– Signes de sens (gestures of meaning but also signs of senses) is an association founded in 2003, specializing in mediation involving all audiences, including specific audiences (deaf with autism, developmental disabilities, …)
– The association offers solutions to renew the link to public from the experience of disabled public in a process of universal design.
– Since 2010, Signes de sens develops multimedia projects (including using the tablet) as can be seen in the Musée du Quai Branly and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille. She created a production studio (2Visu production) to respond to commands to museums and cultural institutions.
Since March 2013, one can discover the Musée du quai Branly device “Muséo.” What is it?
« Muséo »known Branly as “The quay Branly expert” is an iPad application that allows children ages 6-12 to discover four continents having fun. Both visioguide, video games and treasure hunt, the application offers many ways to look at the history and the different cultures that make up our world. Through interactive games, video questions and explanations, the children discover a place and works with Laurent. Comedian guides children through four courses -Oceania, Africa, the Americas and Asia and has for the occasion costume of a disorderly ethnologist who help children be invaluable.
The project is the result of an experiment conducted in 2010 as part of the week of accessibility to the museum. Following the very successful results of the evaluation, the museum decided in 2012 to buy the concept to deploy its permanent collections.
The accessibility of the device is based on an original design and how to script content. Based on the scientific information that the museum wishes to convey, the association structure information and clarifies messages while combining French, French Sign Language (LSF in French), voice-over, subtitling and cartoons. The objective is to gain consistency and avoid cognitive overload for audiences.
The “Muséo” concept succeeds in bringing together different types of audiences (deaf and hearing) around the same offer of mediation in the context of individualized cultural practices (Children visit / Adults visit / visit for the blind visitors / LSF visit for deaf visitors,…).
Originally, there was this question: what each can bring to the other? With interest and curiosity, Simon learned that LSF has enabled it to address other mediation, including structuring and better illustrating his remarks. In 2003, “Signes de sens” born association. We were then back in the disability law 2005 The first activities of the association were bilingual performances (French and LSF), mediation activities and the publication from 2005 pounds-DVD. From the beginning, the multimedia dimension was thus present in projects Signes de sens and when in 2010 the first iPad came to the general public, the experience generated by the five years of experimentation allowed to see new uses possible and exploit, for example video-guides. In five years, there has also been a natural evolution in the projects of the association: the books, the establishment of a deaf guides, setting up training to help museums to better accommodate deaf audiences. As Simon and Julie .. love the set, they do make and to show by example how to change practices and accessibility think otherwise.
What challenges face that you found you (or you frequently encounter)?
First, the definition of “accessibility.” Indeed, physical accessibility, within the institution that is something that people understand quite well and contained. However, the accessibility of content is something much more difficult to understand, especially since there are no standards! (unlike the built environment). Furthermore, professionals sometimes have a segmented view of disability while perceiving as a problem to solve than as an opportunity to innovate. The association spends a lot of time training institutions in a positive and unifying vision disability to make a real lever for audience development.
It’s still the need to explain and also educate future professionals who questions enormously Signs of sense right now; for now, the association is working with the master set design expography Arras.
To this we can add the difficulties in understanding digital tools …
Another problem is directly related to innovation: the difficulty for some professionals to project into the final product and to exceed their own needs in favor of those of the public. If direct customers are the institutional structure, end customers are public. Thus, it is necessary to remove the head that the issue of accessibility is only a graphical issue. Of course it matters but not as much as the design of the mediation. It then asks to use mediators and experts in these fields there.
Third type of difficulties, those that revolve around the financing of operations. Indeed, the production of multimedia tools with quality audiovisual content has a cost. This cost can be funded through experimentation but when it comes to sustaining an offer or deploy to other museums, it’s a little more difficult. Museums often rely on patrons, making circuits with long decision a little complex sometimes if the association leads some of the funding and the museum another financial arrangements.
The association recommends a separate period of experimentation funded by its own financial partners. This allows the association to go after what she wants to experiment in a partnership with the museum and not control. And a time for sustainability within the constraints of the order that the museum can then be financed by its own patrons or own resources.
For “Muséo” at Quai Branly Signs direction came with the turnkey project financed by its partners (the Ministry of Culture and the Create Joy programme Vivendi. Museum then perpetuated the offer and ordered the application to the association with the support of the Orange Foundation and the France Télévisions corporate foundation.
It is only at the cost of these administrative arrangements and taking the issue of financing upside Signs that sense can lead actions maintaining some autonomy, particularly in the operational mode (testing the project with the public; time called in other areas the “timing” or “beta test”).
This notion of experimentation and feedback from the public is very present in your work, why?
There is no innovation without evaluation or, Signes de sens precisely proposes a new way of considering disability and ways to address these audiences. The concept of evaluation is very important. To evolve, you have to experience this is to say, design, build, test, and improve and resubmit public. In this sense, Signes de sens draws heavily on universal design, that is to say, the design of a site or project universally accessible by various public without the need for planning. This concept originated in the 1970s in the United States (but only arrived in the 2000s in European universities) and needs to follow certain protocols defined in advance.
As part of a call for projects from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region for researchers-citizens programme, Signes sens is associated with universities of Lille III (laboratories and GERiiCO and URECA laboratories and Valenciennes Devisu Laboratory (formerly DREAM) to evaluate its features and question the notion of design and “universal” evaluation.
In addition to this academic partnership, the Test of Concept “Muséo” was extended with a second project in partnership with the Centre for Fine Arts (PBA) Lille to evaluate an application on children with autism or developmental disabilities. The evaluation conducted in December 2013 validated the relevance of the device and the museum now offers all its visitors as the “Muséo + PBA Lille.” The application is also available on the Appstore to discover the works of the museum home.
Some links… (in French)
Publics et handicap :
– Loi du 11 février 2005, Legifrance,
– Culture et handicap, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, développement culturel,
– Musées et accessibilité : un enjeu de société. Comprendre pour mieux agir … en Basse-Normandie. Les constats, la démarche, les solutions, DRAC Basse-Normandie
« Muséo » project:
– Extrait des Experts Quai Branly
– Accessibilité des musées : de la conception pour les enfants sourds au design for all, Simon Houriez, Julie Houriez, Komi Kounakou, Sylvie Leleu-Merviel, revue MEI, aux éditions l’Harmattan, 2014-03-10
– Vidéo sur projet recherche “Surcharge cognitive”
Signes de sens et 2Visu production :
– Reportage sur le service de guides sourds de Signes de sens
– Reportage sur l’approche pédagogique des livres-DVD
– Premier livre numérique accessible aux enfants autistes
– 2Visu production
– Page Facebook de 2Visu production
– Signes de sens dans l’émission de France 5 « L’œil et la main », 10.02.2014
Le projet « Muséo+ PBA Lille » :
– Article du magazine de la région Pas-de-Calais (février – mars 2014) autour de l’économie sociale avec Signes de sens (page 8)
– Reportage au Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
– Vidéo de présentation
[translation by Google translate]