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BFI Funds Accessible Workshops for Deafblind Filmmakers

  • Published: 2016-08-28 : Author: Sense : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Deafblind charity awarded £31,000 by British Film Institute to enable deafblind people to take part in accessible filmmaking workshops.

Sense, the national deafblind charity, has been awarded £31,000 by the BFI (British Film Institute), to enable deafblind people to take part in a series of accessible filmmaking workshops.

Deafblindness is a combination of both sight and hearing difficulties. Some people are completely deaf and blind, but others have some remaining use of one or both senses. Causes of deafblindness include premature birth and exposure to rubella during pregnancy, which can cause babies to be born deafblind. Sense therefore supports MMR which has proven to be the most effective vaccination programme against rubella. Some genetic conditions such as Usher syndrome can also result in deafblindness. People can also become deafblind at any time through illness, accident or in older age.

The Accessible Filmmaking Project, delivered in collaboration with Kate Dangerfield from the University of Roehampton, will see ten weekly workshops take place across the country, each focusing on exploration and experimentation of film as a form of communication and expression. The project will provide creative opportunities for people with sensory impairments to experiment with filmmaking techniques, test equipment for accessibility and improve access to low-budget film production and audio-visual media.

A reportage 'documentary' will explain the process involved and will follow the journey of workshop participants. Participants will use the new skills developed in the workshops to work alongside as part of the filmmaking crew and advise on media and digital accessibility throughout the process.

Kara Jarrold, Head of Arts & Wellbeing at Sense, said:

"Film is such a powerful medium for expression and is a new area of development for Sense participants with sensory impairments. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to explore new ways of communicating using new technologies and creative skills. We are really excited to experience the end result - a series of short films which will provide new first-hand insights into the experiences of those we work with. We are grateful to the BFI for recognising the value of this work and enabling us to deliver a series of innovative accessible workshops for people with sensory impairments to engage in the arts."

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

The BFI is a Government arm's-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

Sense is a national charity that has been supporting and campaigning for children and adults who are deafblind for the last 60 years. There are currently around 250,000 deafblind people in the UK. Sense provides specialist information, advice and services to deafblind people, their families, carers and the professionals who work with them. We run services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and employ 2,000 people, most of whom work in services directly with deafblind people. Our patron is HRH The Princess Royal. Further information can be found on Sense's website -

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