Deaf Explorer organised a trip to see the British Art Show, in hope that they could respond at a later date with an intervention. The weekend in November was enjoyable but the artists were surprised at the lack of sub titles on the films, and the amount of film – especially as many deaf artists make film and now don’t apply to Arts Council England, so it all a bit confusing on many levels.
It was felt by the artists – it would be pretty easy to do a deaf person’s response because of the experience of zero access in November during our visit. The deaf poet Donna Williams (Deaf Fire Fly) made a brilliant deaf access audit poetry piece, which was a good creative response to the issues. I think people unsure that continuing to respond to the lack of access is what is wanted to be done with the proposed intervention, or fits with the intention, or is how deaf explorer want to represent themselves. They want to be contemporary artists and not access auditors of art shows. This important, especially when deaf explorer are having success attracting deaf artists who want to be contemporary artists first and foremost, but require deaf explorer to support them because they encounter discriminating barriers to the arts system, that’s historic and hopefully with Abid Hussain at the diversity helm of Arts Council England will change.