May 27, 2009

BSL Programme: Under the Lamp with Carolyn Nabarro

chat_series1.gifBSLBT is now screening a series, Under the Lamp with Carolyn Nabarro. This is a BSL chat style programme, and the guests for the first episode are Stephen Dering, Issy Schisselman and Oliver Westbury. It was produced by Remark! If you missed it or are outside the UK, you can catch it online.

BSLBT's Wicked Series One is now complete, of which there were eight episodes. Again, you can catch up with this online via BSLBT plus its available on the Community Channel (if you want to max your screen).

Comment from Alison:
Its good these programmes are being commisssioned and clearly lots of hard work has gone into getting these off the ground. Well done to those involved.

One wish from me. Someone really needs to think about creating a progamme with some assumed knowledge of the Deaf community. I get bored with watching a lot of the superficial stuff that comes out of both See Hear and BSLBT. Think about it, a lot of your core audience are people who hang around the Deaf community, and who know their stuff. Thus why are programme makers always targeting the most basic level? Sure, on its face it looks like inclusiveness (assume no knowledge), but in fact it shuts many people out and is a waste of valuable airtime. Featuring individuals are a good thing, because it tells stories but it still comes across as somewhat patronising. Squeezing one person per ten minutes, does it really get to know a person and their fundamental beliefs or what makes them tick? I don't think it does. Where's the BSL equivilent of BBC 4? Media people collaborate with academics, and start teaching people at another level. Why isn't a Deaf Studies department getting their work commissioned, bring those journals to life? Not the same stuff that gets rehashed for the billionth time, push those boundaries.

May 6, 2009

Radio New Zealand Interviews Markku Jokinen

Radio New Zealand interviews Markku Jokinen, Executive Director of Finnish Association of the Deaf and President of World Federation of the Deaf. The interview is in ASL, NZSL and spoken English.

If you're interested in what is happening in New Zealand, you might like to watch an interview with Rachel Nobel, CEO of Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

April 6, 2009

Wicked Episode 2 Online


The second episode of BSBLT's Wicked is now online. You can find it on Wicked's website here or on the Community Channel here. (27 minutes 5 seconds).

Community Channel
Kent DCS

April 3, 2009

Film: Voices from El-Sayed at Bristol

Voices from El-Sayed (Israel) is being shown at the Watershed, Bristol on Saturday 9 May 2009 (1500).

You can see the trailer here:

The presentation is described as:

The Bedouin Village of El-Sayed has the largest percentage of Deaf people in the world. Through generations a unique sign language has evolved as the primary communication in a society that accepts deafness as natural as life itself. That is, until the village's tranquil coexistence between Deaf and hearing is disrupted by Salim's decision to dramatically change his Deaf son's fate through a Cochlear Implant operation. Presented in partnership with University of Bristol's Centre for Deaf Studies, the screening will be followed by a discussion on the issues raised in this intimate and moving documentary. BSL Interpreters will be present.

This is the only place we know of that this film is being shown in the UK. Limited tickets, so if you're interested hurry up and book

UPDATE: BSL version is now available,

First Hand Films: Voices From El Sayed (aka A Snail in the Desert)
Book tickets for Voices From El-Sayed @ the Watershed
Event on Facebook - New film: Voices From El Sayed (A Snail in the Desert)
Centre for Deaf Studies, University of Bristol
Voices from El Sayed, Fan page Facebook

April 1, 2009

Wicked Episode 1 Online


In case you missed it, the first episode of BSBLT's Wicked is now online. You can find it here (27 minutes 6 seconds).

Wicked is described as:

Wicked is a brand-new TV series presented in British Sign Language (BSL), which sees the Wicked Campervan travelling around the UK in search of stories in the Deaf Community.

You can of course catch this on television too, check the programme schedule.

Congratulations to everyone who got this off the ground.

But! I have one gripe. This is BSL money, it has been taken from money intended to provide in-vision interpreters and access for BSL as a language. No-one has taken any subtitling money away, and redistributed it via some pot.

Therefore, why the embedded English subtitles? If you are going to raise the status of BSL as a language through television, why pull that status down by the insistence of embedded English subtitles? Don't get me wrong, if people who don't use BSL want access fine, but provide another video with subtitles, or the ability to turn the subtitles off.

However, don't get away from the fact you're using BSL funding here. You don't see English subtitles that must be embedded into say Welsh language programmes. Or English as a killer language must be delivered on French spoken programmes. What is the difference? Why are we having English subtitles forced on us? I want to access a programme in one language: BSL. In the same way as I can pick to watch a programme in Welsh, and no English. End of story.

UPDATE: You can now view episodes via the programme page (as well as the Community Channel).

Deaf Jet Ski
Community Channel

See also:
BSLBT, Wicked TrailerOfcom's response to a formal complaint around lack of BSL consultation

March 14, 2009

BSLBT, Wicked Trailer


A trailer for BSLT's Wicked is online, and can be found here. We look forward to the 1st April!

Wicked (pilot)

See also:
Ofcom's response to a formal complaint around lack of BSL consultation
Ofcom's lack of proactiveness
Ofcom fails its own Disability Equality Scheme?

March 7, 2009

Hear and Now - More4, Tuesday


More4 will broadcast HBO's Hear and Now (USA) on Tuesday 10 March 2009 from 10pm - 12 midnight. You should be able to catch it on More4 +1 from 11pm - 12 midnight (again on Tuesday).

Here's a trailer (subtitled):

There is a longer trailer here, but its only subtitled when deaf people are speaking. Can someone please explain, why hearies must only have subtitles for the bits they cannot understand? Does anyone see the irony here, a programme about the dilemma around cochlear implants, hearing people are being exclusive and its small wonder why people get pushed into a corner. For the thousandth time to all hearies out there, if you're going to produce media about deaf people and make money off it (or even a stick deaf content on YouTube); at least have the ethics to make it accessible to deaf people. So we can join in the conversation. This should be a no brainer and non negotiable. (Someone might want to submit the video to SubPLY for captioning, if you do, please post the link below).

An extract from the programme's synopsis:

Both age 65 and deaf since birth, husband and wife Paul and Sally Taylor led rich lives filled with jobs, hobbies, passions and the support of a devoted four-generation family, including their own three hearing children. Pioneers in the deaf community, Sally worked as a teacher and a college secretary and lent her expert lip-reading skills to law enforcement investigations, while Paul, an engineer and retired professor, helped develop the TTY, a widely-used telecommunication device for the hearing-impaired.

When the Taylors announced just before retirement that they planned to get cochlear implants - a breakthrough technology that could restore their ability to hear - their decision was met with mixed feelings by their daughter. "After this surgery, who will they be?" she asks. "Will they still be deaf people, or hearing people, or will they be something in between? What if the implant doesn't work? What if one of them can hear and the other one can't?"

You can read the rest of the synopsis here.

The interview with Irene Taylor Brodsky worth a read. Within this she admits, that the film is only superfically about cochlear implantation but around intimacy.

Beyond that, having not seen the film we can't comment. The synopsis, trailer and even the poster seems is written with a hearing audience in mind. Does anyone know of any US blogs that commented on this after broadcast (especially with a Deaf slant), that we could link to?

