Breaking barriers



Photo: Rinkoo Barpaga

With 2 Unlimited grants for Rinkoo Barpaga and Billy Read Deaf explorer are improving opportunities for Deaf people in the arts and are delighted to announce funding from Awards For All for a mentoring programme to improve employment opportunities for diverse deaf creative people.

awards for all logoDeaf Explorer came together in 2013 to form peer-led group because they share a common experience and concern about the impact on creative individuals of communication barriers. Together they now want to deliver a pilot mentoring programme, called “Breaking Barriers” to find the next group of Deaf explorers. We will  guide diverse Deaf people to success in the arts and cultural industries in the UK and overseas.

Breaking Barriers will be a pilot and focus on aspiring deaf creative people and the topic will be employment. Mentoring will enable positive thinking, build confidence and support actions to make a difference in the lives of deaf people seeking careers in a vibrant diverse creative community, that they do not feel part of, due to communication barriers. Mentoring will focus on attracting deaf people interested in gaining access to the hearing world. Mentoring will respond to the individuals needs and improve life chances by promoting positive benefits of: 1) leadership 2) freelance and self employment 3) the business of social enterprise and benefiting people and communities, 4) voluntary opportunities 5) small grants for individuals and groups. Mentoring will encourage deaf people to move from benefits to employment.

Please use our contact form to find out more


Donna Williams deaf poet

Donna Williams is a deaf poet who uses English and British Sign Language. Working with such different languages has inspired a deep interest in translation and how her work can be made accessible to hearing and deaf audiences. She has performed at festivals around the UK including the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as in America and Brazil. Most recently, she has performed at the Albert Hall with BBC Orchestra of Wales, having composed poems in response to their pieces of music and at The Barbican as part of Jess Thom’s “Touretteshero Barbican Takeover”. Several of her poems have been published, most recently in Stairs and Whispers, an anthology of poems by deaf and disabled poets, and in Magma issue 69, released winter 2017. Her poems cover many themes, from bilingualism to identity, to her beloved cats. 

Poem in BSL and English by Donna Williams
Performed by Donna Williams
A film by Sandra Alland and Ania Urbanowska

Unlimited Success

Deaf Explorer are pleased to announce that Rinkoo Barpaga and Billy Read have won Unlimited R&D awards with the support of Deaf Explorer.

Rinkoo Barpaga Unlimited R&D 

Rinkoo Barpaga will tell the story of Bubble and Butch and reveal the vulnerability of young diverse deaf people. The bullying and discrimination stops when Bubble is asked to look after a mean looking dog called Butcher.  The dog is a metaphor for Bubbles access,  acting like a superhero at every encounter in the hearing world. Butcher transforms Bubbles life for the better.  The whole story will be communicated in a highly visual style; using for the first time urban sign language – a slanguage to demonstrate the creativity  amongst deaf people on the streets of the Uk. It will be a defiant new work tackling double discrimination, and mental health in the deaf world from a new script writing voice in the West Midlands, that is supported by Birmingham REP theatre and Unlimited.

Billy Read Unlimited International R & D

‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ is a cutting edge digital dance show, that will deepen audiences and dancers experience of sound. It will use live streaming to involve deaf audiences, in a narrative that will appeal to young people. Set in a dystopian future, where social justice has gone and tyranny prevails; deaf people sign language users are under surveillance, Unable to ‘whisper’ the two protagonists Billy Read and Ariel Fung Ching-wai use their dance skills to create a visual vocabulary to lead a rebellion amongst young deaf street dancers. Artistically Produced by mac, Birmingham the show will be premiered at mac as part of the IDFB (International Dance Festival Birmingham) and Sense of mac a festival about access for Visually impaired and hearing impaired audiences. In Hong Kong where Ariel Fung Ching-wai is based the show will be presented at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, following teaching at the school of Contemporary Dance, Fringe club a vibrant contemporary arts space that promotes emerging Hong Kong artists abroad through cultural exchange and overseas touring will support touring of the show in far East.

Audiovisuality Arlington Arts Centre

Painting By Olivier Jamin

Large Canvas work By Olivier Jamin “Vibration”

Visit Ruth Montgomery’s exhibition “Audiovisuality” at Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury

A “visual music” art form exploring various aspects of music from the perspectives of deaf and hearing artists, with a focus on capturing the visual language of music. The exhibition unveils the talents of 16 British Deaf Artists across a number of disciplines, including photography, sculpture, acting, textiles, Sign Language, musical composition and film.

Arlington Arts Centre, Mary Hare, Newbury RG14 3BQ Plan your visit: Website

About the Picture with Eloise Garland, Danny Lane and Ruth Montgomery

It is a common misconception that deaf people cannot enjoy or appreciate music beyond vibration – let alone hear it. The top part of the canvas shows the word vibration, which is the element of music that this artwork was focusing on. However, it is important to remember that vibration is just one element of music amongst others including dynamics, Beat, and texture. Acknowledging all of the elements of music beyond vibration opens up a whole new level of understanding. On the canvas, you can see many words surrounding the centrepiece of vibration, showing what can be gained by seeing the whole picture. By acknowledging the other elements, the word vibration certainly seems to fade into the background. Although I am a musician (Ruth Montgomery) and focus on sound, visual art is a brilliant tool to communicate a message of other people by raising cultural and social awareness.

Funded by Arts Council England

Fantastic Website about project 

Somebody’s Watching Me

communication with sign language

Billy Read and Fun Forrest Hong Kong

Billy Read invited to apply for Unlimited International Research Award 2017. Unlimited International will enable Billy Read to collaborate with Deaf dancers, Marcus Paulos (Brazil) and Sergio Ruiz Suarez (Spain.) Together they will make a dance show, ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’, exploring the theme of ‘surveillance;’ imagining a dystopian future

Find out about Unlimited Continue reading