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10 July 2020

The RNIB's upside-down thinking.

by Andrew MacGregor


The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have used the billboard lights at Piccadilly Circus to highlight the challenges by blind and partially sighted people post-lockdown.

From July 6th to July 13th, ads from participating brands like Amazon and Kellogg’s will be turned upside down to represent how social distancing and other physical restrictions affect blind and partially sighted pedestrians.

“Social distancing has really turned our world upside down,” says Eleanor Southwood, Chair of Trustees at RNIB. “Blind and partially sighted people like me are used to navigating a world not designed with us in mind."

Yet Southwood explains that "a lot of the strategies and tools we use to get around safely – like being guided – are not allowed under current rules, and many have been left stranded.”

This inspired Yan Elliot, executive creative director at The&Partnership, and his team to act: “We wanted to recreate the disorientation and uncertainty being felt by blind and partially sighted people during this complicated time. What better way to do so than by subverting expectations of one of the world’s most recognisable spaces?”

The RNIB hope the biggest changes take place at ground level, with those on the spectrum of sight treated with respect and empathy during the socially distant era. For many, this shift in attitude can’t come soon enough.

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