Living Sign Language Project About the project This project is to research the heritage/history and language of deaf people across Yorkshire and Humber. There is a lot of information being lost as older deaf people and younger deaf people don’t mix and meet up as often as in the past. Many stories and experiences are being forgotten and lost; many examples of ‘old’ regional and school signs are also fading away. This project aims to collect examples of these stories, experiences and signs from older and younger deaf people to save them onto DVDs that deaf people across the region can keep and watch in the years to come. There are a collection of locations where interviews were filmed to capture deaf people sharing life experiences and using sign language from across the generations. Locations include Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Sheffield, Hull, Wakefield, York and Doncaster.
Living Sign Language Project Manager One of my first tasks was to recruit volunteers to get involved with the project. Initially, I organised training for the project volunteers in different areas such as research, interviewing, presenting, filming and editing. I delegated tasks to the volunteers for the various groups. For example, the research volunteers were able to use their networks and develop researching skills to find deaf centres, older deaf people, old photographs, etc. I was then able to organise the volunteer groups to visit deaf clubs to ask people to be interviewed as part of the project. We had numerous visits across the region and booked the filming dates for the interviews. The filming team and interviewers had some practices and then were able to take on their roles. After the filming, we had hundreds of hours of footage - amazing stories, experiences, some mistakes and good laughs. It all took a lot of time to watch and edit the rough parts out, but we didn’t cut out any whole stories. To make a ‘summary’ DVD, I asked the focus group to watch different interview locations and pick the best stories. At the end of each project, we have one Yorkshire ‘summary’ DVD for everyone, a specific DVD for each region, and a Behind the Scenes DVD for everyone involved behind the camera.
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