See also:
Cochlear Implants prevent 'scrambling' in deaf brains
Parliament: Cochlear Implants & National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence
Cochlear's dirty marketing tricks
Oh god, not more CI deaths
Cochlear's aggressive marketing working
Cochlear Implantation Increases Meningitis Risk
Cochlear set to grow 20% in 5 years

HBO: Hear and Now

February 28, 2009

Hearies and 'Signing for the Deaf'

Hearies are at it again, trying to make sense of the in-vision interpreter and the only way they know how to deal with it is by way of their version of humour. For me half the point of in-vision interpreting is to remind hearing people deaf people exist. Planting this into their consciousness goes a long way. Here's a clip from YouTube:

I'll admit I half laughed at their perception, but at the same time I actually found it really difficult to watch or appreciate their perspective. Why? Because there's two different dialogues coming at you, that's what happens when you understand the two languages.

If you look at the comments under the video, its all about how much the speech bubbles are distracting; and how it is just about them.

Btw - I detest the term, "the deaf". Another post for another day.

Adam Buxton: Out of Focus Group C News

February 26, 2009

Channel 4: Language of Love

Channel 4'sdocumentary The Seven Ages of Love, describes itself as:

Zara Hayes combines documentary and poetry to paint a funny and moving portrait of what love means to seven very different couples.

One of the clips features a deaf couple, and its called the Language of Love is online. Unfortunately, not all of it is subtitled; except when Yvonne and Reg are communicating.

Note to Channel 4 - if you're going to use deaf people in the name of entertainment then it subtitles should be standard.

4oD: The Seven Ages of Love (don't bother if your a deafie - Channel 4 has no subtitles online)

September 30, 2008

New British Deaf film coming soon!


Hooray, another BSL film in the pipeline... click here to see photos from the filming.

Know of any more British Deaf films being made? Please tell us - we like to know these things!

Further info:
The first Four Deaf Yorkshiremen film

May 13, 2008

Parliament: Subtitling & Sign Language on Television

logo-deptculturemediasport.gifA question in parliament around subtitling on television:

Rosie Cooper (PPS (Mr Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State), Department of Health; West Lancashire, Labour)

What steps are being taken to ensure that television programmes are accessible to deaf children—and deaf adults, for that matter—through more comprehensive subtitling and sign language for programmes?

Andy Burnham (Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Leigh, Labour)

I do not know whether my hon. Friend was present in the reception in the House last week at which we marked the successful completion by the BBC of 100 per cent. Subtitling on all programmes —a condition and requirement laid down in the Communications Act 2003. Other public service broadcasters are currently reaching about 90 per cent., I believe, and I hope that they will follow the BBC's lead and work towards 100 per cent. subtitling. Watching TV and enjoying programmes at the same time as other people is an incredibly important part of ensuring that there are no barriers and no discrimination in our society. I pay tribute to the work of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, and indeed of my hon. Friend, on this issue.

Comment from Alison:
I've commented on this issue before, so I'm not going to repeat. Firstly, it appears that the government is doing its own media spin here, and advertising a success. Both MPs are from the same party, etc and it almost looks like an act to show its being inclusive / pat itself on the back. That's me being cynical.

However, why does the RNID take sole credit for the issue of subtitling, and give impression to MPs that this work is their sole doing? I'm sure lots of unpaid deafies burning midnight oil for decades, would be downright pleased that up to £100k salaries (who've been in a job a few months or years, tops) bag the glory. It lacks integrity.

They Work For You

See also:
BBC Vision Celebrates 100% Subtitling

The Guardian: The Sign Language Teacher; the Personal Experience of John Smith

johnsmith.jpgThe Guardian has published a hitting piece on the reality of deaf education, through the personal experience of John Smith, who is known for his Deaf comedy:

I went to a primary school for the deaf, where we weren't allowed to use sign language. We were forced to speak, using hearing aids. What was the point of that? It makes me angry just thinking about it. When the teachers' backs were turned, we used to sign to each other.

I learned nothing at school. The teachers told me I was rubbish. I used to get very tense and stressed out. I was good at maths, but I struggled with English. Even now I find writing difficult. I use a lot of "text" speak and struggle with more complicated words. I'll often ask a translator to sign things back to me if there are long words or lots of jargon.

At 11, I went to a mainstream school with a deaf unit. School was OK, but I had no deaf friends living nearby. The hearing children used to tease me a lot. I felt very low and frightened.

Education failed me. I left school with CSEs in woodwork and history. I didn't have any friends. I felt damaged by the education system, angry that I was discouraged from using my own, natural language. I hadn't been taught British Sign Language (BSL) at all. I'd picked up most of it informally.

John then goes onto describe the positives in his life now, which you can read by clicking onto the link below.

The Guardian The Sign Language Teacher

See also:
BBC Video Footage: John Smith, Deaf Comedian

John Smith: Beautiful BSL

Continue reading "The Guardian: The Sign Language Teacher; the Personal Experience of John Smith" »

May 9, 2008

BBC Vision Celebrates 100% Subtitling

logo-bbc.jpgThe BBC says it has now reached a 100% subtitling target in respect of television:

BBC Vision has confirmed that it has reached its target of subtitling 100% of programs on its main channels - BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies, CBBC and BBC News. Deaf and hard of hearing people will now be able to fully enjoy the complete range of BBC television programs on these networks.

This is good news, and the hard work of campaigners, especially that of the Deaf Broadcasting Council spanning over decades.

Historical Context

A public commitment for 100% television subtitling output came in 1999, from a road that started in 1979:

In 1979, a documentary about deaf children called Quietly In Switzerland became the first BBC programme to carry subtitles using the brand new Ceefax technology ....

Blue Peter was the first live program to carry subtitles in 1986 and subtitling of news programs followed in 1990.

Any gripes?

Of course - this is GOD!

Is this really 100%? What about the announcement saying what programme is on next, and a commentary about context. Yes I'm nitpicking, but 100% is meant to mean just that.

Its a shame that the BBC focuses on two deaf organisations in its press release, and doesn't really give credit where its due. Will these people get invited to a knees up at parliament, I mean the ones that worked for 0p and probably did their campaigning at 2am?

Subtitling probably existed because initially because of National Union of the Deaf (NUD) and later Deaf Broadcasting Council, and those who worked towards achieving this goal. Since I don't think I've been around long enough, who would people nominate as key players for where subtitling is today?

Additionally, this is not a time to be complacent. I've got a lot more to say about subtitling and the BBC, i.e. the dire state of affairs when it comes to non existent subtitles for online services, more on this soon.

What about other channels?

The output targets of other channels under the Communications Act 2003 are:

[T]he analogue services of ITV and Channel 4 must reach 90% by 2010; and Channel Five must reach 80% by 2008 ... All new digital channels must reach a level of 60% five years after their start-up, and 80% after ten years.

BBC Vision celebrates 100% subtitling
Hearing Concern: Subtitling Campaign

See also:
BBC & accessible online content
iPlayer: A Deaf Perspective
BBC on YouTube, but where's the subtitles?
BBC iPlayer, Part 2

May 3, 2008

Deafness Matters

I was just rooting through Teachers TV for any more programmes around deaf issues. The only ones there, appear to be old, but not programmes we've covered on here before.

