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ISSUE 29 - March 2021





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Dedoscopio Project: Making Astronomy Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) Communities Across Chile (page 27)
Paredes-Sabando, P.; Fuentes- Muñoz, C.

Summary

Chile currently hosts more than 50 percent of the world’s astronomical infrastructure and is internationally recognised for its pristine skies. Motivated by this access to the field, the Chilean astronomical outreach community over the past 10 years has brought the complex language of astrophysics closer to the public. However, Chilean people affected by blindness and visual impairments (BVI) are still largely marginalised from the inherent visual beauty of the cosmos. Science outreach channels, in general, do not account for the needs of people with disabilities. Expanding the frontiers of astronomy outreach and, more importantly, bringing visibility of the BVI community into society at large, resulted in the creation of Dedoscopio. We, the Dedoscopio team, have developed outreach activities for people with visual disabilities, using tactile materials as a medium to represent astronomical concepts and phenomena. The materials are handmade by the team using accessible, everyday and low-cost materials. While developing our work, we found a void in equal access to both scientific and cultural activities. In this article, we explain the materials Dedoscopio has produced and the different activities we have implemented to increase the number of scientific-cultural activities for people who are BVI within Chile.