About the project

The Touch Post-COVID-19 project is a public-facing investigation into the impact of touch deprivation on deafblind communities. Building on an existing interdisciplinary research project (Film and Television, and Quantum Physics) at the University of Glasgow, it examines sense perception through the means of audiovisual impairment and investigates how technologies of perception may augment the sensory experience of deafblind people.

COVID-19 has acutely heightened our awareness of and restrained us from using the sense of touch. Touching is now threatening lives, but it still remains a vital connection to the world and others. For deafblind communities, who rely on haptic experiences to navigate the world, the fear of touch and intimacy in a post-COVID society is likely to impose new challenges and increase social isolation. Working with Deafblind Scotland, and Deafblind UK, and drawing on sensory and media studies, our project creates audiovisual documentation of the social experiences of deafblind people during the pandemic. The documentation is intended to shine a light on the new world we collectively find ourselves in. At the same time, we develop strategies and new haptic-audiovisual tools and technologies that help facilitate safe and reliable ways of navigating space for individuals with audiovisual impairment.

Our research outcomes inform policymakers, academics, and public audiences through reports and a detailed policy brief. In addition, our project includes online exhibitions and public events.