Here's Deafness Matters:

The project was developed by Fran Simmons and Erika Stevenson for young people from the Oxfordshire Deaf Children's Society.

You can buy this dvd from here.

Whilst such a portrayal from young people should be encouraged, you can't help but noticing the underlying hearing analysis of deaf people. For a start, will someone please tell that instructor to actually look at deaf people when talking, and it also underlines the need for role models. Who is shaping the self esteem of these young people to demand to be equals instead of fitting into a hearing world?

Its good that Teachers TV is carrying such programmes, and should only be encouraged. They do have other programmes on their website relating to deaf children in education, unfortunately none of these are subtitled. Nothing about us, without us. Note to Teachers TV - please subtitle these videos, I for one would like to watch them. Details of these programmes is available in the extended entry of this post.

See elsewhere:
Oxford Mail - DVD highlights deafness issues

See also:
Welcome 2 My Deaf World, an Australian film

Continue reading "Deafness Matters" »

April 20, 2008

David Lodge: Deaf Sentence (forthcoming book)

David LodgeDavid Lodge was an author I came across in the early 1990s, when I was a student at the University of Birmingham. He was once a lecturer there, and my flatmate who studied English, happened to have one of his books which I took an interest in. Subsequently became one of my favourite authors, especially for his sense of humour and ability to see irony. I met Lodge at the Hay Festival a couple of years ago (where the above picture was taken).

This is part of what I wrote afterwards:

Lodge is actually hard of hearing, and was conscious of not being able to pick up the questions from the audience. He stated that he would need to get them repeated, but turns out that the audio system was good enough for him to hear. He actually commented, "My wife would like one of these at home", to which he got a response from the audience. [snip]

Lodge being hard of hearing was evident at the book signing, his confidence in interacting with the punters was obvious. [As a good strategy] Everyone had to write the names on paper, what they wanted to appear signed inside their book. He then left communication to his wife, who made small talk. I so wanted to bypass this and communicate with him myself, but I abided by their set etiquette. Mrs Lodge asked where I was from, and being a small town with an added remote factor I was surprised she recognised it. This didn't stop my frustration as to what I was seeing re communication, and I so wanted to communicate direct. Perhaps I will take a line of thosewhoseearsarebroken along next time, to join me.

To get to the point of this post, David Lodge has a forthcoming book called Deaf Sentence (published 1 May). When stumbled across this a few months ago, I was stopped in my tracks. Its title was enough of a give away, and I already I anticipated a certain perspective for a deafened person.

Whilst Lodge is free to write whatever he wanted, I have to admit the thought went through my head "What if he stops being one of my favourite authors, because he won't be able to find any humour in this?!" However, I gritted my teeth and diligently I added the book to my wish list, and to wait for it to be launched.

He has written a piece for today's Sunday Times:

My own awareness of having a hearing problem was more gradual. I was in my late forties, teaching full-time in the English department at Birmingham University and finding it more and more difficult to hear what students were saying in tutorials and seminars. At first I blamed the students for mumbling and murmuring – which many do, of course, out of diffidence or fear of seeming overassertive to their peers – but I had coped well enough in the past.

As a side note - through the eyes of an alumnus - his references to the university is a slightly uncanny. Lodge's fiction can be surreal; his descriptions of a fictional based campus etc, façades of which leaves me screaming, 'That's Birmingham!' However, whilst I had own issues as a deaf person with the same university, my context was different. Sure I had major issues over access (the funding wasn't as it was today, and pre-DDA days); I went through the start of a deaf to Deaf transition. It was the place I learnt to sign, the place I was at when I got assessed for a CI (yes really!) and went through every long drawn out emotion imaginable then rejected it, the place where I started to meet hearing people on different terms, and I had a whole identity crisis in the process. To think I'd only gone there to study law!

Lodge's article whilst honest in its approach for his experience, and not something I would want to take away; however, its somewhat frustrating. You almost want to go and tell him, "Just be deaf! Don't try and exist as a pretend hearie, it really isn't worth it!" Go get speech to text, instead of grapping with playing by hearing rules, with their headphones and so forth, then failing. Because trying to be a pseudo hearie now, is a set up for failure. For a deafened person, one might describe it as a hearie (identity wise) trapped in a deaf body. Yet you almost want to shout, "You need to develop such an attitude towards all hearies including the inner one; you still have things to do, places to see!" There's way too much talent there.

He goes onto expand on what he perceives to be the impact of being deafened on a novelist's life:

However, deafness restricts and thins out the supply of new ideas and experience on which the novelist depends to create his fictions. That former nun’s life story might have been priceless “material” and I regret its loss. I miss opportunities to eavesdrop on humanly revealing conversations on buses and in shops and to keep up with new idioms, coinages and catch-phrases that give flavour and authenticity to dialogue in a novel of contemporary life.

And then further elaborates that, "I have found some relief in writing a novel about it [being deaf]".

I respect as a deafened person he will grieve the loss of his hearing, however one cannot help see a sadness in his undertones. For an author that I hold affection for (from his writing), inside you are almost want to introduce him to positive vibes that can happen from being around deaf people. The amount of good Lodge could do in his position is infinite. His use of 'deafies' in his lingo struck a note, and found myself smiling inwardly. Rock on!

Lodge ends his article, "But I won’t be having a launch party" which saddens me the most. Invite a room full of deafies, you could have a ball.

UPDATE: The Observer (Guardian) has an interview, which gives more away about the book's plot, and draws similarities or difference between personal experience and a fictional character:

So how does Desmond's deafness compare to Lodge's? If this were Deaf Sentence, Lodge would shout: 'How does Desmond's wetness come to be shown?' But in fact, he just frowns, and says: 'It's a heightened and altered version of my experience. Actually, while I was writing the book, my hearing wasn't as bad as I thought it was. My hearing aid had given out. So in some ways, I had a slightly gloomier view of my deafness when I wrote it. Though I shall get to his stage, of course.' But still, though he once complained that deafness was treated in fiction, as in life, as a comic disability rather than a tragic one, such as blindness, he decided to make his novel funny rather than sad.

The Times: Living under a deaf sentence
The Observer (Guardian): Nice work

UPDATE 2: The Progress Educational Trust, who recently organised a debate in Cardiff on ‘Debating Deafness And Embryo Selection: Are We Undermining Reproductive Confidence In The Deaf Community?’ (link points to a transcript), is currently auctioning a copy of a signed Lodge book on eBay.

The Times: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge
Daily Mail: Now it's till deaf do us part

The Independent: Deaf Sentence, Eeyore enters the confessional
All The Young Dudes: The Idol-Maker: David Lodge - Deaf Sentence

The Times: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Is silence really golden?
The Sunday Times: Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

Deaf Sentence (Amazon link)
David Lodge - Encyclopedia Britannica

April 16, 2008

More ASL Pepsi advertising

(I'm not sure why this one done by Keith Wann and Justin Callaway didn't seem to get as much attention as the other one? Perhaps they're meant to link together or something. I don't know how USA advertising works?)

