News

Making Watershed accessible for everyone

Posted on Wed 24 Aug 2016
David Ellington at our Matilda Read in a Day (credit: Jon Aitken)

We have a whole host of events in September that are accessible for Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people...

This photo is of David Ellington, a Deaf filmmaker, artist and British Sign Language (BSL) user reading a chapter from Roald Dahl's Matilda to a rapt audience of children and adults a couple of weeks ago. David did his chapter in BSL - and all of our hearing guest readers were accompanied by BSL interpreters.

This is just one example of the work we have been doing with David over the past year to help Watershed be as welcome, inclusive and accessible as we can to as many people as possible (have a look here for more of the particulars, including all of our staff training and looking closely at how we communicate). We've come to a stage now where building in Deaf access has become a regular part of our programme, and it's really evident in what we've got planned in September.

We have a monthly Deaf Conversations About Cinema event, which is a relaxed opportunity for both Deaf/hard of hearing and hearing customers to talk about a film with an invited guest and BSL interpreters. On Mon 12 Sept at 19:50 we are talking about Pedro Almodóvar's latest film Julieta (after the 18:20 screening) - it's a glorious return to his roots and we're looking forward to what you have to say about this story of love and loss.

The robots are coming (ones that dance - and talk - and sing - and do other cool things) on Tue 13 Sept at the free Being There Showcase (which will last all day). You don't have to be a robot expert to come and learn about our research project, just enjoy learning about the results, testing out the robotos and meeting the people behind them. The whole day has BSL interpretation.

Next up on Fri 16 Sept at 13:00 we invite you to Unfixed 2.0, where you can find out more about the work ten Australian and UK disabled artists have been investigating arts, disability, and technology. They will share their process, ideas, challenges and inspirations - it's totally free to come along but you do need to book a ticket. The event will have BSL interpretation.

September is also a time to welcome back Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival to the city, and we've also collaborated with them on a Deaf-friendly programme of shorts (Wed 21 Sept at 16:30) that celebrate deafness and the Deaf community. This screening will have BSL interpretation.

Ever fancied co-designing a bone conducting gobstopper?! You read that right! Pervasive Media Studio resident Sabrina Shirazi is looking for Deaf and hard of hearing participants for her free creative workshop on Thu 6 Oct at 18:30 that will explore how we 'feel' and 'digest' sound. You'll get to be part of great research and eat some yummy surprises. Grab your free ticket here! This one day workshop will have BSL interpretation.

We're also super excited to support Doing Things Differently, a huge week of performance, workshops and discussions in Bristol in September that is all about equality and diversity. Check out their programme here - you can spot David in one or two programmes, of course! We'll be front row to see him at the free outdoor circus spectacle Weighting on Sat 17 and Sun 18 Sept...!

Finally the Independent Cinema Office are working hard with partners to find out how Deaf friendly your local cinema is, with a view to understanding what needs to be done nationally to improve the provision of cinema for Deaf and hard of hearing audiences. There's a short survey here, which should only take a few minutes to complete, if you could please take the time to complete it we would be most grateful. Many thanks.