Exploring the Experience of Higher Education for Students with Visual Impairments

Hybrid Event
Wednesday 29 November 2023 (15:00-16:00)

Staff and students are invited to join speakers from across the University in exploring the experience of students with vision impairment in Higher Education. This session will be of interest to those who research the experience of, teach, support or would like to be allies to, students or potential students with vision impairments.

The three short talks will last around 10-15 minutes each and there will be a chance for questions and discussion too. We encourage attendees to join in person where possible but a virtual link is available. Our three speakers are detailed below.

Experiences of students with vision impairment in Higher Education

Dr Rachel Hewett – Associate Professor, School of Education

In this presentation Dr Rachel Hewett will outline some key findings from the Longitudinal Transitions Study which tracked the post-school transition experience of over 80 young people with vision impairment; over half of which went into higher education. The presentation will explore the experiences and outcomes of the participants and will draw out different examples of enablers and barriers which can impact upon these, as well as providing recommendations for improving the experiences of students with vision impairment in higher education. 

Studying Mathematics in Higher Education as a Visually Impaired Student

Jimmy Bryden – Postgraduate student at University of Manchester and Alumni, School of Mathematics, University of Birmingham

Jimmy Bryden will discuss his lived experience of being a visually impaired student studying for a mathematics degree. He will talk about the resources he found useful to support his studies and will discuss the project he has undertaken to create a website documenting tools and resources he and other visually impaired students have found useful in improving access to mathematics in higher education. It is hoped that this will allow new students to explore possible methods to access their studies and will be applicable to students encountering mathematics in a wide variety of disciplines.

The social and emotional needs of students with vision impairment in Higher Education

Dr Ifigeneia Manitsa – Research Fellow, School of Psychology

Dr Ifigeneia Manitsa will discuss the rationale and preliminary findings of a research project that aims to explore the lived experiences of students with vision impairment in Higher Education and develop university guidance for their social and emotional needs based on participatory research and co-production. This project has been funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust and is a collaborative effort among the University of Birmingham, Kingston University London, Abertay University and the University of Edinburgh, in close partnership with the Sensory Support Service in Bristol which operates under a joint arrangement across the local authorities of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset.

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