It’s Deaf Awareness Week 2023 and we’re pleased to announce our latest project which will investigate: ‘How captioning affects the experience and enjoyment of cultural events.’ This project aims to gather case studies to support Stagetext’s understanding of the landscape of deaf access to the arts in the UK.
Stagetext knows that people in the UK have varied experiences of accessing the arts. We also know nothing is more powerful than real-life stories, so we’re asking people to be case studies, helping us to build a picture of deaf access in the UK through the personal experiences of deaf, deafened, and hard-of-hearing audiences.
We have commissioned researcher, Angie Aspinall, who will kick off the project by reaching out to the deaf community. Some of you may know Angie from her role as the founder of #HearingLossHour – a live monthly Twitter event aimed at combating social isolation for people with hearing loss.
Angie told us, ‘I was a social researcher for many years prior to experiencing hearing loss in my thirties. In 2015, I launched #HearingLossHour with the aim of helping to combat the isolation which can sometimes accompany hearing loss. #HearingLossHour is a live Twitter chat for people with hearing loss to share experiences and tips about living well with hearing loss. I have sensorineural hearing loss and use captioning in my everyday life. I know the positive impact captions and subtitles have on the way I experience events and I’m interested in learning about the experiences of others. I’m very excited to be leading this project for Stagetext.’
The project will have two stages: Stage one will involve an online survey aimed at people living in the UK but outside of London and who have experienced captions or subtitles at a cultural event. Stage two will involve video interviews with a cross-section of people who responded to the survey. The interviews will allow us to explore individual experiences in more depth.
Olivia Durkin, Stagetext’s Head of Training and Theatre commented on why this project was important for deaf access to the arts. ‘Stagetext is an Arts Council England funded organisation, working with arts venues across the UK. We know some regions in the UK might need more support with their deaf access, and we would love to help them on that journey. Part of the work we are funded to do over the next three years is to identify how best we can support these areas, reinforcing the need for deaf access with the voices of the community it impacts the most.’
The survey is now closed but keep an eye on our news page for updates and the results.
This year’s theme for Deaf Awareness Week is ‘Access to Communication’, a message that highlights how being deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing impacts daily life. Stagetext advocates for the best possible access and they’re asking people to take this survey, to help support them in this.
For those who go on to the interview stage, access will be provided. A £25 theatre or book token will be provided as a thank you. If you want to know more about this project or any of Stagetext’s work, contact us.