Example Data

Over the period of 18 months, our participants created audio diaries and participated in interviews that shed a light on their experiences and thoughts during the coronarivus pandemic. Below you can find a selection of excerpts on different topics.

Interviews

In this interview excerpt, our participant Issy talks about her need to develop a mental map of her environment which is based on touch, and its importance for her own independence.

Audio Diaries

Socialising

Roger, Brian and Issy talk about the impact the pandemic has had on their ability to socialise.

Excerpt from Roger’s audio diary
Excerpt from Brian’s audio diary
Excerpt from Issy’s audio diary
Social Distancing

Mairi and Brian discuss their struggle with maintaining social distancing as a person with audio-visual impairments.

Excerpt from Mairi’s diary (translated from BSL)
Excerpt from Brian’s audio diary
Danger and Vulnerability

Issy and Mairi talk about some experiences that left them feeling vulnerable in dangerous situations.

Excerpt from Issy’s audio diary
Excerpt from Mairi’s diary (translated from BSL)
A Helping Hand

Mairi and Roger describe situations that highlighted their need for support from other people.

Excerpt from Mairi’s diary (translated from BSL)
Excerpt from Roger’s audio diary
Weather

Roger and Issy explain the impact cold weather can have on their ability to navigate their environment through their sense of touch.

Excerpt from Roger’s audio diary
Excerpt from Issy’s audio diary
Cleaning

Roger and Mairi describe their routines for keeping the house clean and tidy during a time when outside help is not available.

Excerpt from Roger’s audio diary
Excerpt from Mairi’s diary (translated from BSL)
Nature

Roger talks about the way he is able to follow the changes in the seasons just with his sense of touch.

Excerpt from Roger’s audio diary

Writings

Issy McGrath also shared her experiences in a series of written texts that reflect on her everyday life during the pandemic.

Feeling my way along the pathway to my garden I run my hand along the wooden fence until I feel a wooden step underfoot, followed by a stone step. I move my hand to touch the bushes in front and run my hand along their overgrown branches to get round the corner. Often my hand will hit bramble thorns but I don’t mind because I know from this that I’m going generally in the right direction. As I approach my gate, feeling around for the latch to open it, a thought suddenly occurs to me. There is a pandemic sweeping the World and maybe I will catch the virus from the wooden fence, maybe it’s lurking in the bushes, maybe it’s on the latch that I have just touched on the gate. I shake my hands to free myself from these thoughts. I make my way back to my house and wash my hands thoroughly trying to free my mind of these fearful imaginings.

I’m sure that I am not the only one who felt like this but as someone who is severely deaf and completely blind I felt that overnight I had lost a third sense, my sense of touch. To make matters worse people around me had faded away, voices had become so quiet that there was an eerie mumbling soundlessness all around.

Nothing was making sense any more. Two meter social-distancing felt like the world had turned its back on me. I couldn’t hear anyone any more, my husband having to relay what people were saying to me. Two meters was also too far for me to reach out and touch what was around me yet it is through touch that I get a sense of what a person may be like. Holding someone’s hand provides me with so much information. To be able to feel the fabric of someone’s clothing meant that I could get a real sense of their being. To be so far away from the scent of their perfume or aftershave or to feel the texture of their hair; it was all gone.

I remember standing outside a supermarket one time, waiting for my husband who was inside shopping when someone tapped me rather abruptly on my shoulder and asked where the nearest car park was. Realising that he had touched me and that he was close enough I could hear him was a shock and made me feel so uncomfortable. I asked him if he was social-distancing and he replied he wasn’t because he had been trying to attract my attention for ages, while I was totally unaware that he was there.

Even now with the relaxing of social-distancing the joy I had in reaching out to touch and link arms with other people has become subdued and cautious as I warily navigate once again my world through my hands and my sense of touch.  

Issy McGrath, April 2022.