Kia ora, I’m a Canadian pākehā woman, currently living in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland.
I’m interested in supporting children to thrive in their communities, in relation to their visual development. My research stemmed from an early personal interest in vision, experience supporting those with low vision through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and volunteer work with the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO).
My formal academic background is split between retinal-level neuroscience, systems-level vision science, and community-level eye care systems. My thinking about vision continues to be shaped by the different fields, sectors, and cultural perspectives I’m privileged to be exposed to.
My current project is about assessment of visual perception in children with cerebral visual impairment. This work is grounded in ongoing projects about visual perception, neurodevelopmental diversity, effective assessment and rehabilitation strategies, and ways to achieve more equitable access to eyecare.
I believe attempts to support communities that have been marginalised by colonisation and/or who endure ongoing racism and discrimination will fail if societal factors aren’t also addressed. In my personal and professional life, I seek to uncover and deconstruct my own biases, and make space for communities who will build a more equitable future.
When I’m not working, you might find me sewing, painting, or trying to stand up on a surfboard.
Dr Cay Holbrook
Cay Holbrook began her career as a teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) during her undergraduate pre-service teacher training program at Florida State University. She continued to teach students in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida while she completed her masters and doctoral degrees also at Florida State University. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the perceived role of the teacher of students with visual impairments and she has remained interested in questions regarding service delivery and educational supports and curriculum for this population.
Cay's first faculty position was at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. After three years she moved to Little Rock to assume a faculty position at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) where she was program coordinator for the TVI program. She remained at UALR for eight years and, in 1998, moved to Vancouver, British Columbia to join the faculty at The University of British Columbia where she is now.
Along with her dear friend and professional collaborator, Alan Koenig, Cay worked on defining a process to determine learning and literacy media for students with visual impairments through a data-driven collaborative team approach called Learning Media Assessment. This process resulted in one of twelve textbooks that have been written or edited by Cay and her collaborators. These textbooks include, two editions of Children with Visual Impairments: A Parents' Guide, two editions of Foundations of Education for Students with Visual Impairments (Volumes 1 and 2), and support for teachers' learning and using braille, The Braille Enthusiasts' Dictionary (EBAE and UEB versions), and Ashcroft's Programmed Instruction in Braille (EBAE and UEB versions).
Additional professional highlights have been her work with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center in preparing professionals in China, her collaborations with professionals in Sweden, UK and Australia. In addition, she was co-founder (along with Janie Humphries Blome) of the Getting In Touch with Literacy conference. She has been an active member of professional organizations since joining as an undergraduate student. In 1992 she received the Alfred Allen Award and, in 2002, the Warren C. Bledsoe Award from AER and has been honored to receive the CEC-DVI Distinguished Service Award, the J. Max Wooly Award for Superior Service from the Arkansas Chapter of AER, the Canadian Vision Teacher's Conference Distinguished Service Award, the University of British Columbia Killiam Teaching Award, The Wings of Freedom Award from the American Printing House for the Blind and Florida State University-College of Education distinguished alumni.
Professor John Ravenscroft
After my first degree in Psychology I became very interested in Cognition, Language and especially Child Language. By various routes I ended up taking a Masters degree in Philosophy and Psychology of Language, this opened up a whole new world of Ontology and Cognition, and for a while I became very interested in Primate Cognition and Primate Thought and for many years I carried around inside my head what it is to be as Donald Davidson would say a "Rational Animal"
Meanwhile I got on with my life and went to live as you do in New Zealand, Japan, China, Australia and spent some time in Mongolia. Upon my return to the UK after several years working in the Psychology department and even the Parapsychology department at Edinburgh University developing my understanding of the nature of representation and what it means to represent something in an internal processing system, human or articfical. This led to my PhD which is grandly called the "Ontology of Inductive Systems".
Understanding representation eventually led to me to sight loss and visual impairment. What are the representations of children who have no vision became very important question and as I began to anwer this I became the manager of Visual Impairment Scotland, and created the first UK child visual impairment notification system. I also became the Head of the Scottish Sensory Centre and went to Australia for 18 months to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children to develop and create Australia's first visual impairment notification system. Again upon my return I became Deputy Head of Department for Educational Studies, and was also the Head of Institute for Education, Teaching & Leadership (ETL).
I followed this period of academic managment with more, being the Deputy Head/Dean of Moray House School of Education and often Acting Head/Dean of Moray House School of Eduation until 2016.
I am now Professor of Childhood Visual Impairment, and still very much interested in the nature of representation and the evolutionary process of cognition (of those that can and cannot see).