For the upcoming World Book and Copyright Day that will be held on April 23 this year, the library of the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute will invite two inspiring sight-challenged individuals to host the 2017 Human Library series.
“Human Library” is a global program first established by Danish non-governmental organization Stop the Violence. The movement was launched in 2000 to promote mutual respect, tolerance, and indiscrimination by challenging stereotypes and prejudice through face-to-face dialogue.
Hsu Wei-ya (徐薇雅), winner of Taiwan’s Excellent Teacher Award in 2014, is a visually impaired elementary school teacher. Her eyesight began to deteriorate from an inherited disease at the age of 35, and she has since lived almost in total darkness for over a decade.
Despite losing clear sight, Hsu challenged the conventions of classroom teaching by reframing her focus from one-sided lecture delivery to one-on-one communication with students. She also formed a reading club to engage with her students and make lively lessons to demonstrate the different possibilities available in life.
Liaw Tsann-cherng (廖燦誠) is a calligrapher who gradually lost his eyesight since he was diagnosed with chronic glaucoma in 1980. The disease not only forced Liaw to give up his job as a designer, it affected his ability to create art.
Though Liaw felt bitter and hapless about his impending blindness, he was not willing to give up his passion in calligraphy and the arts. Liaw’s determination drove him to create nearly 20,000 pieces of works in the five years following diagnosis.
Liaw’s prolific creations during this intense period were lauded for their artistic achievements, especially in comparison with those he created in previous years. From 2000 to 2002, the blind artist also held solo calligraphic exhibitions that were met with positive reviews.
The “Human Library” series will allow participants to hold dialogue with Hsu (April 23) and Liaw (April 29), and ask questions to learn more about how they continued with their professions in spite of certain impediments. Register for the events here: http://ntcrilib.blogspot.tw/2017/03/2017.html.