Deaf Conversations about Cinema

A monthly Deaf Conversations About Cinema event for Deaf / hard of hearing (HOH) and hearing costumers to talk about a film with an invited guest and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
David Ellington

Project overview

It was set up in January 2016 after a successful 6 month residence working with David Ellington as ‘Agent for Change’ funded by Art of England (South West). Watershed would like to develop more inclusive cinema that welcomes D/deaf people to enjoy and be able to chat about the films itself.


Focused on improvement in engaging with local Deaf people; using Watershed’s website, it needs to identify the key point where D/deaf people can able to read What’s On in English text or watch BSL (British Sign Language) video clip that set aside on the same web page; rearranging Watershed’s Calendar page to highlight with colour that signify for which accessible language is used for i.e. blue highlights represents Descriptive subtitling (DS).

Headline Results

It has attracted the number of D/deaf, HOH and hearing people and they shared their views on directing, representation, valuation, cultural difference, including sound track and musics.


Any genres in the films to be selected, subjecting to DS print availability.

Key Partnerships

Local film / cultural experts to be contacted as they can able to explain their views on films.

What worked

Number of regular deaf people came in and found it enjoyable and useful to discuss about the wide range of issue such as story, representation, key theme, and music.

What didn’t work

We needed to check with the distributors in advance over the availability of Descriptive Subtitling (DS), as a few time they were not available at the last minute. Some HOH people are struggled to follow the pace of the conversation. We are also mindful of particular themes that may arise in films, especially in relation to the portrayal of incidents such as violence owing to possible mental health needs of attendees.