Tuesday, 9 September 2014


We have had a beautiful and interesting long day event during Deaf Visions. We have asked the courtesy to some participants and helpers to share their feedback after the event and here to follow there is a small collection. Thank you to all the kind words and positive participation.

Anyone wishing to share more feedback, please do send us an email. Thank you!

Also a collection of photos can be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.614995148616649.1073741835.491628407619991&type=1

While a couple of recordings have been uploaded on YouTube:
Caroline Parker's performance.

Frank Bangay's performance.

A more recent interview about the day event for Deaf Unity can also be accessed from HERE

I'd like to thank you for inviting me, for choosing my professional service, and for offering me the opportunity to be part of an inspiring day of art, music, culture, shared experience.

The section you organised and managed was a precious opportunity to explore universal languages and to learn to overcome barriers, to raise awareness about identity and human dimensions, about the importance of signs and codes, as well as promoting an inclusive culture of accessible information for everyone.
It is very important to learn everybody perspective, and it was very interesting to learn about representation or misrepresentation of a community in media and in cinema, i.e. when a non-deaf actor/actress impersonate a deaf person, too often directed and/or acting in a way to communicate to a non-deaf audience only.

Technically the event was running pretty smooth; it was just a matter to become accustomed with the available audio-video equipment already in the room, and to integrate it with the gear I have supplied in order to make it possible to run live music, singing and other activities.

Thank you again for your invitation and my compliments for organising an inspiring event that could be entertaining, thoughtful, a learning experience, a life experience.

My kindest regards
Stefano Barone
Sound Engineer - Producer - AV Services

"I found the Deaf Visions Event to be one the most unique and rewarding experiences I have been to, or asked to participate in London. This is partly due to the fact that I have never been to a deaf event before but also because the interpretations of the events/and performers left a lasting impression on me. I have never seen an expressive, mimed performance of Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights' in my life nor seen the words transcribed simultaneously on a large background to such effect. Not only was 'the actress' able to convey the feeling of the song right in front of the audience but I was able to actually see the words on the screen and also appreciate what a great poet Kate Bush is as well. "Heathcliff hits me, Cathy," came to life for me in a way that I have never experienced.

"Also other musicians and poets were lucky enough to have a person taking the dictation and so even the banter between acts was captured so that all could appreciate it. It added a lot of depth to the event and I would describe it as an 'immersive experience.'"

"On a personal note I was able to debut some new work and I think this was captured by the person who was writing everything down so I hope that if I mumbled, which I occasionally do, people could read it and the person doing the signing was able to read the text to convey the meaning."

John Stiles
Author of Taking the Stairs and Scouts are Cancelled, among other works.

I was impressed with the whole organisation of the event. There was proof of attention to details and good preparation resulted in things to run smoothly on the day. The whole atmosphere was a very enjoyable experience and everyone seemed to have a good time.

The presence of BSL interpreters and the live captions highlighted the issues encountered by deaf people that had never thought about in the entertaining way. It was fascinating to see it happening in front of you. Nathalie has been thinking about everything.

The gongs workshop impressed me so much. The whole experience transported me to a different dimension. I will very much like to use the same in my future feature film.

People had a fantastic time as they could interact with each other and not just being part of an audience. People were not expecting free refreshments either, so caught everyone by positive surprise.

Nick Waller
FEEL member and Film Director

Overall the event ‘deaf visions’ was better than I expected it would be. At the beginning of the session/event we had a good mixture of deaf and hearing people watching the screening of Together and they all stayed to discuss issues surrounding the film and the portrayal of deaf people in film. I can’t remember seeing such a mixture of people participating in all the deaf film festivals I’ve attended around the world (France, Italy, Malaysia etc). As a filmmaker and for deaf films in general, it is important that we encourage society and the bigger communities out there to watch our films, to have opinions and to embrace our culture. Normally these screenings, debates and workshops are exclusive for deaf people.

