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NZSL video, making the arts more accessible to Deaf people

15 Apr 2015

This content is tagged as All Artforms .


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A New Zealand Sign Language video, made by Deafradio’s Seeflow translation service for Arts Access Aotearoa, lets Deaf people know about some of ways artists, performing arts companies, festivals, museums, galleries and venues can make the arts more accessible to Deaf people.

Highlighting Arts For All, a practical guide to accessibility published by Arts Access Aotearoa, the video says that one in four New Zealanders (24% or 1.1 million people) were identified as “disabled” in the 2013 Census.

In addition, the Census shows that 20,000 people use New Zealand Sign Language.

New Zealand Sign Language is one of three official languages in this country, says Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa.

“Signed videos such as this are a valuable way to connect with the Deaf community and let them know about sign interpreted arts and cultural events,” he says.

Arts For All outlines the benefits of marketing the arts to people with access needs. It also includes immediate and longer-term steps you can take to provide access.

It provides a framework for members of networks set up by Arts Access Aotearoa in Otago, Christchurch, Wellington, Taranaki and Auckland. These Arts For All networks are made up of representatives from the disability sector, arts and cultural organisations, artists, venues and festivals. They meet twice a year and share information, expertise and solutions to particular challenges.

There are eight chapters in Arts For All, including chapters on getting started; communications and marketing; galleries and museums; and live performance.

The chapter on digital media has a photo and story about Deaf filmmaker Jared Flitcroft. “The digital world evolves all the time and now Deaf people are a part of it,” Jared says. “Digital media is a very positive experience for us.”

The guide also includes information about using New Zealand Sign Language interpreters to interpret arts events, including museum and gallery exhibition tours. Auckland Lorraine McQuigg mentions the sign interpreted shows provided by Auckland Live.

“In the past, I avoided live events. My hearing family also tends to avoid events if I can’t be included too. These interpreted performances have opened up a whole new opportunity for us to do something special together.”

Arts For All was published with support from Creative New Zealand and Wellington City Council. It can be downloaded from Arts Access Aotearoa’s website: www.artsaccess.org.nz. You can also contact Arts Access Aotearoa on 04 802 4349 or email info@artsaccess.org.nz if you don’t have internet access and would like to be sent a copy of Arts For All and the additional resources.

To watch the video with accompanying text, visit the Arts For All resources webpage.