Charity registered in Scotland SC003493
Deaf Connections is a leading voluntary organisation for Deaf and hard of hearing people, providing a range of charitable and professional services. These services include; social care services, family services, community education, social inclusion, interpretation and translation, health and advocacy services. As well as its social impact, Deaf Connections embraces the humour, creativity and vivacity of the Deaf Community.
Importantly, the Deaf Connections community, the board, volunteers and staff are committed to the principle of real and meaningful participation, and the vision that equality and fairness can be a normal feature of the lives of all people in Scotland. Through social inclusion, removal of barriers and increased confidence in Scottish society, the organisation advocates for opportunities, empowerment and social capital.
With the passing of the BSL (Scotland) Act, the charity committed to improved communication within Scotland, ensuring a cohesive society which is stronger, more vibrant and more successful.
- From 27th March 2017 to 23rd March 2018
- Award: £7,760 via Call 4
Deaf people will have the opportunity to work with their Deaf Digital Challenge Officer and volunteers in order to manage information, use digital basic skills for communication (email, IM and social media) and also to use these digital skills to create, whether it is a social media post or a photo album. The Digital Challenge Officer will advise on issues such as security and personal safety online. The project aims to have 4 groups over the 12 month period, with each group having (but not limited to) 20 members who will be working together for 6 months. The project will be delivered by the Digital Challenge Officer, who reports to the Head of Operations.
40 Deaf and hard of hearing people, who are particularly hesitant to engage with digital technology, join the first stage of the proposed project.
The first cohort of 2017 gain confidence, skills and enjoyment through the project by filming and sharing a subject close to their hearts; Deaf Culture and Awareness. The participants engage in evaluation of their experience and digital skills.
40 Deaf and hard of hearing people, who are particularly hesitant to engage with digital technology, join the second stage of the proposed project.
The second cohort of 2017 gain confidence, skills and enjoyment through the project by filming and sharing a subject close to their hearts; Deaf Culture and Awareness. The participants engage in evaluation of their experience and digital skills.
The group have continued to improve there skills in photography and editing, video camera functions, lighting for filming and editing skills.
The group decided that they would like to produce a short video called 'A Day in the Life' which would be an interview piece with 2 deaf participants with the group filming, taking part in the interview, pulling together interview questions and editing the final piece.
The project was supported by David Parsons, multi media professional and Box Revolution who specialise in acting classes and video production.
Digital Participation has been a key priority for Deaf Connections and has been part of the organisational strategy for several years; as members of the Deaf Community ourselves, we bring first-hand experience to our initiatives aiming to reduce the digital divide. However, it has really been due to this funding that we have made real progress in consulting with the Deaf individuals furthermost removed from the benefits of the digital world. It is the access needs of these Deaf people which consistently fail to be recognised in the online world.
It may be useful to review some findings from our group sessions taking place between April 2017 and June 2017. These messages have been filmed and are scheduled to be uploaded onto our Facebook in July (the group are currently editing):
Deaf people experience exclusion when services lack understanding of how the Deaf community use and access language, of the difference between British Sign Language (BSL) and English, and of the difficulties faced by BSL users accessing the digital world. When services fail to recognise this they unknowingly contribute to the systematic discrimination of profoundly Deaf people.
People who are profoundly Deaf typically use BSL as their first and preferred language. Some Deaf people learn to speak, read, and write English very well, just as some Hearing people learn to sign and understand signing very well; but, generally, Deaf people prefer to communicate via sign language because it is based on a grammatical system for which they are naturally equipped. The grammatical rules used in BSL are completely different to those used in everyday English, owing to its visual and spatial nature. It is therefore possible for a Deaf person to be highly fluent in BSL whilst also finding written English very challenging.
These factors mean that almost every website is inaccessible to Deaf people. Navigating a text-dense website in English is as difficult as an non-French speaker navigating a French website - perhaps even more so due to the lack of audio cues. Consequently, Deaf people inform us that it can be a very frustrating experience, passively browsing web content and feeling more confused and excluded by this digital glass wall.
However, over the past few months, there has been an increased optimism within the Deaf Community due to the passing of the BSL Act. It has been the right time to launch a project such as this. The individuals reached by the project and involved in creating the short films, have started to see the possibilities that the digital world may hold for them.
The groups have been taught basic practises in photography/photo editing, video camera functions, basic lighting for filming and basic editing skills.
This has allowed each individual to get a feel for each area of production, helping them decide which role they wish to take in a final Deaf awareness short film which will be devised by the participants.