Anyway - always good to see more ASL out there in the big wide world :o)


March 26, 2008

Channel 4 Balls of Steel: Deaf TV with Miss Lee & Mark Nelson

Last Friday Mark Nelson appeared on Channel 4's Balls of Steel:

Don't watch it if you're easily offended!

A transcript appears in the extended entry of this post, with thanks to Claire from Team HaDo.

Continue reading "Channel 4 Balls of Steel: Deaf TV with Miss Lee & Mark Nelson" »

March 13, 2008

KFC SAVES "the hearing impaired"!

Wow. According to this article, KFC have bowed to their "social responsibility" and started to give "hearing impaired" people jobs.

So if you too want to be specially trained how to lipread difficult things like "Toasted Twister" and "Zinger Burger", now's your chance! Get yourself down to KFC and they will help you.

But, DON'T WORRY. They also employ "normal people" too, just to make sure vegetarians aren't served meat and stuff like that. Phew.

- Jen

March 11, 2008

Genetics: BBC Radio Transcript Links & BBC lack of impartiality

Transcripts of yesterday's genetics programmes on Radio 2 and Radio 4 is on the Stop Eugenics:

BBC Radio 4: Today

BBC Radio 2: Jeremy Vine Show

These transcripts were provided as goodwill through personal connections, however the BBC has failed badly in this respect. As a public service provider, the BBC should have an obligation to make accessible content, i.e. transcripts, especially if its talking about DEAF PEOPLE. More than a day later, these transcripts have not being available.

This is not just a disability discrimination issue, but compromises the BBC's impartiality and introduces bias. If only one part of the population can access the content and the other not (the group that is being attacked), then its obvious that subsequent debate will not be neutral and reflective of opinion.

Online discussion has taken place via online message boards: Women's Hour, Today, The Jeremy Vine Show and a general Have Your Say discussion.

This debate will be without balance. How can it be balanced, since officially the information remains inaccessible? 24 plus hours is a long time in the world of the media, and people will not go back to this debate several days (weeks?) after a broadcast to allow deaf people to catch up and participate. There was yet more coverage on Today this morning (featuring Lord Winston), however we cannot access this. For this, I would recommend anyone with the energy to make an official complaint to the BBC, in the meantime surely a production secretary can type something up? Transcription cannot be that difficult, and Its about as complicated as people wish to make it.

This issue has had significant media attention in the last couple of days, which includes all the major broadsheets, and more radio and television scheduled. I will attempt to summarise and list these links on the Stop Eugenics site, including forthcoming media coverage.

BBC link to make a Complaint if anyone wants to follow up
List of links where this issue is gaining coverage

January 25, 2008

Pepsi Superbowl Advert

The USA's Pepsi Superbowl advert based around a Deaf joke can be found on YouTube:

And behind the scenes:

Congratulations to those involved, more please. We're jealous this side of the pond, although its not the first international mainstream Deaf based commercial.

In the UK we've had a couple of BSL based commercials, including a humourous BT advert using BSL, starring Fifi Garfield about 8 years ago.

Nice to see positive representations of Deaf people, and an excellent way of companies promoting positive images as well as selling their product.

Via Yoav, Joe, Katrina - thanks!

Pepsi USA - Bob's House
The Boston Globe - Pepsi ad to give Super Bowl viewers a moment of silence
NAD Works With PepsiCo on Super Bowl Ad in American Sign Language

See also:
Sign language in advertising

Almost too insulting for words

Forgive me for losing my sense of humour, but I was definitely NOT amused this morning when I read Deafweekly's report on a "sign language lady randomly waving her arms around during a British children's TV programme." You can read more about it here.

Er, is it real?! Someone, please reassure me either way.

If it isn't, is the RNId quote fake too?

And if is, is it really 2008, or did I wake up in 1968 or something?

- Jen

January 24, 2008

Cathy Heffernan, Being deaf has one big advantage when you're travelling abroad - it breaks down all the barriers

Cathy Heffernan currently has a piece in The Guardian, Being deaf has one big advantage when you're travelling abroad - it breaks down all the barriers.

In places where politically correct language and attitudes haven't arrived, people are free to describe deafness in gloriously insulting ways ....... Give me that any day over the phrases considered PC here in Britain: "hearing challenged" or "hearing impaired", to skirt around the fact that I am, at the end of the day, bloody deaf. In the supposedly "backward" cultures of the developing world, people point and gesture. "You deaf?" Then they shrug in mild interest or laugh and elbow each other in fascination. Either way, they never seem to recede in awkwardness or embarrassment; rather than stumbling around the elephant in the room, they're prodding it, feeding it ... I love every bit of it.

Go read.

January 15, 2008

Mixed bag

As the title suggests, this blog post is a bit of a mixed bag, mostly because I haven’t blogged here for a while and things tend to pile up. So, here we go…

Firstly, what is this about captioned radio ‘for deaf people’?! (You can read more about it here and here and here.) While this has been a long time coming, Tony was right in pointing out that deaf people cannot interact with captioned radio by calling in and making comments like hearing people do. I really can’t think why any Deafie would like to use one, apart from maybe to gain access to song words (if music can be captioned? I’m unsure?), or to see what their hearing families/partners/friends/housemates are listening to from time to time. Aside from that, imagine a Deafie buying one and just sitting watching these scrolling words over and over and over again, with no visual simulation, intonation or anything!? How very boring. I’m sure the inventors meant well..!

More importantly, we’ve been wondering what would happen after Malcolm Bruce MP brought up BSL recognition at the Prime Minister's Questions on 12th December, and Gordon Brown agreed to meet a “delegation of sign language users”. Surprise, surprise, the UKCoD appear to have taken over again… or maybe they were behind the whole thing, as Malcolm Bruce is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness, and UKCoD seems to be attached to it in some way (please correct me if I’m wrong)?

Anyway, the latest UKCoD Bulletin, which found its way into GOD’s inbox (*we are NOT members(!)), says that Gordon Brown’s meeting with sign language users is “being arranged and the details will be announced shortly.” It continues…

“To prepare for the meeting the All Party Group are holding a series of pre-meetings to debate the issues that should be raised with the Prime Minster.

The first meeting is being held on Tuesday 22 January at Westminster. Places at the meeting are limited, anyone wishing to attend should please book their place with Jonathan Isaac, Clerk to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness at”

What I want to know is:

1) Who is going to this meeting?! Just UKCoD members?
2) Are they Deaf BSL users?
3) If not, what the hell are they doing there?
4) If so, what do they really know about BSL recognition?

We all know that UKCoD is an ‘umbrella organisation’ which has loads of hearing-led member organisations which are AGAINST BSL and PRO oral, and aim to cure the-awful-thing-that-is-deafness and whatever else. So what does BSL recognition have to do with them?! And what does Joe Deaf have to do to get his view to Gordon Brown? He has to go via an organisation that has to go through UKCoD, and when it's gone through X number of people, is 'his' view still his? I doubt it.

Let’s just hope that the BDA’s renewed UKCoD membership helps somewhat, if they can get a word in amongst all the non-BSL users and audiologists. And yes, I am cynical. I have reason to be.

