COLOURS IN A BLACK WORLD Capturing the voices of the blind through the development of a radio drama

Zhila Hasanloo

PhD thesis, conferred 2015

Amongst people with disabilities, there are many unspoken stories worthy of an audience. Through the act of developing and performing a radio drama, this study aimed to capture the voices of those with vision impairment and blindness in order to share their unique perspectives to those within and beyond the academy.

Four key themes emerged from this arts-informed inquiry in working with eight Persian participants with blindness as they work-shopped and then performed a radio drama titled Hope Springs Eternal. The first theme examined the negative cultural views and challenges faced by the participants living in a mainstream society that has little understanding of blindness. Demonstrating the constructed reality from the participants’ blindness subjectivity comprised the second theme. Reflections on how the process of creating Hope Springs Eternal helped to designate the participants’ sense of identity, both individually and collectively, is discussed as the third key theme. Finally, how the process of developing and performing Hope Springs Eternal facilitated an authentic community-building experience for the participants is explored.

Although specifically grounded in the lived experiences of those with blindness, this study has the potential to be relevant to other disabilities.

Supervisors: Associate Professor Robyn Gibson and Dr Ilektra Spandagou