With regards to the deaf people at the event I noticed that they were not the type of people who would travel to the UK’s only deaf film festival in Wolverhampton (Deaffest) and even though the films were well known in the community, many stayed behind to watch them again.

In terms of improvement the location perhaps was unsuitable for the screenings as the light made it difficult to see the projection. Ideally we’d have access to a cinema and have more time to search for rare and unique films. However overall I felt the end result was positive and encouraging.

Ted Evans
Deaf Filmmaker and Director – workshop leader.

Nat, many congratulations on the very successful event you organised on 3 August. I know you have been concerned for some time that other events we have worked on should be accessible to hearing impaired people. However these past events did not have budgets to support the technological resources needed to make this possible, so this continued to be a source of considerable frustration for you.

Securing the funding to realise your ambition was a major achievement in itself, and the response of the hearing impaired community showed their appreciation. The networks you used were astoundingly successful in attracting their participation. I certainly had not appreciated the capacity for the right technology in the hands of professionals to open up a whole range of experiences for them. The atmosphere was so exciting seeing people really accessing and soaking up the heart of an event. In fact, I think the hearing members of the audience had a greater appreciation of some of the poetry and other presentations because of their multi dimensional nature. You certainly achieved your ambition to create an accessible open mic event.

The afternoon was extremely well organised. The atmosphere was terrific. The refreshments were delicious and nutritious, and I was very pleased to play a small part helping with making the tea.

Myra Garrett
FEEL member and outstanding woman :)

I thought the whole event was really good, innovative and with great atmosphere. It was lovely to read, to sign, writing & great that that happened. Also the films showing nearby locations, I was so glad to see. I know Cristina also felt the same & very positive. Hope for it again next year! I think it was very important that it happened there as it did.

Stephen Watts
Poet and Outsiders Poetry performer

It was an inspiring and important part of Shuffle and the turnout was amazing. We would like to integrate it more fully into the mainstream Shuffle audience next year - but we're pleased with the quality and participation.

Kate MacTiernan
Shuffle Artistic Director

On 2nd August, Audrey and I arrived at the Shuffle festival from Birmingham. We arrived at approximately 1pm and started exploring the place and all it had to offer straight away! It was packed with creative resources comprising of innovative ways to help raise awareness on mental health issues and also give invaluable advice to participants, who may know people who suffered, do suffer, or may come into contact with this issue in the future. The day ended with helping Nathalie with her preparation for the big day.

On the Sunday, we arrived at the community centre very early where The Deaf Visions was to take place. There were several of us who had volunteered to assist Nathalie with her project to ensure that everything ran smoothly. We all worked as a team helping to clean the hall, set up chairs, make hot drinks, bring in snacks, sort lunch for the team, answer any basic enquiries made by deaf goers in BSL etc.

I also took part in the following programmes as a member of the public: massage, gong bath, viewing films, question and answer sessions and watched songs performed in sign language among other things.

The gong bath was a very different and awesome experience. There were gongs and musical instruments of all sizes laid out in the middle of the hall and we sat in a circle around it. We were given instructions and were told to close our eyes. I could hear and feel the rhythm gradually building inside me. I felt myself being lifted and flying just above the ocean. My senses were enlightened, renewed and refreshed. I felt so amazing that I had to open my eyes to check whether it was all real. I would definitely do it again as it was an awesome experience.

Thank you Nathalie for the splendid experience. The event was a true success. You deserve goodness for all the work done. If you need any further help do let me know. Glad I have been part of it. I do look forward to the next one.

Parminder Jalf
Event Team-member

I was greeted upon my arrival at the community centre with an offer of tea and biscuits, with fresh dates and dry roasted peanuts available when required; my immediate impression was one of feeling welcome and at home.

Two very distinctive, innovative and extremely creative elements to the whole event stay with me very clearly impressed upon my memory because in addiction to the warm welcome they are related to it.

Firstly the poets, drawn from the very foundations of East End artistic traditions, represented own finest local artist with decades of experience and tremendous creative insights they gave us their heart and Soul mirrors of any time and place.

