With all their journeys completed, our travellers return to Arnolfini, download their audio recordings and, over a cup of tea, reflect on their experiences of travelling together; what has stood out for them from taking their journey, what has changed for them as a result and then do a bit of day-dreaming about a future city that makes space for all…
Sound Design: City of Threads logo and theme music plays then
segues into gentle music under the narrator…
Narrator; Welcome to the final episode of City of Threads.
Having completed their journeys, all our journey leads and their travelling companions returned to Arnolfini, downloaded their audio recordings and over a cup of tea, reflected on their experiences of travelling together and what had stood out for them about taking their journey.
Nikki: For me when I say this journey, I’m not just talking about the walk I went on with Rosa today but this entire project. I have enjoyed showing my world to sighted people who haven’t necessarily been around visually impaired people before.
Narrator: Anela and her travelling companion Katy
Katy: I really enjoyed your company. It’s been fun
Anela: it has been fun.
Katy: it’s been fun getting to know you. I don’t know why it’s made such an impression on me but putting my hand on that wall up at St Peters church and noticing that texture and how crumbly and flakey it was, made quite an impact on me.
Anela: yeah and it’s probably something that you just look at., until that point you probably never touched it.
Katy: it’s probably something everybody knows.
Katy: If we all keep touching it. It might just disappear into dust.
Anela: yeah, yeah it could. It felt like it could … laughter.
Narrator: Marc and his travelling companion Letty
Letty: I guess if I’m honest I really didn’t think we would be moving as quickly as we were. Which was nice – umm – and yeah the cane really does part waves! I really enjoyed it actually. I like a really good fast paced walk on a Saturday – laughter – My standout moment was just as we started to head toward the Arnolfini and we went down the steps and we were looking at the river and the waterfall fountains. I think that was my favorite moment. I spend so, so, so many hours in this part of the city, it’s nice to think about it in a different way and kind of tune into the noises.
Marc: I just love the sounds of waterfalls, it’s very relaxing. I’m not normally one for zen moments or anything like that but waterfalls always relax me.
Letty: waterfalls are the zen moment.
Narrator; Clare’s travelling companion Esther, telling Clare what impressed her most about her guide dog, Sparkle.
Esther: the one thing what stuck out into my mind actually was how Sparkle, Clare’s guide dog, um, could find things, just by like, find the nearest bench or, would actually guide her perfectly the right route around a puddle. So, there was a path what we were walking along that was full of puddles and Sparkle seemed to choose the perfect points around each puddle each time.
Clare; that’s because she’s a perfect dog! – Esther laughs.
Narrator: Marcus, Barrington’s travelling companion
Marcus. I think for me one of the things that was quite significant that was out of our conversation, was to realise that all the things you have to consider, in terms of your journey but also all the things that you do from memory
Barrington: yes everything is done from memory.
Marcus: and navigate the city by memory
Barrington: by listening and memory
Marcus: and by listening and all the things that you took notice of that would just slip into my subconscious. So I think from that, cos the thing I was thinking was, would I be able to hold all of this in my head in order to make that journey and I found I can’t answer the question and say ‘yes’.
Narrator: Chris and Linda
Chris: it’s been a good journey. It was nice hearing about visual things I wasn’t aware of.
Linda: and probably in the past if we’ve just gone out socially, I probably don’t describe things that are around us I notice them but I never go and look at them or touch them. So that kind of brought that more appreciation to me of what was around me as well, so, yeah, it’s been a really good experience.
Narrator: and Rosa talking about her journey with Virginia
Rosa: I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the pace that we went, it meant that I was able to look at things around me a lot more and take, and absorb. I also enjoyed finding the nook on Pero’s bridge, it was really nice being able to stand on a bridge and look out to the water without feeling bustled past, you know people pushing past me, and I would say it’s been a privilege getting to know you a bit Virginia, it’s been, yeah, I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you.
Narrator: Everyone was asked to consider what had changed for them or what they might ‘do differently’ as they stepped back into the city and their own lives once more.
