“Swept to the sidelines and forgotten“: Cultural Exclusion, Blind Persons’ Participation, and International Film Festivals

Isabel Pedersen, Kristen Aspevig


International film festivals are privileged sites for cultural exchange and creative incubation to which blind persons are effectively excluded, a barrier that needs addressing. By recognizing barriers to film festivals, we instigate a solution to making film culture more accessible to blind persons. Using the film Blindsight as an exemplar along with a study conducted on film festivals, this paper argues a triadic thesis: that the issues of blind audience members at film festivals, blind subjects in films, and blind filmmakers must be viewed together in order to attend to cultural inclusion. We situate the paper in the domain of autobiography theory and specifically draw upon G. Thomas Couser’s work Signifying Bodies for a model. Couser attends to self-representation thereby enabling us to focalize the research on agency at various subject positions in the acts of participating in film culture.


Accessibility; blind persons; film festivals; audio description; low-visioned persons

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v3i3.172


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The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies is Published by the Canadian Disability Studies Association-Association Canadienne des Études sur l'Incapacité, and is hosted and supported by the University of Waterloo.

ISSN 1929-9192 Canadian Journal of Disability Studies (Online)