland’s only organisation dedicated entirely to improving the lives of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their families. Its aim is to ensure that people with profound and multiple learning disabilities are valued as contributors to the community, by offering practical help, advice, training and information.
Since opening in 2018, V&A Dundee has rapidly established a world-class reputation for inspiring design innovation through its exhibitions. The museum’s Communities programme aims to provide equal access to all audiences, working with people from a range of different backgrounds and needs.
V&A at Dundee will be an international centre of design for Scotland. It will celebrate Scotland's historic importance in design and host major exhibitions of outstanding design, helping people understand their own and others' cultural heritage.