Here’s John’s travel companion, Jon
Jon: well, first of all it was a totally new experience trying to look at it from another person’s perspective. Significant stand out moments would be when all of a sudden there’d be a cyclist speeding by that you didn’t notice until you had to make a decision about crossing or whatever. What I noticed or learnt from it was there are so many people going about their ways in their little bubbles and are totally oblivious to the things that’re around them
Narrator: Here’s Aimee, Jeff’s travelling companion
Aimee: now I know a lot more because you’ve taught me how you use your cane to find your ways around places that you know so well, and you’ve taught me the noises of the canes and the placements of your cane and how you use your cane to basically get around, yeah I guess my perception has changed a lot, I know a lot more now
Narrator: And Rosa, who’d been both Nikki and Virginia’s travelling companion
Rosa: I’m going to be as aware as possible now. Yeah, I am going to pass on the knowledge that I’ve learnt from these, in guiding people and make my friends more aware of it as well and hopefully not just my friends but I guess it depends who I can get to listen to me doesn’t it – laughs – I could do these workshops every day for the rest of my life, I think, and I’d learn something new every day, I might get quite tired though and need a sit down – laughs
Narrator: and finally, everyone was asked to let their imaginations run wild and think forward to 2040 and imagine what a future city, a city of inclusive design, a city with all their stories at its heart would be like ….
Alan: add a bit of noise to a cycle, add a bit of noise to electric cars. But put the cars and buses up in the air, like they’re doing in China. Get it all up high and the pedestrians walk on the ground.
Dougie: once we get the self driving cars, oh my god it’s going to transform the whole thing. I think the best thing that can happen is that people are not allowed to drive cars
Andy: leave it up to the algorithms
Dougie: Leave it up to the algorithms.
Rosa: um car free, we just wouldn’t have any cars because public transport infrastructure would be so in place that we don’t need cars anymore
Rosa: and also guess what, transport’s free – laughs
Jeff: you got to imagine levitation boards.
Amy Levitation boards?! What, um, like Back to the Future?
Nikki: I think texture would definitely be something that is being used in different situations, so different textures designate different areas which would help to, keep you, when you’re navigating with your cane, even through the soles of your shoes, you know what zone you’re in, because of the texture of the pavement.
Anela: it’s working on people’s attitudes and their perception of visual impairment and what they are prepared to do to assist.
Emma: Inclusion, that’s my biggest word, that’s my favourite word right now is inclusion. Inclusion is a big powerful word and it just needs to get out there more.
Virginia although I don’t believe in Eutopias I hope that these small conscious incremental changes, people willing to listen to each other, really listen to each other and really sort of root themselves in their communities.
Anela: I’m a real believer in the fact that it’s not the disability that’s the problem, it’s society. The barriers, the social barriers that exist. So, whether it’s ignorance, people not knowing, not having the knowledge, fear and then on top of that the people making the decisions about shared spaces, what should the landscape should look like.
Holly: Blind bowling city pop ups that you could have around the town in the centre and lots of green spaces, more trees, more bird song and tactile water features, bare foot spaces where you could have different things underfoot that you could experience, hand holding circles so you could have, a bit like a flash mob,
Ant: it’s about connection
Holly: it’s about connecting..
Ant: so you get that connection which we don’t get in life that often, especially because it’s all like, it’s my space, but we share the space, we have to
Sound design; theme music fades up gently and segues into
Rachel: if you could just think of one word that sums up what this day’s been like for you…
Marcus: full of possibilities
Barrington: Barrington memorable, memorable ok
Aimee: very passionate, the people
Nikki: memorable day
Dougie: a fascinating microscope
Clare: safer world, bring it on
Esther: interesting and enjoyable
Jeff: Freedom [applause and cheers] Yaaay!
Barrington: the word of today, freedom!
Rachel: thank you so much everybody, thank you [applause and cheering]
Narrator: We hope that as you come to the end of exploring the City of Threads podcast series, that these journeys have gone some way to revealing the city in a new or richer light
and that listening to people’s stories, that you might not otherwise have heard or considered, has brought about a deeper understanding or a recognition of a shared experience
And that as all the threads that connect us become more tangible, they start to reveal a City of Threads tapestry, of interwoven pathways, histories, stories and experiences, rich and vivid and resonant….
Sound design: segue towards ending music
John: one of the things I said, in answer to the last question if you like, I’m now in 2040 I’ve just got out of the vehicle that picked me up from home, a driverless vehicle, dropped me off where I wanted to go, in safety, in time, it was a free ride as well because I’m disabled [laughter] but I just had a quick thought to myself, thank god for those people who worked with PECo theatre back in 2019 [laughter] who helped put things how they should be [laughter and clapping, more laughter]
Sound design: immersive sounds of the group leaving the space, chairs scraping back, the click of canes unfolding, Jeeves harness jingling, threads of conversation. The sound of the cane on the floor, people saying goodbye to each other, the last sound of the cane travelling off into the distance.
Sound design: ends on uplifting theme music