Institute of Education


Designing for non-visual geography

12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, 27 February 2019

Kid playing with a world puzzle

Geography didactics has long advocated for the use of everyday experiences in geography teaching. However, the perspectives opened by the sensory turn in geography scholarship are yet to be explored by didactics and teachers.

Event Information

Open to





Michelle Cannon


UCL Knowledge Lab
23-29 Emerald St
United Kingdom

During an ethnographic study on the schooling experiences of visually impaired children in France,  Emeline Brulé investigated how geography is taught non-visually and the design opportunities in this domain.

During this seminar, she will first discuss the tensions around non-visual — or differently visual — approaches to the teaching of geography. Even in the education of visually impaired children, geography teaching is mostly based on adapted visual representations (e.g., tactile maps).

Non-visual experiences and knowledges of space are relegated to therapy or family responsibility. Methods to help pupils reflect on how they perceive spatial features are little formalised. Yet, extensive spatial experiences and the ability to reflect on them is framed by special education teachers as necessary to understand maps or other traditional representations of space. Hence, designing for non-visual geography is also a matter of recognising and valuing visually impaired children as a social group, with specific ways of learning and knowing, within formal schooling. 

Emeline Brulé will then outline the pedagogical and didactic insights generated using probes and prototypes designed with visually impaired pupils and their teachers during this research, and conclude with challenges related to their evaluation and dissemination in other contexts.


This event is free and open to all. Registration is only required for those external to UCL. Please email Michelle Cannon (m.cannon@ucl.ac.uk) to register.



Emeline Brulé

About the Speaker

Emeline Brulé

Emeline Brulé is a lecturer at University of Sussex. She conducts interdisciplinary research at the crossroad of Human-Computer Interaction, Design and Sociology. Her current research focus on the design of technologies for and with children with disabilities.

More about Emeline Brulé