About us

The Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) which is based in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, was launched in Autumn 2001 and brought together the teaching and research activities of colleagues at the University in the area of vision impairment and education. 

The Centre is a unique nexus of teaching and research with the following aims:

  • undertaking social and educational research in the area of vision impairment;
  • offering training in the area of vision impairment and education through high quality and relevant professional development programmes;
  • dissemination of our work to ensure it has positive impact. 

Underlying this work is the belief that:

'Through education, through research, and through access to appropriate resources, the barriers to learning and participation that may be experienced by people with vision impairment can be better understood and reduced'. 

VICTAR has a long record of leading innovative and influential UK and international research. Significant and recent funded research projects include: longitudinal work with young people as they leave compulsory education; national surveys and employment; development of early child development and teaching services in countries of the global south; development of reading assessments; and international literature reviews. Find out more about our research.

In terms of studying, approximately 100 specialist teachers of children with vision impairment are trained each year, making VICTAR one of the biggest teacher training provider in the area of vision impairment in the UK. Find out more about our mandatory qualification for teachers of children with vision impairment course and our research degrees. 

Our collective work was presented in both the 2014 and 2021 UK Research Excellence Framework as an impact case study. The case studies were recognised as having internationally outstanding impact in terms of reach and significance which is the highest possible grade.  

Our work relies upon partnership with many stakeholders including: 

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Thomas Pocklington Trust, Sight Savers, VIEW, NatSIP, ESRC, DfID, Nuffield Foundation, National Council for Special Education (NCSE) and National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). 

Contact us

Email: victar-enquiries@bham.ac.uk

Twitter @RachelHewettUoB

Members of VICTAR

The team is part of the Department of the Disability Inclusion and Special Needs group (DISN) which is the largest group of its kind in the UK.

Professor Graeme Douglas
Professor of Disability and Special Needs, VICTAR Co-director
Email: g.g.a.douglas@bham.ac.uk 

Dr Rachel Hewett
Associate Professor
Email: r.g.hewett@bham.ac.uk

Linda James
Programme Tutor
Email: l.a.james@bham.ac.uk

Anna Pilson
Email: a.pilson@bham.ac.uk

Emeritus Professor Mike McLinden
Email: m.t.mcLinden@bham.ac.uk

Dr Paul Lynch
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Email: p.lynch@bham.ac.uk

Colleagues who also work in Sensory Needs

The Centre is part of a broader Sensory Team and works directly with colleagues in the fields of Deafness and Hearing Impairment, and Deafblindness / Multi-sensory Impairment.

Dr Ifigeneia Manitsa 
Research Fellow in Youth Mental Health
Email: i.manitsa@bham.ac.uk

Hester Richardson
Lecturer in Multi-Sensory Impairments
Email: h.richardson.1@bham.ac.uk

Dr Emmanouela Terlektsi
Associate Professor in Deaf Education

Angela Wootten
Teaching Fellow in Education (Deafness and Hearing Impairment)
Email: a.wootten@bham.ac.uk

Mailing Address

Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR)
School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT United Kingdom

How to find us

Visitors to VICTAR can find full details of road / transport directions on the University's Location Information and Maps page.

The Centre is located in the School of Education which is Building No. 19 on the map of the Edgbaston campus. Visitors are asked to report to Reception on arrival.