Incorporating Enriched Descriptive Guides in Qatar Museums

Overview

The present exploratory study aims to test access to the visual arts through the use of Enriched Descriptive Guides that provide a multi-sensory experience to both sighted and vision impaired visitors. For this purpose, this study uses two paintings made by the Qatari artist Jassim Al Zaini: The Bicycle Passenger (1960) and For Women Only (1984), in one of Qatar’s iconic museums, The Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf). This study, which a mixed methods approach investigates how a multi-sensory experience can contribute to the visitors’ understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts, through two linguistic varieties: Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Urban Qatari Dialect (UQD). The results of the testing of the EDGs, for the two paintings, showed that both groups of participants understood both linguistic varieties; however, they preferred the MSA version of the EDGs. Additionally, the results revealed that most of the participants prefer to experience visual arts through various senses, namely, hearing and sight (for sighted users) or hearing and touch (for blind users).

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