'Inviting everybody to dance...'

Posted on Wed 17 May 2017
Goup of people discussing and signing about a film

Deaf Conversations About Cinema

At Watershed we want to ensure that we are as inclusive, welcoming and accessible as we can be for everyone. We know the best way to achieve this is to work with our partners, customers and audiences to learn and develop our skills and understanding of what we need to do to meet your needs in the hope that everyone feels welcome and comfortable here at Watershed.

This week sees two great awareness raising initiatives: Deaf Awareness Week (15–21 May) and Dementia Awareness Week (14–20 May) and it just so happens that we have been working with partners including David Ellington, a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user, filmmaker and artist from Bristol and Dementia Friends, an Alzheimers Society Initiative, to help us raise our own awareness and receive training and information.

Here’s a few examples which highlight the work we have been doing towards becoming more inclusive plus some opportunities to come and share your experiences thoughts and opinions with us.

Deaf Awareness Week aims to highlight the positive outcomes of being deaf aware and how involvement, not only throughout Deaf Awareness Week, but on a daily basis, can continue to improve the understanding of all types of deafness together with the communications methods that can be used.

To mark Deaf Awareness week we’ve made this very short introduction to Deaf awareness with our staff (many of whom have now had basic BSL training) that gives some very simple tips on how to communicate with a Deaf person. Over 60 members of our staff have had Deaf Awareness and basic BSL training so far thanks to the support and help of David Ellington.

As part of our ongoing work with David we also run a monthly BSL (British Sign Language) signed event - Deaf Conversations About Cinema – and this month’s takes place on Mon 22 May when we will be discussing the British comedy Mindhorn following the 17:50 Descriptive Subtitled screening. This screening will feature an introduction by writer and comedian Ellen Waddell and a post-show discussion with Ellen and other audience members - which will also feature simultaneous BSL (British Sign Language) interpretation.

It is also Dementia Awareness Week which aims to raise awareness, offer help and understanding and find a cure. On Monday we held a dementia friends information session with some of our front facing teams and as a result of the session 30 of our staff are now all dementia friends and have made pledges towards helping people living with dementia. This is the first step towards Watershed being a dementia friendly venue –

James, one of the attendees, said:

Attending the session has really made me think differently about people with dementia. I'm determined to use my learning in the workplace.

As part of Dementia Awareness Week, Pervasive Media Studio resident Chloe Meineck, creator of a new kind of reminiscence tool The Memory Box, will be in the Café/Bar on Sat 20 May between 15:00 and 16:00 demonstrating the Memory Box.

What is Music Memory Box?

It’s a kit that you fill with objects, photographs and music. The technology with the box enables you to play songs through objects. Music Memory Box harnesses the evocative power of music to create a tool for people living with dementia to recollect, reminisce and reconnect with loved ones. Think object jukebox and Desert Island Discs combined… please come and chat to the team,see the box and hear about this great project  

So just remember that everyone is welcome at Watershed and if you have any ideas or suggestions on what we can do to make sure you feel welcome please do let us know

Diversity is inviting people to the party, inclusivity is asking them to dance

John Dyer, No Boundaries 2015

We’re ready for the next dance, please come and join us.