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The Be My Eyes Podcast
39 minutes | 6 months ago
Can Blindness Be Funny?
For centuries, people have been laughing at caricatures of blindness in TV, film and entertainment – but how often are they laughing with us? Amir Rahimi has begun exploring the art of standup comedy as a fledgling comic in the Washington, DC comedy scene. Rahimi became blind as a teenager, and after fighting his vision impairment for years, he finally found peace in the ability to make people laugh. In his first few public sets, Rahimi plays with notions of masculinity, pokes fun at strangers who find his vision impairment fascinating, and isn’t afraid to joke about his own shortcomings as a way to “humanize” the blind experience and make it more relatable for the average, flawed human being. Rahimi sat down to chat with us about his successes and failures in developing his first ten minutes, and talk about his motivations and ambitions for what he hopes will be a long and fruitful comedy career.
85 minutes | 7 months ago
She Didn't Know She Was Blind
What’s it like to hide your blindness from the world? Or not even know you’re blind in the first place? Caroline Casey was in denial for the first 28 years of her life. Her parents never told her she was legally blind, and by the time she got into the working world, she didn’t know how to be open about it. Holding back such an integral part of who you are can mess you up, and finally Caroline broke, realizing that it wasn’t worth it anymore. The funny thing is, that’s when her life really got good. Caroline chatted with us about her childhood, her work, and her new initiative to get 500 of the world’s most powerful CEOs to sign a commitment to include disability in their business agenda.
86 minutes | 7 months ago
Exploring the Senses with a Blind Chemist
Growing up in the rolling hills of Northern California, Hoby Wedler always had a passion for exploration. Blind since birth and profoundly curious, Hoby explored phenomena small and large. He hiked mountains and rode bikes through rural landscapes. He learned about the plumbing and electrical wiring of his suburban home. But when he found his love for science he also found himself suddenly blocked by teachers and so-called mentors who said he should try something else. Now a PhD chemist, Hoby has found his way into a fascinating new career which started, oddly enough, leading wine tastings for Francis Ford Coppola. Hoby talks with us about his new business, Senspoint Design, and even convinces our host to try some of Dave Matthews' wine (yeah, that Dave MAtthews).
50 minutes | 8 months ago
Deaf-blind in the White House
This week: a very special interview from the 13 Letters Podcast. 'Fearless' is a word many would use to describe Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. A disability rights lawyer, memoir author, and public speaker, Haben has certainly pushed the boundaries of how society regards deafblind citizens. Even with her many achievements, Haben would not consider herself fearless, but rather acknowledge fear as something critical in guiding one's life. She's met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former U.S. President Barack Obama, and now we're lucky enough to sit down and talk with Haben on this week's episode of 13 Letters. On it, we'll discuss how politics affect the disabled, the importance of dance, and why a little bit of fear can push us in the right direction.
26 minutes | 8 months ago
How Blind Folks Dealing with the Pandemic?
In the last two weeks, the whole world has changed. The global economy has all but slammed to a halt, people are locked in their houses and not allowed to leave except for essential tasks, and the self-isolation has presented humans with a whole new set of challenges they probably never imagined having. Today we take an overview look at how the blind community is reacting, share some resources as starting points for blind and low vision folks looking to learn more, and chat with Be My Eyes communications officer Cecilie Skou Anderson about what's going on in Denmark.
35 minutes | 9 months ago
What would you do with $25,000? That's what the Holman Prize is all about. Any blind or visually impaired adult in the world can apply – and every year, the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco grants the Holman Prize to three lucky individuals. Initial submissions for this year’s prize are about to close, and so in honor of its fourth year, we’re sharing exclusive interviews with the three Holman Prizewinners from 2019. Learn more and apply at holmanprize.org.
87 minutes | 9 months ago
Best Apps, Wearables and the Future of Blind Tech
Podcasters Robin Christopherson (Dot to Dot) and Steven Scott (Double Tap Canada) join forces every week on RNIB Connect radio to talk tech. Both longtime tech early adopters and well-known voices of the UK’s visually impaired community, the two are opinionated, adamant and any other adjective you could conjure up about their devices, tools, gizmos and any other tool you could imagine for making sight-less life a little easier. We caught up with them this week to get the latest and greatest on best apps, smart devices, wearables and other exciting news about blind tech in 2020.
72 minutes | 9 months ago
Is the Music Industry Accessible?
