The international competition “Typhlo & Tactus” and the exhibition “Pages without Borders”

From Wednesday, March 30th to Saturday, April 2nd, Padua will host two exceptional events: the International Tactile Picture Book Contest, which takes place every two years, and the exhibition “Pages without Borders” featuring tactile works from seven different European countries. They will be displayed in the courtyard of Palazzo Moroni.

The Robert Hollman Foundation, in collaboration with the National Federation of Institutions for the Blind, will organize the 15th edition of the Contest, promoted by the French publishing house Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (The Dreaming Fingers) since 2000, and part of the European project “Typhlo & Tactus”. The event will take place in the headquarters of the City of Padua, Palazzo Moroni, and in the headquarters of the Hollman Foundation at Via Siena.

The main topic of the event is the accessibility of culture to blind and visually impaired children. The occasion will be marked by the presentation of the tactile prototype of the book “The Treasure of the Enchanted Maze” from which the project of the inclusive municipal park “The Treasure Tree” was developed in Padua in 2016.


After the national selection stages of the best tactile picture book, which took place in 2021 in each of the participating countries, the international jury – composed of representatives of the institutions of the seven founding countries of the Competition: Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic – will choose the best tactile book from among the more than sixty entries received by the Robert Hollman Foundation from approximately twenty countries from around the world (Finland, India, Iran, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa…). The author will be awarded with a cash prize presented by the Rotary Club of Padua.

The Rotary Club of Padua has decided to further support the competition by awarding the “Chapeau” Extraordinary Prize for Editability to encourage the dissemination of fundamental tools for bringing blind and visually impaired children closer to reading and to the imagination. This prize, to be awarded for the first time this year, is an initiative of the Robert Hollman Foundation. In addition, the Fiori Blu association, founded by families of children and young people who are blind or visually impaired, has chosen to finance the printing of the book that will receive the extraordinary prize for editability and will be distributed in major centers that deal with visual impairment and typhlo-didactic centers throughout Italy.


The opening of the competition is on Thursday, March 31st with a lectio magistralis by Prof. Enrica Polato entitled “Pages and spaces that include: a book, a park” (the session will be streamed live on the Robert Hollman Foundation’s Youtube channel). The prototype of the tactile book “The treasure of the enchanted maze” will be presented for the first time on this occasion. Prof. Polato will also illustrate the pathway that led to the creation of the inclusive municipal park “Treasure Tree” from the inclusive and accessible book “The Treasure of the Enchanted Maze,” which was first published in 2016. This project was carried out together with associations and volunteers that will continue to work with the project once the park is opened, as a virtuous example of collaboration and synergy in social work.

Thanks to the contribution of the Volunteer Service Center of Padua and Rovigo, the tactile book “The Treasure of the Enchanted Maze” will be printed and donated to the members of the international jury of the competition so that they can take it to their home countries and present it to social organizations that deal with visual impairment. This is also a way to continue “sowing” good practices within the European Union after the extraordinary year of Padua’s tenancy as European Volunteer Capital 2020.

The award ceremony for the winning books, in its 15th year, will be held on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to noon in Sala Paladin at Palazzo Moroni. It will also be possible to follow the event via live streaming on the Hollman Foundation’s Youtube channel.


During the days of the “Typhlo & Tactus” International Competition from Wednesday, March 30 to Saturday, April 2, the International Exhibition of Illustrated Tactile Books “Pages without Borders” will be set up in the Hanging Courtyard of Palazzo Moroni, which can be visited daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (free admission). The exhibition features tactile books from previous years and multi-sensory materials from the seven European countries that make up the competition’s international jury (Italy, Poland, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands).

The tactile picture book is a fundamental tool for the literacy and education of children who are blind or visually impaired, but above all it represents a first, irreplaceable gateway to the world of imagination, fantasy and emotions that only a book can give. Materials of different textures (fabrics, ribbons, plastic, wood, cardboard… and anything else the imagination might suggest) are used to create the figures that children use to learn and discover: “training” at their fingertips and fingers.

In this small and precious collection, visitors will have the opportunity to browse, touch, admire… They will discover, to their wonder, special works dedicated to everyone, absolutely everyone.