This week is #DeafAwarenessWeek. Making events accessible to as many people as possible is an important part of my work, so this week I’m looking back to the 2019 Lancaster Jazz Festival where I had the pleasure to work with Diane Dewhirst as a BSL Interpreter for Nishla Smith’s gig.
million people internationally use sign language
There are approximately 70 million people internationally who use sign language, according to the World Federation for the Deaf. . Each country has it’s own sign language, and in the UK it’s British Sign Language (BSL). BSL is a visual-gestural language, with its own vocabulary and grammar structure, completely different to English. Facial expressions, hand movements, body, arms and upper torso all move in specific sequences to form the language.
Facial expressions, hand movements, body, arms and upper torso all move in specific sequences to form the language.
Working with Diane opened my eyes to the intricacies of BSL interpretation for music, not just translating the words but the sounds, rhythms and movements of the singers performance. Diane worked with Nishla in advance of the set to learn the lyrics and immerse herself in Nishla’s style to offer as full an experience as possible.
There’s lot's of great resources available about BSL Interpretation and best practice for Deaf audiences and participants for arts and cultural organisations.
Attitude is Everything - http://www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk
Signed Culture - https://www.signedculture.org.uk
Performance Interpreting - http://performanceinterpreting.co.uk