Meet: Mark Bushell, Director of incloodu, this weekend’s new Deaf arts festival

Posted on November 8, 2013

Tomorrow in London the incloodu festival opens its doors for the first time, celebrating Deaf identity and the best in Deaf arts and entertainment. We caught up with incloodu’s very busy director, Mark Bushell, as he prepared for this weekend’s big event.

So Mark, what’s on at incloodu? 

We’ve got a packed programme of events. The day is full of entertainment for all ages with drama workshops, signed songs, films, live acts, an art exhibition and an all day-bar. In the evening, we have continuous live entertainment hosted by MC Rinkoo with dancers, DJs, VJs comedians and more. Its going to be a great day… and that’s not all!

Woah Mark, that’s a busy day! What was your inspiration for organising the festival?

It was inspired by the realisation that Deaf culture is marginalised by society as a whole, many people both hearing and Deaf are confused by what it actually is.

In many ways the phrase ‘Deaf Culture’ has become a very ‘politically loaded word’, incloodu Deaf Arts Festival offers an opportunity for people to express their interpretation of the phrase through creative work and also allows that work to reach an audience who would not usually see it. Hence, elevating awareness of the richness and diversity of ‘cultural’ output from those of us defined as ‘Deaf or Hard of Hearing’

That’s deep. What are you hoping to achieve?

A much wider societal understanding of Deaf experience and to establish London as a centre of excellence for Deaf Culture.

WEB_InclooduDeafFestival_2013_logoWill creative Deaf people, like film makers, benefit from the presence of incloodu?

incloodu will continue to work in a catalystic way with Deaf creatives, running workshops on a regular basis which will generate work that can be showcased at the festival each year.

We already have Deaffest – what’s different about incloodo? 

incloodu is aimed at everyone in society and is marketed accordingly. For example our name is incloodu, pronounced include you. We are extremely broad spectrum in our approach to promoting Deaf culture world wide.

What’s been the biggest challenge in organising the festival?

It has been a massive challenge generally speaking. Securing Rich Mix as the venue and attracting Arts Council and Tower Hamlets funding is probably top of the list though.

So, hard work done, now what are you most looking forward to?

I’m not going to name any artist particularly because they’re all excellent but honestly, I’m looking forward to Saturday and then a long lie in bed on Sunday!

I bet. It’ll probably be a very late night! Finally then, why can you never reach the middle of your back where the itch is?

I can, why can’t you?

incloodu opens tomorrow at 11am at the Rich Mix Arts Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London. You can find out more and get tickets from the official website.

Questions put by Andy Palmer

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