Sensing Helen teaser trailer

Life was difficult for many women in Victorian times – but what was it like if you were blind ? Sensing Helen, a documentary by Dorset-based director Tam Gilbert, explores the lives of two Dorset women born in the mid…

Sensing Helen teaser trailer

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Life was difficult for many women in Victorian times – but what was it like if you were blind ?
Sensing Helen, a documentary by Dorset-based director Tam Gilbert, explores the lives of two Dorset women born in the mid 1800s and compares them with the experiences of visually impaired women today – including Tam herself.
Elizabeth Groves from Weymouth and Sophia Ridout from Sturminster both went to the Bristol School of Industry for the Blind as children but their later lives were quite different – one learning a trade and living into old age, the other dying young. “I feel I’ve really got to know them through the course of our research – both from poor female-led backgrounds with a strong work ethic,” said Tam.
Attitudes have changed for the better and people are starting to understand the access requirements of people with visual impairment. But in other ways you wonder what has changed. Sophia’s application form for the Bristol School dated 1852, is uncannily similar to the forms people fill in today for their Personal Independence Payments.”
Sensing Helen was inspired by the life of Helen Keller, the first deafblind woman to graduate, and Tam’s own life journey as a visually impaired artist.
The film, designed to by fully accessible with audio description and subtitles, is presented by Tam Gilbert and Michele O’Brien, produced by Jenny Gordon and filmed and edited by Alastair Nisbet. The project was devised by Tam Gilbert, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and supported by the Arts Development Company. For more information, visit persuasionarts.co.uk/sensing–helen.

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