Many came from the marginalised parts of our locality, mental health, being an element given a voice where that is not so common at events anywhere.

The audience were delighted and with deaf translation throughout, the atmosphere of inclusion and participation hung heavy in the air, a difficult thing to achieve and successfully attained by the self evident pre-planning that must have gone with the event to accomplish this balance of wholeness with audience and participants at the microphone.

The second very strong and beautiful element to the event was the debating after the film showings. The achievement here was astounding, it was not possible to distinguish who was and who was not deaf.

Impressed by the efficiency and swiftness of the translators, the real enthusiasm of the audience, as it created a feeling of enjoyment for all and a sense of real constructive debate taking place.

We hunger and need such awareness of inclusion more broadly in and within our society. This event serves as a fine and shining example of how that can be achieved.

Through empathy, consideration, vision, inspiration, much background research and organisation, bringing all of those parts together such harmony was achieved and can be attained in the future with the support and encouragement of like minded people.

I left the event feeling that positive change can and will be achieved within our society step by step.

Jeffrey Parkinson
Local resident

The ambitious event included a whole spectrum of acts covering music/song/dance/spoken word & poetry.

Host & poet/performer Jazzman John opened with a new poem entitled: ‘Fit to Burst' then introduced the first booked act: Guitarist/Singer, Graham Jones (a regular supporter of 'F.E.E.L. Group events). He did a cover of The Beatles song 'Help', followed by his own original song 'Shine On You' which Graham had adapted to incorporate a sing-along chorus, which had the enthusiastic audience joining in loudly!

All acts (apart from dancer Shakti Zapata's (which opened the second half) were accompanied by both 'sign' & printed screen recording of the words, which as you can imagine kept the hard-working practitioners busy throughout the proceedings.

Next up was Clive Murphy (a friend of poet & mental health campaigner David Kessel) who read a few wryly-comic poems.
Local poet & character Stephen Micalef (with his distinctive long wispy beard) read a group of his intensely idiosyncratic poems (many with a local flavour & references) - a reader who is always good value & supremely entertaining.

Next to take the mic position was the esteemed poet & translator, Stephen Watts, who read one long poem entitled: 'The Bird of East London' from his recently published acclaimed Poetry Collection from Carcanet Press. I was lucky to have attended the launch in Bloomsbury earlier in 2014. The poem Stephen read with enormous vigour & subtlety (cognoscente of the job the signers & stenographers had on their hands) & was jam-packed with numerous East End sights & scenes, along with a good smattering of local residents & was totally enthralling, with the crowd almost gasping in awe at its conclusion.

Aptly following Stephen was his good friend & fellow poet (and the first lady to approach the mic, the delightful & talented, Cristina Viti, whose poetry I have long admired along with Stephen’s. She proceeded to read a selection of her moving & quite complex poems with enormous vitality, belying her slender frame.

By now the event was in full swing &more people seemed to be arriving in the bright & airy space by the minute.
Next up was the aforesaid local legendary poet & mental health campaigner, David Kessel. East-End based & always vociferous defender of Human Rights in general & avid supporter of those he identifies as downtrodden among the local community. David read some of his very distinctive poems (some with a clear political slant) & it would be right to mention here that many of the readers present (myself included) had contributed to a Poetry Anthology specially dedicated to David by many of his friends & associates down the years, which was privately published in July, 2013 in Stepney under the title (taken from one of David's own poems): 'Ravaged Wonderful Earth' - a stellar Collection, copies of which were available (from David's good friend & fellow poet/campaigner, David Amery on the day at a very reasonable cost of £5 per copy - an A4 size publication which includes archive photos).

The interval time was now fast approaching so it was time for compere, Jazzman John to step up along with our resourceful sound technician/engineer Stefano Barone (also a member of London-based Italian Indie/Rock Band: '37 North') who would provide ambient sounds on his impressive-looking shiny white electric guitar. John chose to perform a lyrical, moving poem: 'It All Depends' & as they say in the movies: "it went like a dream."

