In this ocularcentric world, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of touch. But for deafblind people like Roger Wilson-Hindr, touch is like “magic” that reveals the joy in the world: “It uses all aspects of our body – from the top of our head to feel the sunlight, to our feet for sensing where we are on the street.”

So consider their shock when, overnight, COVID-19 transformed touch from a glorious life-enricher to an apparent life threat. Our latest long read investigates how deafblind people were affected through a fascinating interdisciplinary project led by filmmaker Azadeh Emadi. Her work with a quantum physicist has led to the development of new wearable technology to help deafblind people “see” as the world opens up again. But this article shows there is more for us all to learn about the value of touch.

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Mike Herd

Investigations Editor, Insights

Toeizuza Thailand/Shutterstock

The magic of touch: how deafblind people taught us to ‘see’ the world differently during COVID

Azadeh Emadi, University of Glasgow

A cultural collaboration with deafblind people led to the development of a high-tech device to help navigate their world post-lockdown

Military target? A boy looks at a fragment of Russian rocket in a children’s playpark, Kyiv, October 2022. Oleksii Chumachenko/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

Ukraine war: a desperate Russia defaults to attacking civilians

Frank Ledwidge, University of Portsmouth

Failing on the battlefield, Russia is now concentrating its fire against civilians in Ukraine’s major cities.

Album artwork for Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid. Zef Recordz/Die Antwoord

What is cultural appropriation and why is it so harmful?

Adam Haupt, University of Cape Town

Controversial South African band Die Antwoord illustrates the power relations that make cultural appropriation and blackface so damaging.