27-year-old Siddhant Shah is India’s first architect to render heritage projects and museums accessible and tangible to the visually impaired.
Siddhant is a heritage architect and accessibility consultant who set up Access for ALL in Mumbai in 2016 to push physical and social limits in spaces of cultural significance to create an inclusive experience for all visitors.
He designed Art Education and Appreciation for the Blind with Delhi Art Gallery Modern through his own initiative, ABHAS, which offers tactile art experiences. He created tactile surfaces and textures for visually impaired visitors, and published India and Pakistan’s first museum braille publication with large fonts and tactile imagery to encourage partially sighted and blind audiences.
The team has recently launched a touch-and-feel book on Indian folk art, the first of its kind in the world, in Malaysia at the Pustaka Bookaroo, a children’s literary festival. “I have been the architect and access consultant to the City Palace Museum of Jaipur. I have designed and created braille tactile miniature paintings and images of the old Pink City. I was also an organising committee member of a Commonwealth Associations of Museums workshop on ‘Museum & Access in South Asia’”, Siddhant says.
He conceptualised the first braille museum guidebook for the City Palace of Jaipur, created braille signage for the armoury gallery, and arranged for sensitisation campaigns. Siddhant is presently consulting with the Mehrangarh Fort Museum in Jodhpur to design engagement materials for the visually impaired. There, accessibility is an important part of the long-term plan. He is looking at profiles of global audiences, and creating braille infosignage and tactile art.
He is also the resource consultant for Anubhav, the tactile gallery for the disabled at the Ministry of Culture’s National Museum, New Delhi. Tactile objects, braille tags, and audio guides are part of the change he brought.
He has received the NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Award, which he believes will help him network and connect to other important resources for collective growth, making Access for ALL a possibility.
Siddhant consults with various NGOs and government organisations. Since funding is the main impediment for projects, he is on the lookout for CSR collaborations and other sources of sponsorship.
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