On the same subject, the NDCS has suddenly become interested in BSL recognition too – correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall much happening there before? But anyway, they seem to be going along to this meeting with Gordon. The questions above apply again.

The NDCS is also calling on Gordon Brown to “ensure the parents of every deaf child who uses sign language are offered free, high quality and local child-focused sign language classes to enable the whole family to communicate effectively together and ensure that the child is included in the family unit at all times.”

Great idea… I would have thought that the NDCS would have done this already, as they are an organisation for parents of deaf children?? Isn’t that the kind of thing that they’re meant to do anyway, as well as promoting CIs and the other stuff that they do? Maybe not. I’m also concerned that they seem to think that this is what BSL recognition is about, as well as having Level 3 CSWs in schools. Sigh.

Whatever happens, it is clear that we need someone who knows what BSL recognition is about to go along to that meeting. Not just random deafies who can sign a bit and wear a suit, or people who think they know what’s what because they work for organisations with “deaf” or “hearing” (ha!) in their names. Life is never simple, is it? And no, I’m not biting the hand that feeds me. Hell, if I relied on that hand to feed me, I’d starve to death.


January 10, 2008

Do you know of anyone going through or considering IVF?

If so could you please contact BBC See Hear team by e mailing:

david (dot) street (at) bbc (dot) co (dot) uk

(make obvious changes to the e mail address).

Its in relation to a programme on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Thanks.

December 30, 2007

Rebecca Atkinson, Everyone in Jodee Mundy's family is deaf - except her

jodee.jpgDeaf people working in the media is important, and after last week's Sunday Times article - has to be one of he most unintelligent journalism pieces I've read in a long time - it kind of highlights this point that people need to be working in this field that really get the issues. Media portrayal is a powerful force on the general public perception.

Rebecca Atkinson's latest article in the Guardian: Everyone in Jodee Mundy's family is deaf - except for her. Whilst not new to us, it perhaps gently educates the public over perceptions of deaf people, and CODAs.

This focuses on Jodee Mundy, an Australian based in London since 2002, a qualified interpreter, acting credits and a co-founder of TheatreINtranslation

More positive media please, we badly need it.

See also:
Rebecca Atkinson, "Do I want my sight back?"
Open Letter re See Hear in Broadcast Now

Continue reading "Rebecca Atkinson, Everyone in Jodee Mundy's family is deaf - except her" »

September 29, 2007

YouTube: Bursted Eardrum / Sam Dore, films

Sam Dore, of Bursted Ear Drum has now added his films to You Tube. The channel can be found here. People in the UK will be familiar with his films, and its good to see Sam promoting his talent on the net, via indirect marking. Here's a selection of his films:

More of Sam Dore's films on his You Tube channel.

September 3, 2007

Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, A Trailer

A one minute trailer for the forthcoming film 'Four Deaf Yorkshiremen', has been released. The film made over the summer, is about one man who challenges the others to tell him the worst story about growing up deaf. It was written and directed by Charlie Swinbourne, and stars John Smith, Ilan Dwek, Matt Kirby and Jonathan Reid.

Here's the trailer:

For those of you who don't understand BSL, Charlie hopes there will be a subtitled version to follow. The full 12 minute film will be released in November 2007, presumably to coincide with Deaffest.

UPDATE: Charlie sez:

The film was made in one afternoon in a pub in Twickenham, on a very low budget of £185! Basically I wrote the script back in May after seeing a classic Monty Python sketch on TV, and decided to write something for the deaf audience inspired by that sketch. Everyone who participated in the film gave their time for free, with the aim of putting some new deaf drama on the web for everyone to watch. Make up came from Kellie Moody who did a great job, and the most important part was Remark Productions, who gave not only camera man (Mark Nelson) and equipment but also gave me use of their editing facilities (the film is still being finished!). The final film will be out for all to see at the end of November, in two versions so people can watch with or without subtitles depending on their use of BSL!

UPDATE 2: The subtitled version can now be seen here.

See also:
BBC Access 2.0: Interview with Charlie Swinbourne

August 30, 2007

Rebecca Atkinson, "Do I want my sight back?"

Back in July, Rebecca Atkinson's "Do I want my sight back?", was published in the Guardian. Rebecca has Usher's, and the piece is well written so may be of interest to readers.

Continue reading "Rebecca Atkinson, "Do I want my sight back?"" »

August 19, 2007

Put your clothes back on!

Oh dear. The naked signing newsreaders have had their funding pulled... perhaps that'll teach them not to use SL as a way to make money!?

On another note, however, I disagree with pornography in any form... BUT if people want to make Deaf-accessible porn, shouldn't they be allowed to? And if so, is it fair of the Japanese Government to exclude porn from their access funding criteria? Does anyone care?



August 8, 2007

Deaf Rave on TV this week & Deaf FM

deafrave.jpgDeaf Rave is on television this week, except there's no subtitles. Deaf Rave quotes:

Deaf Rave on Current Tv tonight 6.32pm Sky Channel 193 and on repeat through out the week! And also out in the US! Program mainly for hearing. Sorry for lack of subtitles!

Whilst perhaps the programme is aimed at hearing people, its no excuse for no subtitles! What's the deal, these channels are supposed to comply with the law, use us for content / material, yet can't be bothered to provide the access.

You can also watch the same programme item here (again no subtitles).

On the access viewpoint, does anyone know how Deaf FM is going to work?

Deaf Radio internet station broadcasting soon with live Deaf Dj's and Interviews.

Are they about to redefine the concept of a radio station, make it accessible or not? Anyone know?

UPDATE: This video has now been transcribed by Claire of TeamHaDo, many thanks! Full transcript below:

Continue reading "Deaf Rave on TV this week & Deaf FM" »

July 30, 2007

S4C streaming BSL interpreted programmes online

signings4c.jpgS4C (Welsh language channel in Wales) is now streaming its BSL programmes via the web. A really positive move, and more please.

As a channel that focuses on minority language output, it is much better positioned to understand the needs of minority language users. The streamed content is only available in two minority languages that exist in Wales: Welsh and BSL, so excludes users of English here.

To comply with the law around digital television, S4C is required to meet output targets in respect of BSL on television. However, many BSL interpreted programmes are transmitted at inconvenient times, and thus to be able to access this at a time when it is convenient for you is a positive thing.


The page even carries RSS, thus you can add it to your reader to add new content. The RSS feed is here.

(If you still don't know what RSS is, click onto 'What is RSS' in the top right corner of the front page of this blog).

Compression = difficult to see facial expressions

My main concern is that the video has been compressed too highly thus its difficult to see the In-Vision Interpreter's facial expressions. Currently the video is too blurred to make this out properly and thus follow the BSL efficiently. S4C needs to address this, and perhaps give the user a choice of video format. Stream the content in alternative formats, other than a .wmv extension.

What do you think?

July 26, 2007

Welcome 2 My Deaf World, an Australian film is carrying a film Welcome 2 My Deaf World, which follows Australian Deaf school leavers. Joe kindly copied the video at, for ease of watching.

A full screen version can be seen over at the website. The terms of the video's licence, can be found here.

