Square Eye 2

Square Eye 2 – Seeing Living Signing

March is the month of the Census, and it is the time to celebrate Deaf Culture and highlight Sign Language.

On the weekend of 23, 24, 25 April 2021, online audiences using Facebook and Zoom will experience and take part in a brilliant Deaf culture festival.

Heriot-Watt University is collaborating with Deaf Explorer to bring together academics, activists, influencers, theatre-makers, film-makers, storytellers, poets and VV artists.

The festival aims to spotlight talent, commission new work and present panel discussions about Culture, Language and Representation.

The culture panel aims to bring together world-class thinkers and practitioners to discuss the impact of deaf people working as academics, film-makers, theatre-makers, and activists. They will explore how they have changed practice in their area of expertise, widening understanding of Deaf people and Sign Language. What is the future? How can Deaf culture grow in a time of acknowledgement by funders seeking to develop personal creative potential? What will the opportunities for Deaf people look like, and what training do they need to seize the opportunities? How can Sign Language be more visible and gain more traction as a language in its own right? What is needed now?

Dr Paddy Ladd is a Deaf scholar, author, activist and researcher of Deaf Culture. Trudi Collier will describe her work about deaf people’s heritage and cultural identity. Film & Television is vital to maintaining Deaf Culture, and the industry will be represented by Julian Peedle-Calloo (Executive Producer of BSL Zone) Culture is also about grassroots deaf, Zoe McWhinney is on the cusp of all things new, and using digital spaces to debate hot topics in the deaf community. Similarly grassroots  activists use social media to highlight inequality for deaf people. Culture is the result of Creative process, Theatre-making by deaf and disabled people tells new stories and brings new audiences to the theatre and has transformed practice, creating opportunities for deaf and disabled people to work in the theatre industry. We will be bringing a leading practitioner to the panel.

In addition to exploring the future of Deaf culture,  will be a discussion about Language and Identity.  Annelies Kusters, Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University, is interested in gesture-based communication and has investigated social relationships between the deaf and hearing inhabitants, deaf space-making, deaf sociality, discourses about the cause of deafness, language practices and language ideologies. Stand-up Comedian Rinkoo Barpaga travels internationally and is currently developing a project with Deaf reach in Pakistan. Urban sign language, intersectionality and visual methods of communication in urban locations will be discussed by Athlete and presenter Asnath Mokeka Losala. Emma Illife will discuss teaching British Sign language to hearing people.

Right now, who represents and make decisions for Deaf people who use Sign language is key to the future of Deaf culture. It is why the census is an important moment for deaf people.

The arts, health, education, and services can all improve. The topic of Representation will be discussed by Kevin Buckle, Grant Ferguson, Steve Emery and Alison Bryan.

Names subject to change, return to our website for updates.