However, midway thought the second & final poem: 'Take A Hike' the gremlins took hold in the form of an electrical/power overload of some description, so it was decided to go straight to the much-needed interval for both performers & audience members!

During the interval from approx. 3.15pm to 3.35pm the stage space was cleared to make way for the aforementioned dance extravaganza/art piece to be performed by the astounding & daring dance exponent, Shakti Zapata, who kept the audience attentive & aghast at her wondrous originality & dance skill.

When everyone had recovered their composure after witnessing the dance spectacle, the next booked act to take to the mic was another supremely talented local legend, Mr Frank Bangay, one of the chief instigators of the much-respected 'Survivors Poetry' organisation, which has aided so many of those associated with mental health problems or difficulties for many years now.

Frank proceeded to provide a storming set that somehow managed to lift the audience even further from its already lofty height. He has always been connected with music & live musicians & this occasion was to continue that process as Frank had brought along a wonderful accompanist called 'Natasha' who played superb slide guitar while Frank vocalised & played along on wailing blues harp (harmonica). We were treated to a really wonderful mixture of poetry & song from Frank & had time allowed I'm sure the crowd would have loved to have heard even more of the same. Frank Bangay (with his talented accompanist) proved once again what a superb artist & performer he is & is rightly renowned for.

Another great mover & shaker behind 'Outsider Poetry' (previously mentioned with regard to the publication: 'Wonderful Ravaged Earth' took centre stage, namely, David Amery, a stalwart supporter of many related local events & happenings. He treated us to a 'performance collage' as only he can do. Expect the unexpected where David is concerned on stage & you won't be far wrong. After an act that often leaves the audience both scratching its head in awe & amazement, I told the audience that I'd finally realised what David does: “He’s a storyteller, surrealist poet/artist."

I then introduced the truly International poet/singer/cabaret performer/visual artist, the magical & inimitable Anne Pigalle (who frequently graced the cover of many fashion magazines in the 80s). Anne came on wearing her own dazzling customised jacket, emblazoned with her own art & the irrefutable title: 'The Last Chanteuse’, which she often goes by along with 'The Queen of Soho’. Her next album (after a lengthy break) is in the course of production/mixing & promises to be an absolutely sensational selection of numbers.

After reading a selection of her famously erotically charged poems Anne then proceeded to finish with one in French & amazingly there was a lady on hand to translate while doing 'sign' in French! Howzat!

The event was now approaching its conclusion, but I noticed that miraculously we were still on time to finish by 5pm.

The final poet/writer was the long-legged Canadian, John Stiles, yet another steadfast & consistent supporter of 'Outsider Poetry' events & known for his particular brand of quirkiness when on stage. John told us he has been working on what is his second novel, which I believe has been going on for a number of years now. He decided to read a snippet from the new novel, delivered in his previously mentioned quirky style. We were thus introduced to many unusual down home characters that were squeezed into the lively section John read to the audience. It definitely seems that readers have a peculiar treat in store once his book is finally completed & published.

So we arrived at the final featured act, which set up in double-quick time, with Mike Parsons on guitar & vocals & his affable regular accompanist, Roberto Simonatto, on electronic keyboard. They regaled us with a variety of original songs & a memorable haunting version of Roxy Music frontman, Bryan Ferry's 'Jealous Guy'.

To wind up proceedings our host/compere, Jazzman John Clarke stepped forward to thank all concerned, in particular, chief event organiser, the tireless, Nathalie Fonnesu, her brother Claudio on the film camera, Stefano Barone for stepping in to cover the PA & Sound & not least the wonderful signers/translators/caption typists/stenographers.

John then reprised & pounded out the elusive second section of 'Take A Hike' poem. An appropriate cry perhaps after much of the audience having been seated for the best part of three hours!

