Graeme Turner

Gaeme Turner
Graeme Turner

Since writing poetry about the colour green at the age of seven, I have written my way through the entire rainbow. I've also scripted theatre shows, written for radio, have worked in advertising and as a journalist on a disability newspaper. The loss of my vision has not closed my eyes to the world around me.

I want to raise the curtain on theatre and performance and more broadly on recreation. I’m into transport issues and how people get around. I’m also passionate about human rights, especially for those with disability trying to access services, places and information. 

Graeme Turner's articles

A close-up of someone using a guide cane
blind person walking using cane

Detects object more directly.

What are the advantages of using a guide dog rather than a white cane? A woman once told me I needed a dog to guide me across the road. Vicki and Maribel both use guide dogs. Vicki likes that her guide dog helps her to avoid branches and holes on the ground. Maribel feels more independent with a guide dog. You need to be organised if you have a guide dog. It can also be costly to care for the dog. I like to use a cane. When a cane breaks, you can replace it. And after a day’s travel you can throw it into a corner.
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People in a cinema watching the screen.
people watching film

You don't want to miss the action.

Audio description allows a person with a vision impairment to follow the action in the film. After a film is made, a professional narrator records a description of what is happening on the screen. The narration is added to the film and can be heard by a person using a radio and headset in the cinema. If there is a fight or a love scene, a good describer tells the listener exactly what is happening. For example, "Jack punches Fred in the chest". Cinema chains are setting up more screens with the special equipment needed for audio description. But there is still a fair way to go before every movie has audio description.
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A male and female dancing. The image shows them from the waist down.

The men and women begin to dance.

How are people who are blind able to dance? The Victorian Blind Square Dancing group might have the answer. Those who can't see are taught to dance by feeling how others move. They are also told the moves to make. Dancers call to each other to let others know where they are. A caller announces moves through loudspeakers. Sometimes dancers may run into each other. It is not always easy for someone who is blind to turn back to just the right spot. The dancers enjoy each other's company and find the dancing good exercise.
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A photo of a digital camera.

Digital cameras opened up a new world.

Andrew Follows is a man who has a guide dog in one hand and a camera in the other. He does not let vision impairment stand in the way of taking photos. When Andrew wanted to take a photo course it was seen to be a joke. Andrew has since shown others that you can take photos even if you can’t see. Some scratch their heads to see a man with a guide dog taking photos. Andrew has shown his pictures in art galleries. He has trained others with vision impairment to use a camera. He really enjoys what he does.
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A close-up of someone playing an electric guitar on stage with a drummer in the background
close up of someone playing electric guitar + drummer

The show is in full swing.

I went to Strumarama. It is a live music show. The performers have emotional and mental health issues. They have all taken part in song writing classes. The classes are run in South Melbourne, Heidelberg and Drouin. The show is put together by Wild@heART Community Arts. The performers sang about love, hurt and their own mental health. Many people went to the show. The audience and the singers had fun. The next Strumarama show is in December.
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A small 3D printer, with colourful printed objects beside it on a table.

3D printing is adding a new dimension to the understanding of objects by those with blindness and vision impairment.

Just think how a person with blindness might get a better understanding of an object such as a building or a wild animal, if they could feel the shape of it. Now computers can print things out in three dimensions, giving such people a chance to feel what objects are really like. Printers lay down plastic which builds up to form 3D shapes. Those with blindness could feel a certain type of car, the shape of their own house or the face of a friend. Not too many people know about this in Australia yet, but the future is exciting.
2 comments - last comment on 04/09/2013
Close up of the human eye

Research suggests that CBS may impact on up to 20% of those with vision loss.

What happens if, after you lose most or all of your vision, you start seeing things that aren't really there? Are you losing your mind? This is the situation faced by many people with vision loss or impairment who are experiencing Charles Bonnet Syndrome.
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A person getting onto a tram at a tram stop
person getting onto tram at tram stop

Drivers of trams, trains and buses need to learn how to deal with blind people

People who are blind or who have vision impairments tell some of their stories of using public transport. Sometimes the loudspeaker announcements on trains tell these people the wrong station. Sometimes drivers forget to tell these people the right tram stops. Some blind users think that drivers should know their tram and bus routes. Users might try to complain but it doesn't work. Drivers need to learn how to deal with blind people.
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Girl doing sit ups with a personal trainer helping

Many people who have disabilities find it difficult to maintain a regular fitness program

Keeping fit when you are a person with a disability can be tough. I spoke to Penny about her fitness program through Scope Victoria, which has support staff to help when needed. I also spoke to Ramona, who has vision impairment and does the Keiser program, which offers a trainer to monitor her workouts and to help place her hands correctly on the gym equipment. Both recommend regular fitness training with specialist instructors as it is good for both body and mind.
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Woman meditating on a white background

Mindfulness meditation stills the mind, making it especially valuable for those with issues of anxiety

How can you deal with the stresses of everyday life? Recently I tried mindfulness meditation, which is the process of being mindful of your own thoughts. I learned that it's okay to let ideas come and go. It's also okay to notice whether your chair is hard or whether the light is buzzing. Mindful meditation is good for people with disabilities who find it difficult to hear, see or move.
1 comment - on 01/02/2013