Student champions Art for visually impaired

28th April 2022

An Art & Design student from Stratford-upon-Avon College is breaking down barriers and championing accessible art for the visually impaired.

Alicia Hackett, 19 from Stratford-upon-Avon, is on the Level 4 Art & Design Foundation Diploma course. After living with invisible disabilities throughout her life, she has focused on making her Art accessible and breaking down barriers for viewers.

Alicia Hackett

Alicia’s art journey began when her original idea for a career had to alter. When she was younger, Alicia dreamt of becoming a Surgeon, however her visual impairment meant that this was an avenue unavailable to her.

At school she was passionate about Art and realised this was the interest she wanted to follow. She studied it for GCSE and then at A-Level. Alicia knew she wanted to continue onto uni but wanted more time to prepare, so chose to study a Foundation Diploma at the College: “The College is local to me, but also, the university I am going to has a lot of alumni from here and I wanted to follow the same path.”

Alicia has lived with many invisible disabilities, and this has inspired her Art: “During my GCSEs I explored my brain condition, Chiari malformation, and at A-Level I focused on Fibromyalgia.” Alicia’s current work is in response to visual impairments, living with double vision and Nystagmus.

Her work tackles the issue on two fronts. Firstly, by focusing on texture and making art that can be experienced in more than one way. The second, is to give viewers a way to impair their sight to experience Art as Alicia would. For example, giving the viewer prism glasses which gives the wearer double vision.

Alicia has created work that is textured and also shows how people with a visual impairment may see it

Alicia is passionate about creating work in this way: “I want to create work that raises awareness of issues as well as create immersive experiences for viewers that helps them stop making snap judgements.”

Art & Design lecturer, Andrew Woodhead, details why Alicia’s work is so exciting: “Alicia is an interesting, creative and hardworking student. She is knowledgeable about a lot of things and brings this into her coursework. Her artwork in response to visual impairments is important because it breaks down barriers in terms of accessibility to the arts and helps promote a more inclusive culture and exchange of ideas.”

Alicia will be continuing on to university with an unconditional offer to Chelsea College. We are extremely excited to see what she creates next!

Find out more about the College's Art & Design courses: Art & Design courses