Film length: 60 minutes.

A Brief Review

The video carries subtitles when Auslan is being used or when Deaf people are talking, but the subtitles drop when a hearing person speaks, which is really annoying. Its as if the subtitles are there to provide hearing people access only, and there's no continuation through the film. This shortcoming possibly highlights the contributions mainstream society have on individual self esteem, or rather lack of, which can be seen throughout the film.

Pride when it comes to one's own self identity is crucial, and for me this film highlights the shortfalls how much work needs to be done; but positive to see these young people expressing their own thoughts. More work should be done in this area.

Its good to see a film out of Australia, and highlights the fact we need more material from respective countries (the States is not the centre of the universe), so more please.

UK Cinema Screening

For those people who live in the UK, specifically up north the film can be seen at Manchester Corner House on the 30 August, as part of the London Australian Film Festival on Tour. I've no idea if the entire film carries subtitles, if anyone knows please drop a comment in the box for this entry.

A few random websites to look at...

... in no particular order:

The Deaf Film and TV Festival has become Deaffest, and you can find info about that here. People keep emailing me about it so I thought I should blog it!

There's an interesting interview with Sandra Duguid here. She's great in Playing God... you can still catch a performance in London or Edinburgh, I think. The Manchester one was good!

Finally, I would link to info about the BDA Congress, but I can't find any on their website. Even the BDA's events calendar says nothing is happening in August! Not true. Here's the info (and no, I do not work for the BDA... I just think these things should be shared, and I am grumpy because the BDA hasn't shared it widely. I'll probably get into trouble for saying that. Whatever.):

Theme: 'Rights through Language and Cultural Equality'
Date: 8-11th August 2007
Where: The Southport Theatre & Floral Hall Complex
Address :Promenade Southport, PR9 0DZ, UK
01704 540454, 01704 514770
Info from Sarah Murray:

As we all know, the BDA has been through a lot recently. All the more reason to go along and show support if we can! Paddy Ladd's giving a paper - don't miss that!

See you there?

July 25, 2007

Ofcom's response to a formal complaint around lack of BSL consultation

ofcom_logo.gifOfcom has been carrying out a consultation in respect of how BSL is transmitted on television. The consultation is supposed to end this Friday.

I responded to this consultation, and further responses can be found on their website. As a side note, they are not publishing all responses (even though these were submitted one month ago, and permission given from the author). I know Rob and Joe have also responded, why hasn't Ofcom published these? Perhaps it highlights serious flaws which Ofcom is actively avoiding to highlight?

As part of my response, I made a formal complaint against Ofcom in respect of their lack of consultation in BSL. This was a consultation about BSL on television, thus it appeared more than strange that this consultation was delivered only in English. A bit like consulting about the future of S4C (including a reduction in hours), only in English, and not make this consultation available in Welsh.

I have since received a reply from Ofcom, which is below. For ease of reading my initial complaints are highlighted in bold. Ofcom has not responded to all the complaints that I raised, including lack of information around the extension of the consultation date. At the end of this post, I have some initial thoughts on Ofcom's response. Please could you use the comment box to record any thoughts you have on this, as it may influence how I proceed further with this.

Continue reading "Ofcom's response to a formal complaint around lack of BSL consultation" »

July 19, 2007

Have we missed something?

Got this from Deafweekly:


A Japanese TV program that combines nudity and sign language made headlines this month when it was revealed that the program is subsidized by the government. Paradise Television Inc. was given about 150,000 yen ($1,231 US) to help pay for sign-language translations of “Hadaka no News Station” (Naked News Station), said The Mainichi Newspapers. The money funds a five-minute segment in which Miyabe Fujino gradually sheds her clothing while presenting the news in sign language. “I generally welcome sign-language translations for TV programs,” said Japanese Federation of the Deaf official Mitsuji Hisamatsu, “but it’s questionable to provide a subsidy for this particular program.”"

The question that must be asked is... why?

(I get the Deaf-hearing-equality-in-nudity argument, thanks... just.... why?!)

- jen

June 14, 2007

Ofcom's consultation for signing on television ends today

Just a reminder, Ofcom's consultation in respect of Signing on Television ends today.

Some of the responses can be found here. Unfortunately, they all appear to be in English. I wonder if the BSL submissions (if there is any) will get put on their website too, in the interests of fairness.

For information, I've responded to this consultation, and allowed it to be made public, however its not on their website as yet. Not an easy consultation to respond to, since it requires you to have a lot of assumed information, and what has happened consultation wise to date. An indication for me how much information is kept within closed circles, instead of shared.

People really need to blog more, information isn't supposed to be behind closed doors.

See also:

Ofcom fails its own Disability Equality Scheme?

June 1, 2007

Join the campaign against the BBC

Many people in the UK are plain p*ssed off with the BBC right now, and believe they are patronising us to the hilt. This includes the decision over See Hear. This includes:

- budgetary cuts;
- reduction in programme outputs;
- move from a weekend slot to mid week;
- no consultation with its key audience;

So it goes on ...

Some sort of co-ordination is needed for a campaign, and to this end we've set up a e mail group to do this. Other tactics hopefully arise from discussion.

If you are interested in being involved with this campaign, please join:

Google Groups
Subscribe to Save See Hear!
Visit this group

BBC get this: Representation not patronisation!

See also:
BBC breaking the law in respect of See Hear?
See Hear replies ...
Open Letter re See Hear in Broadcast Now
Save See Hear
Ofcom fails its own Disability Equality Scheme?

May 31, 2007

BBC breaking the law in respect of See Hear?


Earlier Jen posted a reply from the BBC in respect of BBC See Hear, and the proposed cut backs. In the comments, I left a copy of an e mail I had sent to the BBC asking the BBC what it was doing in respect of its obligations under the Disability Equality Duty (DED). Why hadn't the BBC consulted about the changes at See Hear?

I had since got a reply, questioning if the DED applied, as it did not include programme making (clause 2.1). In response to this suggestion, here is a rather lengthy e mail that I've sent to the BBC See Hear plus Wilf White (responsible for DED consultation). Apologies in advance for its length.

I would very much appreciate other people's thoughts on this.

Continue reading "BBC breaking the law in respect of See Hear?" »

See Hear replies...

FYI, See Hear sent this long email in reply to my vlog about the changes they are making:

Hi Jen.

Yes, we are going through major changes, but See Hear continues as the only programme presented in BSL on a mainstream terrestrial channel. We are forever breaking new ground at the cutting edge of deaf television.

We still have a strong core of deaf members of the team. For the first time in five years, we have a deaf producer. We also have two deaf assistant producers, one deaf researcher and one hard of hearing researcher, so, a wealth of skill, knowledge and culture, and a strong affinity with the community. To complement the deaf team members, we have a number of hearing staff, who offer an enormously wide range of knowledge and experience of television, and who share the same enthusiasm for 'See Hear'.

Change of Slots

Television is changing, and how we view our programmes is also rapidly changing. Gone are the days of our entire audience sitting around the living room, tuning in to watch favourite programmes (like See Hear) at specific times. Services such Sky PLUS and PVRs allow viewers to record selected programmes to watch as and when is convenient for them. Self-service is becoming increasingly popular, and we believe it is time for us to change too.

