Lady with grey curly hair with glasses and a colourful stripey top.


Proving communication matters: world renowned eye gaze artist attends conference in the city

MEETinLEEDS was delighted to have world renowned eye gaze artist, Sarah Ezekiel, as a plenary speaker at Communication Matters’ recent conference. Communication Matters held its Annual International ACC Conference at the University of Leeds on 9th – 11th September 2018, with over 400 delegates in attendance.

Communication Matters is a UK-based charitable organization, which works to promote the best possible communication for people with complex communication needs. The conference saw three aspects of evidence-based practice discussed in a series of platform sessions. Sarah attended the event to present the plenary of the conference.

Sarah, having been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in April 2000 at the age of 34, uses assistive technology extensively through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). After losing her hands through MND, eye gaze technology assisted her to fulfill her dreams of being an artist, with the technology allowing her to paint using her eyes. Sarah has exhibited her art all over the UK, including the Royal Academy Schools, and also internationally – with work featured at the Katara Art Centre in Qatar.

Sarah commented: “It was an honour to attend the Communication Matters conference, to help promote the idea that’s so central to the charity, and demonstrate nothing can prevent you from communicating and creating if you have the support and determination to do so. When I lost my hands, I didn’t think I would ever be able to create pieces of art again, but through the incredible technology, I was able to make my dreams a reality and I hope to inspire more to do the same at events such as these.”

Ruth McMorran, Co-Chair of Communication Matters, added: “Working alongside our incredible partner, MEETinLEEDs, we are so pleased with the success of our recent conference. Delegates left feeling inspired, especially following the visit from Sarah, who is great role model. Everyone can have a voice and we want to make others aware of technology and support available for them. It was also a triumph for the city of Leeds and the University – with the conference leading the way in innovative conversation and inspiration.”