Byron Harden has a mission: to teach as many blind people as possible to work in recording studios, produce music and edit audio like pros. Working in the music industry might seem like a natural for the visually impaired, but the truth is huge barriers still remain – and Byron runs the only school in the world that specializes in educating blind producers and engineers. When you say “blind,” we all have images of the piano playing, blues singing, street performing visually impaired person that define the stereotype of the blind musician. But unless audio technology and education catches up, blind people will be left out of the modern music industry. Get a full overview on today’s episode, and find out more at ISeeMusic.org.
45 minutes | a year ago
Blind Girls Can Do Their Own Makeup
Confident; in control; beautiful. Are these words you associate with blindness? When Lucy Edwards became blind in 2013, she didn’t. Over the last five years, though, she’s become the first blind ambassador for Cover Girl, an accomplished journalist, and built up a considerable following on her YouTube channel where she talks about makeup, the beauty industry, self care and how she finds confidence in every day life. On December 28 and 29, Lucy will make history as BBC1’s first-ever blind presenter.
56 minutes | a year ago
Two Blind Brothers Running a Clothing Company
Two Blind Brothers are "obsessed with soft." The 34 and 27 year old entrepreneurs have Stargardt disease, which gradually reduces the central vision and results in functional blindness. and they quit their day jobs a few years ago to pursue 2BB full time as a social enterprise. We caught up with them in Las Vegas this summer to hear about how they got started, their views on being blind in he fashion industry and how being blind actually prepares you to be a great entrepreneur.
69 minutes | a year ago
Hollywood's Go-to Blindness Consultant Has a Big New Show
99% of the word can see, 1% can not –– but what if it were the other way around? That’s the premise of Apple’s first original fantasy TV series, “See,” which premiered in November on their new streaming video platform, TV+. In order to tell the story of a world that has evolved to live entirely without sight, they hired Joe Strechay –– a “blindness consultant” with a background in education – to teach the sighted cast and crew how to play the part with as much authenticity as possible. We talked with Joe about his personal journey to blindness, his early career, and how he found his way to Hollywood and eventually, as Associate Producer for this big-budget, Game of Thrones-style epic. He also gives his take on why there aren’t more blind actors in the show, and specific advice for how blind actors looking to get onto the show can go about contacting him.
33 minutes | a year ago
Can Blind Artists Compete with Those Who Can See?
Blind artists are often lauded for “continuing to work” despite their disability, but can they compete alongside artists who can see? Has a blind artist ever really “made it” in the art world? How about Claude Monet? Emilie Gossiaux rose to national attention when an Episode of Radiolab chronicled her story of overcoming adversity, but now she’s facing a much more complex challenge: of breaking into the contemporary art world as a totally blind sculptor, painter and visual artist. Emilie’s work is on display at Julius Caesar Gallery in Chicago through December 8, and she sat down with Will to talk about how museums can be better, why she loves tattoos and 3 crucial tips for describing art to a blind person.
32 minutes | a year ago
Why You Should Meet More Blind People
Ask Mark Riccobono for one piece of advice, he will reliably say: meet blind people. This isn’t about sight loss support groups or intensive training – it’s about finding people you respect, who you can laugh with, adventure with, and support you as you combat the many barriers to access that will inevitably come your way. In celebration of welcoming our first blindness organization (@NFB) onto Be My Eyes, we sat down with Mark to talk about everything from self driving cars to gene editing, and attacked that nagging question: what’s so bad about the word “blind”?
23 minutes | a year ago
How Do You “Watch” Your Kids If You Can’t See Them?
Stacy Cervenka joins Will and Julia from Lincoln, Nebraska for our second episode in a series about blind parenting. Stacy is not only an awesome mom, but is also the Director of Public Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind and the founder of the Blind Travelers Network, a community for blind people to submit accessibility reviews and discuss the ins and outs of blind travel. Taking your kids to swim lessons, the zoo, a museum and just making sure they don’t get into the kitchen cupboards – how do blind parents manage? Whether it’s tying tiny bells to your daughter’s shoes, pulling a stroller instead of pushing it, or a whole bunch of other strategies about how to improve your life as a blind parent, Stacy’s got it all.
