Photojournalism brings so much important understanding of our world. It is ironic then, that those who need this understanding most are least able to access it. As a museum that regularly exhibits powerful photography exhibitions, Museum Hilversum in the Netherlands was determined to change the experience of their visually impaired visitors.
Hilversum is the home of the press, TV and radio broadcasting in the Netherlands, so the museum is a natural fit for exhibitions around media art and design. Housed in the former Hilversum Town Hall, remodelled to suit the needs of a respected museum, every year the museum hosts the prestigious Zilveren Camera (Silver Camera) prize for photojournalism and is the first location in its subsequent tour of the Netherlands. Most recently, Hilversum Museum has opened ‘The Research Lab’, a place of experimentation that focuses on new ways in which the museum can contribute to a more inclusive society.
Voel het nieuws (Feel the News) is the first project to emerge from The Research Lab and offers the visually impaired a means to experience the powerful photojournalism of Zilveren Camera. On hand to support in creating a holistic experience of the depicted scenes were visual designer and photographer Daphne Wageman and Clemens Weijkamp of Canon Production Printing. Daphne, while now sighted, has a rare understanding into the world without sight, as she has experienced blindness. Investigatory treatment for damage to her macula lutea (a point near the retina of the eye) meant that it was necessary for her optic nerve to be shut down and she temporarily lost her sight. Since then, she has used her creative work to explore life without sight.