All programmes within the BBC are experiencing budgetary cuts, and See Hear is no exception. We believe, after much thought, that the best way to maintain the quality of the show and still be able to make 38 programmes a year is to reduce the length of the programme to 30 minutes. We can assure you that we will be using the budget to maintain the high production values and quality that the programme is renowned for, and with this extra time and staffing we are now focusing on more investigative stories, consumer items and reality television, as you have rightly been asking for. This does take time and a lot of effort.

What is our new vision?

The move to a midweek slot on Wednesdays in September is an exciting new challenge. See Hear will remain on BBC2, one of the BBC's main terrestrial television channels. With the new time slot we will have a new audience, and will also be looking at stories of interest to the
signing community, as well as the hearing, hard of hearing and deafened who are out there.

Our lifestyles have changed - we have become much more aware of the wider world, and deaf and hearing are merging together. I do accept that for many, change is difficult. But we have to seek new ways to be exciting and challenging, and to meet and attract a wider audience.

Please bear with us whilst we take up these challenges. Over the next few weeks you will see some more fine-tuning as we develop our new ideas and bring them on stream. Two weeks ago we had some great stories in our 'Fostering and Adoption' special, and in last week's programme we had an eye-opening film about the failure of shops to provide working induction
loops to assist hearing aid users. Over the next few months we will follow a young deaf girl having a cochlear implant, and we will explore the reasons for her decision to go ahead with this life changing operation. And there will be much, much more.

See Hear has been going now for 25 years, and with these changes, we aim to continue for another 25 years - and to remain the flagship programme for the deaf.

Terry Riley
Editor- SEE HEAR

May 30, 2007

Sign language in advertising

Earlier I blogged about the use of BSL in marketing. However, this was intended for a Deaf audience. Here's an interesting one, obviously aimed at the general population but uses sign language and importantly humour:

Perhaps it should be an advert for sign language classes too!

Off the top of my head, I can only remember sign language being used in BT advert back in 2001, which featured Fifi Garfield. This was aimed at the general population, and included humour too.

Do you know of any other advertising that has included sign language?

See also:
Mouse: first BSL targeted marketing?

Deaf contestant @ Big Brother


The Sun is reporting there's a deaf contestant in this year's Channel 4's Big Brother.

TWENTY potential housemates include the most outrageous ever picked, claim BB bosses.

There’s a butch lesbian who allegedly self-harms and boozes, a professional drag queen, the show’s first deaf girl and a gay muscleman described as “sex mad”.

This year's series starts at 9pm this evening, where the new house mates will be introduced.

Via Tony Barlow @ Deaf UK Chat.

May 29, 2007

Open Letter re See Hear in Broadcast Now

See-Hear-Terry-Riley-blog.jpgBlogcast at Broadcast Now is carrying an open letter from Rebecca Atkinson regarding BBC See Hear.

Since this is read by many people in the media, people are being urged to go over there and comment.

See Hear originally came about due to campaigning from Deaf activists at the National Union of the Deaf, including Paddy Ladd and Raymond Lee. NUD campaigned and called for BSL on television, so Deaf people could have a programme that they could access. A move to a mid week slot, suddenly sidelines BSL output, and a programme aimed at being accessible to a hearing audience to satisfy viewing figures.

The BBC should never be about viewing figures, and the whole point of public funding is that it can produce programmes away from popular culture. If you want that, go work for ITV.

See also:
Save See Hear

Continue reading "Open Letter re See Hear in Broadcast Now" »

May 14, 2007

Save See Hear!

PS: Forgot to add: Send an email See Hear to to complain about the cuts!

Full English translation:

Firstly, I'd like to say a big thank you to all of you who commented on my last vlog - I was very touched, and didn't expect it! So, many thanks!

I have to say I laughed at the comment about watching me vlog since my hair was short... you're right; it's getting very long now. Oh, well. I also laughed at the comments from those who thought I was a grumpy old man, and I look too cheerful when I vlog. I assure you, I'm grumpy inside, OK?!

And today I do have a good reason to be proper grumpy, because I've heard that See Hear, our weekly Deaf TV programme here in the UK, is going downhill. Terry Riley, the Deaf Editor, has been doing a great job for a while, but I've been told hearing people are taking over and basically spoiling the show. Our 45 minute programme is being cut down to only 30 minutes! And if that isn't bad enough, as from this September it's being moved from Saturday to Wednesday (daytime). What?!

I'm sorry, but I do have a job, and I don't sit around watching TV with nothing much else to do all day, and nor do other Deaf people I know. We have busy lives, you know! This is us Deafies being swept under the carpet again, I know.

So today I am really grumpy, and I say:




I urge the BBC to please rethink their decision and consider us Deaf people.


May 8, 2007

Crunchgear: Deafies are a good cause

Crunchgear thinks deaf people are a good cause:

Someone using technology for a good cause and not just to pump out more megapixels or whowhatsits per second.

Wish sites would see past feeling sorry for us or rather people trying to help Deafies, and actually step back here. I for one would like an objective review of VeeSee, from the mainstream. If this was a mainstream site, what would you say? See past the sign language, and what's your take as an iPTV site?

Note to Crunchgear: yes I get the whole long tail thing, and the point of your post re niche markets. Specifically relating to Deaf people, there is a need to utilise developments online particilarly around sign language. There is much needed to be done also, particularly in respect of inclusiveness. To this end, I would call on people like Joost and venture capitalists, to work in partnership with Deaf companies such as Remark! (and its counterparts in other countries) to produce sign language iPTV. Allow the mainstream to educate and work in partnership with minority communties, to share knowledge. Such initiatives have to be done in partnership with and led by Deaf people.

Deaf people reading this post, I would encourage you to participate here, to get our ideas across to the mainstream.

See also:
Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0? (Noesis)
Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0? (Grumpy Old Deafies)
Interpreters and the whole set up scaring me

May 7, 2007

Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0?


VeeSee is currently the top story at BBCi Technology News page.

Where's the impartial reporting by the BBC, and go beyond the reporting its done to question the set up? This is one sided reporting. The issue with DEAF stuff, is that media outlets can infrequently see past the charity case that and their interpretation of people with broken ears might be, which leads to somewhat odd media reporting.

It is Deaf Awareness week in the UK, thus people come out in droves to show how they are helping us.

Don't get me wrong, I want signed content on the web, and do not want to knock effort down. However, this is locked in centralised content, which the rest of the web is moving away from. UK Deafies existing in their own bubble?

I get the drive for a tv channel online, and something flagged for years by various people. I would also question if this is actually tv, but instead locked in vlog style videos that could easily be hosted on respective sites.

We really do not need paternalism 2.0 in the UK? Why are Deaf people of the mindset over here that they cannot host their own sites, blogs and vlogs, and need someone to hold their hand? States the case for the influence of charity quite well.

See also:
Interpreters and the whole set up scaring me

Continue reading "Vee See makes BBCi News Technology: Paternalism 2.0?" »

April 29, 2007

Bush explaining Iraq policy to Republican deaf signers?


