Africa Oye to launch sign language video announcing the festival

Posted on 17 March 2016
By Farai Muzavazi
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Africa Oye has filmed a sign language film for the deaf community at FACT Cinema about the festival, which celebrates the music and culture from Africa and the Diaspora.

This video has been filmed in British Sign Language (BSL), International Sign Language (ISL) and American Sign Language (ASL), which will be made available online to make it more inclusive for the deaf community, carrying on from the onstage interpreters the festival had. They want to strive to appeal to the deaf community.

Paul Duhaney, the Artistic Director of Africa Oye stated that after piloting using language interpreters during last year’s performances and stage announcements, they received so much feedback.

The goal is always to bring a more inclusive feel to Africa Oye for all those in attendance, and attempt to make sure everyone is catered for. And so by do this video and making the deaf community aware of what is on offer at Africa Oye, it opens up the Festival to so many more people.

As well as interpreters for the Deaf community, the festival is looking for a moving platform to allow wheelchair access for better views of the stage. Then for elderly people, there will be more toilets for them. Thus by doing such things, it makes Africa Oye accessible to more people, with the aim being to do more for people in the community across all walks of life so that they can to be included.

When a survey was taken at the end of last year’s Africa Oye in 2015, this made them look at all aspects involved in the festival, addressing the strengths as well as short falls and weaknesses. So they were fully aware of they needed to focus on for this year.

With the festival going from strength to strength each year, so much so that not only have Arts Council England been impressed, they have been sending organisations to Africa Oye to learn from them, such as Homotopia.

In order to gain a better understanding of how to expand the experience of the festival for the Deaf Community, Africa Oye is working closely with a charity called Attitude is Everything that does exactly that, aiming to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry.

The sign language filming took place in the green screen studio at FACT Cinema, which was set up during the exhibition Follow, in their FACT Lab workshop space.