That finally brought the curtain down on what had been an immensely enjoyable & active afternoon from an array of talented acts. This culminated in an excellent & thoroughly deserved traditional round of applause, with wild waving from the deaf section!!!



Gong Bath to awaken and balance the senses. Sit back, relax and get immersed in the healing frequency and vibrations. With Otto Sound Therapywww.ottosoundtherapy.com

12-2pm ONLY: Healing Corner
Book a free taster session of Indian head massage or Acupuncture with Pathway Trust and Claire Hancock.

Shakespeare: Found in Translation
Dir. Cathy Heffernan, 2014
Documentary telling about the making of
Deafinitely Theatre “Midsummer Night's Dream" in British Sign Language at the Shakespeare Globe last June. Includes interviews with the company's Artistic Director Paula Garfield and members of the cast.

1.30 pm:
Sign Song Diva Caroline Parker MBE

2pm - 5pm:
Outsiders Poetry: Music, poetry and performance by local artists and mental health campaigners. The event will be assisted by BSL interpreting and captioning. Hosted by F.E.E.L. (Friends of East End Loonies).

Together: Directors Lorenza Mazzetti, Denis Horne, 1956
Semi-documentary film, showing London's East End post WW2 through the lives of two deaf friends. Is that BSL that they are using to communicate?

Tête-à-tête with Deaf Director Ted Evans, multi awards winner and maker of "The End".

"Best of Deaf" projecting a selection of award winning British Deaf short films and a series of popular comedies.
7:00pm: Retreat, 2013, Dir. Ted Evans
The structures that bind society have eroded, the valuable have been pushed to the fringes. At these crossroads a young woman lives between an unforgiving world and the confines of a dark community. With obsession rapidly over taking reason, Isobel must decide which world she wants to be part of.

7:24pm: Chasing Cotton Clouds 2011
Dir. Samuel Dore
A Deaf boy grieving for his father creates a fantasy world to cope with the alienation he feels. As he struggles at school and at home, he tries to find his way back from a world made out of cardboard and glue into the real world.

7:48pm: Champion of the World, Dir. Bim Ajadi, 2012
A young Deaf athlete who fights her way back from injury finds herself in a dilemma about what lengths she will go to in order to win. When hurdler Sophie is injured after chasing a shoplifter, she has to recover before she can get back to racing on the track. As she nears her return, she faces conflicting advice from her coach and her father.

8:15pm: My Song, Dir. William Mager, 2008
Ellen is a successful dancer, yet she feels left out at home and at school until she starts learning to sign. My Song tells the recurrent story of deaf identity and acceptance in the signing world. It was inspired by real events.

8:40pm: The End, Dir. Ted Evans, 2011
‘The End’ portrays the impact of a revolutionary ‘treatment’ that offers Deaf people the chance to become hearing. As a group of Deaf children grow up, we find out how the ‘treatment’ affects their futures as they decide whether to take it or not.

9:05pm: Still Here, Dir. Louis Neethling, 2012
Comedy-drama about a group of ageing Deaf Club performers who have been touring together for over 30 years. When Ruby falls ill, their lives are thrown into turmoil, because she has been the one keeping them together.

9:35pm: The Kiss, Dir. Charlie Swinbourne, 2014
A blind date hinges a comically conversation with a deaf couple sitting two tables down. How far can the latter couple take the prank they decide to play?’

9:45pm: Hand Solo (R15) Dir. William Mager, 2011
What if a Deaf man became an internationally adult film star, all because he’s very very good with his hands? Hands Solo is a short comedy mockumentary about one lucky person who makes it to the top.

We take the chance to thank EastendHomes for allowing us to access to Southern Grove Centre for this occasion.

Please also check the full programme for the ‘Day of the Dead’ taking place across the street in the Cemetery Park www.shufflefestival.com/day-of-the-dead

If you found the captions and BSL interpreting useful, please do let us know by writing to: deafvisionsuk@gmail.com

To find out more about F.E.E.L.

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