The Sunday Times carried this picture and caption at the back of its News Review section, asking what Bush was doing, in satire style. Deaf people came into it:

Another day, another slightly embarrassing picture of President George Bush. But what is he doing here? Is it:

a) Dancing in the garden of the White House to promote World Malaria Day
b) Explaining his new policy on Iraq to a conference of Republican deaf signers

c) Frankly, it's anybody's guess

Without not wishing risk coming across as if I have no sense of humour whatsoever, I wonder if this devalues ASL? Its portrayed alongside other non serious options to be mocked at? Why isn't a Republican conference delivered in ASL a perfectly valid option (thus not make people laugh)? Or is it the concept of Bush using ASL something we are meant to be laughing at, as too far fetched? Whilst he's not using ASL, why would the use of make it "slightly embarrassing"?

April 28, 2007

Miss Deaf UK: a micro example of how things really are

I had meant to type some thoughts on Miss Deaf UK last weekend, but personal circumstances has not allowed me to do this. Now playing catch up.

A brief recap of the programme: we had a hearing person organising the event, a group of hearing people took over. All with no prior experience of Deaf people, nor could any of them sign. There was no interaction at all. The organisation was a complete shambles. Whilst Deaf people were portrayed as being the end product, caught up in the whole mess. The programme was produced reality style, possibly a first for See Hear.

Whilst watching the programme I was talking to a hearing friend [who incidentally can't sign, and not involved with the Deaf community] and within 5 minutes of turning the television they had to switch it off. "There is a distinct lack of Deaf people and people who can actually sign?" Instead you were greeted with scenes of hearing people who had never even met a Deafie, all somehow bizarrely brought together by one woman. These hearing people were there because they "want to help the deaf and the bereaved". Okay, perhaps we should all start to wear black here and go into mourning.

However, it was not clueless hearies that really irked me, but Deaf people. Passive and sheep springs to mind. Go along with what they are told, and not bother to actually challenge anything. Noone actually had to be there, why didn't someone actually tell the organiser to stick their event up where the sun doesn't shine and they weren't putting up with it? Why didn't anyone actually walk?

On another level for me, the programme illustrated and mirrored on a micro level perfectly what really happens with deaf organisations. The set up is exactly the same: a bunch of hearies, who can't even sign, know next to nothing about Deaf stuff, going ahead and organising things for us. Making money in the process. Whilst Deaf people are passive receivers and actually do nothing. Just accept, swallow.

The comments on the programme by Deaf people were downright pathetic. Along the lines of this is my only chance, organisation is bad, don't understand Deaf culture etc.

Why were you even there, and going along with it? Why not just boycott the event and set up your own? The way some people in the UK behave, its like they are incapable, whether that is a lack of confidence, training or the bottom line mentality of Deaf people over here? Who knows. However, we do know there's one hell of a victim mentality going on, and passive receivers when you don't see something right. Joe vlogged about this in relation to Deaf UK, and illustrates the point very well.

Often, when people challenge something, they are told they must not. Instead its portrayed as a personality defect. It happens within organisations, within the last year on Deaf UK, etc. As an illustration of this, check out the response to my recent VeeSee post. (There's much more I could say specifically on this point, but will do so in another post).

Bottom line, a long hard look needs to taken at how people over here view themselves and why they aren't more proactive. Why aren't we saying f*** off a bit more, instead of putting up with crap?

[And yes I have thoughts on what's the point in this competition, but that's not the point of this post].

See also: Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian

April 22, 2007

The Guardian messes up again, this time over CIs

OFT to look at £30,000 bill for ear implant.

Why does the Guardian keep getting lingo wrong, and Deaf people wrong for that matter? Check out the lingo and inaccurate reporting:

- "bionic ear";
- "fully repair her hearing" - yeah right;
- cost, why isn't "rehabilitation" included in the price, and very much contradicts the figures quoted here
- The Guardian in backing up her father's comments re CI, states 'daughter was being denied the chance to be freed of her disability'. paints the image that we are a bad thing. Also thinks the child is now going to be hearing and all society's problems will be solved!

The Guardian really is not a friendly newspaper towards deaf people. Only just ranted about their Miss Deaf UK in the Social Care section. They are nicely reinforcing some stereotype that we need care, need to be cured and we are all generally a bad thing.

If they did the same with any other minority, there would be an outcry.

See also:
Cochlear Implants Not Value for Money

Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian

Continue reading "The Guardian messes up again, this time over CIs" »

April 19, 2007

Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian

The Guardian is running a piece on Miss Deaf UK, which will be aired by BBC See Hear on Saturday.

Some quick comments from me:

- The Guardian puts this in the "Social Care" section. Why? Perhaps Big Brother should be put in the "Social Care" section too.
- Why does the media air things like this, but not major issues that's important to us such as BSL Recognition? Perhaps an indication of the divide and exclusion that really does take place between the media and us?
- Communication plus a divide is a no brainer for us, and happens all the time. Is the mainstream really that oblivious?

Why can't this be called reality television, because bottom line that is what it is. Instead of being subjected to this, its put under social care.

These are obviously comments before the programme gets aired, and my opinion may shift.

Via Fintan Ramblings.

Continue reading "Miss Deaf UK, in the Guardian" »

March 11, 2007

Change that No. 10 subtitling petition please!

The Number 10 petition for subtitles has landed in my inbox more than once over the past couple of weeks. I've been meaning to blog about this a few times, but I'm so frustrated. Here's the wording:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make all digital TV channels add Subtitles to all TV programmes.

I haven't signed it, because it annoys me. Its not the fact I don't agree in principle, because I do. Just this hasn't been thought out properly.

First, the deadline date is 2008! One whole year until we get a reply from Downing Street. A year is a long time in the grand scheme of things, and way too long to reap the benefits of a couple of hundred more names. Generate buzz, and get a shorter around time please! I'm going to lose interest. The other thing, the rate the internet is evolving is a long time (see the next paragraph as to why this point is relevant). For example, third party sites offering video hosting has only been around less than 18 months, now look where we're at.

The second frustration of mine is around broadcasting of media, and how this is going to change. Traditionally, television has had to seek a compromise and broadcasting content somewhere in the middle to take into account a wider range of interests. Specialist interests, e.g. specialist legal programmes, a programme on mosaics would not reach the screens. However, mass produced and compromise TV is at the end of the road. Increasingly people are spending their time watching sites such as YouTube, and going for niche content. Content that they are really interested in, but not everyone will want to watch.

Everyone, apart from those who can't access content in the first place of course! Who is campaigning for subtitling on internet broadcast media, especially from public services such as the BBC? Will there be any obligation? I'm not exactly optimistic about this, since the BBC Shop produces a lot of content that is not accessible.

The BBC recently struck a deal with YouTube, thus where's the regulation that subtitles to be included? Has the BBC put this as a contractual obligation in its deal with Google? Or will videos be uploaded by individuals, and the BBC just reaps monetary reward for non accessibility? What about 4oD, Channel 4's on demand service?

Media is now much bigger than it once was, and this petition is so narrow in scope it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Before such petitions are created, there really needs to be some thought and consensus behind them. This petition is nothing but a complete wasted opportunity, and with it arises immense frustration.