Deaf Awareness Week: Arts for All

A framed white background with white gloves inside spelling something out in BSL.

Founded by the UK Council on Deafness, Deaf Awareness Week was created to promote greater awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by the d/Deaf community. Approximately 11 million people in the UK are part of the d/Deaf community, we wanted to highlight different ways that we work with the community to further Attenborough Arts Centre’s accessibility and reach so that we can bring the arts to all.

Throughout Attenborough Arts Centre, we work with a range of d/Deaf communities and individuals to understand their needs as we are committed to learning from those within the communities and not assuming best practices ourselves. Previously, we have undertaken staff-wide d/Deaf awareness training with artist Olivier Jamin to raise understanding and how to improve our own work. An award winning multi-talented contemporary art specialising in hand drawn multi-coloured arts, digital, videos and photography, we have also worked with him to create a BSL introduction video into our galleries to allow people to get a sense of the space and understand how it operates before visiting.

Our facilitates are used by a range of people including the local BSL Café. They utilise our spaces as a meeting place to learn and practice British Sign Language. To learn more about their work and take part, visit their Facebook.

Throughout all areas of our programming, we are constantly updating our knowledge on best practice to improve our accessibility. For exhibitions such as ‘In Which Language Do We Dream’, ‘Black Garden Paintings’ by Bruce McLean, ‘Playing in Wonderland’ by Mohammad Barrangi, and our latest ‘altered’ by Tony Heaton, we have held BSL Interpretated Exhibition tours with Olivier Jamin, as he uses his skills and experience in the arts sector as an artist himself to help audiences gain insight into the exhibitions.

Throughout our Performances programme, we work with artists who are in the d/Deaf community to support and develop their work. We regularly programme theatre with BSL and/or Closed Captioning to further accessibility. Two upcoming shows to watch out for in our Summer programme are ‘Made in India Britain’ and ‘Elvis is Dead’:

Rinkoo Barpaga presents Made In India Britain

Roo is a deaf Punjabi boy from Birmingham, living in a world that wasn’t made for him. Through pain and laughter, Roo narrates the impact of ableism and racism throughout his childhood and adult life, leading him to confront one key question: “Where do I belong?”

A coming of age story about discovering your community and the journey that follows. Come and be immersed in Roo’s world as he navigates across borders and grapples with his sense of identity.

All performances will be in BSL, Spoken English and Closed Captions.

Friday 26 May, 7pm – 8pm, Pay What You Can tickets

Blink Theatre presents Elvis Died of Burgers

Take a seat at BLINK’s table as 4 performer-directors spill the tea on their own memories, food stories and relationship to eating with plenty of their signature sensory and often bizarre tangents…Good Food Gospel anyone?

They explore the thin line between the hilarity and tragedy of overeating, and find themselves deep diving into the culinary conundrum surrounding the exact events of Elvis, The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, at the end of his life.

ELVIS DIED OF BURGERS has a non-linear narrative; its semi-improvised form creates an exhilarating ‘edge of your seat’ experience for audience and cast alike.

Performance features integrated BSL and is a relaxed performance.

Saturday 3 June, 7pm – 8pm, Pay What You Can tickets

Recently we have worked with Joanna Harrison, a freelance relay interpreter and Leicester-creative, to create a BSL interpretated video explaining our Pay What You Can ticketing system after we received feedback from the d/Deaf community that they needed an accessible explanation. This video can now be found at the bottom of all of our Pay What You Can shows.

As a centre we are constantly learning and evolving so that we can engage more communities and make the arts accessible to all. We are grateful for the d/Deaf communities and individuals we currently work with and cannot wait to make more connections in the future through exhibitions, performances, creative courses and more.

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