14 Sep 2016

Experiencing Blind Ambition with Paralympian Libby Clegg

Every hour another person in the UK loses their sight .. but they don’t lose their ambition. Our new video made in collaboration with Guide Dogs UK gives audiences a binaural insight into what it is like to grow up blind.  

Asking audiences to use their headphones and close their eyes, we follow stimulating experiences throughout the life of Paralympian Libby Clegg via a 3D soundscape. We travel through her younger years; encountering school bullies and the multiple struggles she has faced. We follow her story all the way up to the 2012 London Olympics; a moment in her career that carries testament to how she pushed past these many challenges in order to achieve her dreams.  

Using 3D binaural soundscape really allows audiences to fully immerse themselves in the experience and gain an understanding of how very different it would be to grow up blind. Recently, this century old recording technology is making a comeback after being overlooked (thanks to VR). Binaural recording works by simulating the brain and is setup to record sound in a way that mimics how we hear and our physical relationship to what it is we are hearing. The overall effect is a 3D playback giving the impression we are surrounded, unlike the stereo playback our brains are generally used to.

Since 2006, the Scottish 100m and 200m sprinter has represented both Scotland and Great Britain winning 3 bronze, 8 silver and 8 gold medals in various international competitions. These include the Paralympics held in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and the games in Rio 2016. During her record breaking semi-final run at Rio, she was temporarily disqualified, after allegations were made that she was “dragged” by her guide. However, this was successfully appealed against and she was subsequently reclassified as a T11 athlete. T11 is the categorisation for athletes with the highest levels of visual impairment, which meant that Libby was required to wear a blindfold if she  was to compete in the final. Libby described to the BBC this as “absolutely terrifying” saying that she’d “never come out of the blocks blindfolded” before, yet her perseverance and drive won her the 100m and 200m golds.

The video was launched on 8th September in support of and in line with the first day of The Paralympics 2016. Since then the video has had over 185,000 views which we hope will continue to grow and in doing so challenge perceptions on the capability of people with disabilities.

We all have ambition; however, for some, the obstacles they face only magnifies their drive. Libby is the perfect role model, not only for people with disabilities, but for everyone, representing an incredible example of just how far your ambition can take you.