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


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.

Billy Read Dance Workshops


posterDeaf Explorer contacting schools in Wolverhampton,  and offering  a free high-quality dance workshop with Billy Read. Billy wants to involve young deaf children and young deaf people with an interest in dance in his project at The Way Youth Zone during the October Half term. He hopes that by involving schools in the recruitment and audition process young people who are new to the Way will get involved in the show Like Mirabai on Friday 28 th October 2016.

Read an interview with Billy Read in Participate 4 – a magazine published by Foundation for Community Dance

The workshop is funded by Arts Council England. If you are a school would like to make a booking for an inclusive workshop at your school, please contact.


Giving deaf artists support to work professionally in 2012

Explorers-Logo---resize2The Deaf Cultural Centre will give deaf artists support to work professionally, and to create new work in the future that can be presented at the DCC and other venues.  Our objective is to encourage and support deaf artists to work in the arts more and promote Deaf culture by demonstrating an artistic-led approach to diversity and access. Explorers is a wealth of high quality creativity on offer to arts organisations, and venues. We hope networking, collaborations, commissions and grants follow after our intrepid explorers international travel & research. We also believe the explorers will open doors for deaf audiences; by creating spaces and events where Deaf people, hearing people & hard of hearing people can all mix and socialize together and learn more and explore more about Deaf culture. We invited deaf creative’s to apply, challenging them to present proposals that would stretch their artistic practice, encouraging them to be inspired by international artists. The response was brilliant with extremely high quality proposals from the West Midlands &  across the UK. We think Explorers is a fantastic opportunity and hope you do too. If you are an arts organisation or promotor and wish to meet an explorer to show or develop their work please contact us.

Click image to download newsletter about winners of explorers 2013Front_page