22 minutes | a year ago
What Blind People Need to Succeed at Work
When starting a new job, you want to know what you’ll need to succeed. If you’re blind, an accessible workplace is essential, but rarely a given. Where does accessibility start in the workplace? Creating a culture of inclusion among employees is one thing; Giving hiring managers or recruiters the tools they need to attract and onboard qualified candidates with disabilities is another. Our guest this episode, Krissy Bisda, fronted an initiative called Equal Opportunity Training which asks, what if instead of training people with disabilities to join the workforce, managers and employers also underwent training? How would it work? Why does it matter? Join Hans and Julia for Episode 6 of the Be My Eyes Podcast to find out!
31 minutes | a year ago
The Blind Cannabis Farmer
Although its use and commerce are legalized in several parts of the U.S., it is still slightly taboo. For Rob Trotter, it’s his passion. When it comes to cannabis cultivation, he’s your guy. Rob is the owner and founder and Pot Zero, Colorado’s most organic weed farm. Will and I invited him on for our 5th episode to hash out what drew him to the cannabis industry, how to run a business blind, which skills are imperative to fostering healthy plants, and what it’s like to get high when you’re blind! Whether you’ve already got a green thumb or you just want some tips on how much water to give your house plants, Rob’s got all the answers. Join us for Cannabis Meets Blindness to hear it all!
29 minutes | a year ago
What Tools do Blind People Need in the Digital Age?
Technology is a world of possibility. It offers greater knowledge, ease, and access, these days in the palm of our hand. If you're a blind or low vision consumer with a smartphone, you can use it to get visual information on demand – whether from a robot or a real person. Chancey Fleet is a tech educator at the New York City Public Library, she’s obsessed with all types of technology, and particularly focused on the evolution of assistive tech. She’s also fascinated by the proliferation of visual interpretation as a service and at times quite bluntly critical of their impact on our lives. For our fourth episode of the Be My Eyes Podcast, Chancey joins Hans and Julia to explain why visual interpreters are such a big deal when it comes to accessibility, data rights, and innovation. She also raises lots of questions: How can technology foster and hinder accessibility? Why must accessibility be understood as a civil right? How can disabled people become active agents in the development of technology as opposed to just the inspiration behind the design? In our discussion, we tackle that trope and shout-out to the original life-hackers: disabled people. Listen in!
24 minutes | a year ago
How This Blind Dad Prepared Himself For Fatherhood
How do you prepare to be a first-time parent? Taking on the role of raising a human being is pretty daunting. Developmental psychologists preach a multitude of different parenting approaches, there are tons of gadgets and gear out there, podcasts to listen to, advice columns to read, support groups to join — there’s so much out there to guide moms, dads and all parental figures in raising their children. But most of the time, it’s all geared towards sighted parents. In what ways can the world of parenting can be more accessible to parents with disabilities? What does it take to break down the gender-norms associated with parenthood and make space for dads? Will and I posed these questions to our guest — who you might already recognize from his Twitter account @BlindDad_Uk. Amit Patel joins Will and I from London for our third episode, “How This Blind Dad Prepared Himself for Fatherhood” where we tackle ableist stereotypes, potty-training, asking for help, dad-shaming, and get the scoop on Amit’s must-have “dad gear”.
25 minutes | a year ago
Why I Stand Up Straight and Run Fast
We live in a sighted world. What does that mean for blind kids who are learning about the world? What is the best way to teach blind kids? What are the most important skills for blind kids to learn? Is it better to learn from sighted teachers or be taught by teachers who already live non-visually? Or both? There are arguments for each approach. To unpack them, Will and I are joined by Nihal Erkan. To Nihal, education is a key ingredient for living an independent life. And for running marathons. She champions the philosophies her sighted teachers instilled in her as a child and draws upon their lessons still today in her job as a teacher. On our second episode of the Be My Eyes Podcast, Will and I ask Nihal what makes education integral to living independently.
23 minutes | a year ago
How Do You Watch Movies if You Can’t See?
Why don’t we see more blind people in movies? How are people with a visual impairment or blindness portrayed when we do? Hold on a second — can blind people watch movies at all? Yes. And how we represent and reflect people in films matters. Expert Cathy Kudlick joins Hans and I for a discussion about the film landscape as it stands today. She walks us through the craft audio descriptions and shares her insight about tapping into the power of portraying people or experiences on film. What needs to change? What can filmmakers do to make accessibility a key part of the filmmaking process and why does it matter? How can we as film fanatics and movie-goers hold filmmakers to a standard of storytelling that represent folks with disabilities with greater integrity? Listen in!
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