Katrina Jones: My role in Sencity

Posted on April 18, 2012

Running around like a headless chicken, putting up decorations and sorting out a few unexpected mishaps, I headed back to the staff room and got ready for the party to start.

As I saw people queuing up eagerly at the entrance to London’s 02, I couldn’t quite put my finger on how I felt. The feeling was a mixture of nervousness, exhaustion and excitement. I couldn’t believe that the event we had been planning for a year was coming to an end.

I joined the Sencity London team when I was in need of doing something grand.

At that time, I was a few months into working on my new art business full-time but in doing this I had also found that I lacked some key skills for running my business and communicating with the hearing world.

Meeting the team for the first time was nerve-wracking but it then got easier. We eventually met Ronald Lightenberg, the director of Skyway Programs who runs Sencity events across five continents.

I got to learn the vision and the misson, which was so absorbing. At this point I knew I had made the right decision by taking part.

When I experienced Sencity in Utrecht, I discovered that I could access the music through various senses.

As a profoundly Deaf young woman, I’ve spent most of my nights out sticking close to the giant speakers, unable to relax, focusing on my dancing and keeping up with the music beats – trying not to look like a frenzied idiot. Every time performers came on stage to engage with the frantic partygoers, I looked at them, and felt a twinge of envy because I didn’t have this kind of bond.

At Sencity I could.

Regular weekly meetings helped develop our skills: team-building, networking and communication. Nearer the date of the event, everybody was given different roles according to their strengths, and I was appointed Design Manager. Having studied Set Design and Scenic Art I had a fair bit of experience in this field, but this put me in at the deep end, and I had to use all the knowledge I had gained to push the project forward with the team.

The designs I did for Sencity were; aged vintage wheels, hanging top hats, a fake photobooth, circus posters and distorted mirrors. They gave the venue a vintage circus look. I got the inspiration from Camden Town, Brick Lane, Brighton Pier and a film called Oh What A Lovely War. Our aim was to make the designs interactive so that they became part of the party, and the photobooth with the dressing up booth was really a hit.

As 10pm struck, a mixture of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing partygoers were pouring into the venue. The partygoers were really enjoying themselves with all these different senses allowing them to access to the music.

As I looked at the stage, it felt good to see so many people engaging with the performers and others buzzing near the bar trying various nibbles. As I checked the decorations to make sure everything was ok, I saw people waiting eagerly to be massaged, dressing up for their photos in the photobooth and dancing the night away.

Being part of the Sencity London team has changed me (in a good way!).

My confidence, determination and enthusiasm has soared immensely – it has been enormously beneficial as I have discovered new skills and strengths.

Eighteen months of commitment and hard work, on a voluntary basis, has really paid off.

Sencity was my proudest moment and definitely something to remember.

Katrina Jones is an artist and photographer in London, UK and says “I have studied art for as long as I can remember, literally from when I sat on my grandma’s knees. Life is art. You can follow her on Twitter as @bimbollectual and her website is http://www.katrina-jones.co.uk/

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