The Signed Voices project, run by the Preston-based charity Deafway, has filmed and recorded conversations between members of the Deaf community residing in the North West of England.
Over the course of a year, around 200 participants had the opportunity to record their memories and experiences in their first or preferred language – British Sign Language.
The conversations are an authentic and diverse reflection of the Deaf community – covering a range of topics, from Deaf sports and history to baking for diabetics, childbirth and even pigeon keeping.
Deafway wanted the project to be as open as possible, so that anyone could contribute, thus creating a genuine representation of the Deaf community. Now, Deafway hope to create further opportunities for everyone to see and learn from this collection.
Here is one of the videos, below:
Drawing from the films Deafway put together a vibrant exhibition – showcasing quotes and extracts from the filmed conversations, photographs of the participants and information on Deaf heritage and history. In July 2016, this exhibition premiered at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster for Deaf and hearing people alike to view, and gain an insight into the Deaf community and culture.
A hugely successful celebration event was held on Saturday 9th July 2016 at Dukes Theatre to launch the exhibition and to thank all those who were involved. Over 130 people attended for what had promised to be an amazing day, and it didn’t disappoint!
The audience had a chance to view the exhibition, watch a preview of a thirty minute film on the Signed Voices project and to join guest panellists in a lively discussion about Deaf heritage. The day ended on a high with a drama performance inspired by Gerry Hughes’ adventure performed by the Dukes Deaf Drama group.
To ensure a record is kept for future generations these conversations will also be archived and made accessible by the British Deaf History Society (BDHS), Lancashire Archives in Preston, and Deafway.
Deafway hope to tour this exhibition across the UK, if you are interested in hosting the exhibition in your area please contact Deafway via the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first stop on the Signed Voices tour will be in Preston as part of the Lancashire Encounter Festival on September 23rd-25th 2016. Please have a look at Deafway’s website and Facebook www.facebook.com/deafwayuk for more information.
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