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British Sign Language Storytelling Cafe in Edinburgh, 5 Nov 2011

Just a week to go till the biggest celebration of BSL storytelling of 2011 or possibly any other year. And it's FREE to attend, whether you're Deaf or hearing, aged 5 or 105.

Come along to the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh's High Street any time between 12 and 4.30pm on Saturday 5th November and you'll be spoilt for choice. There's enough to entertain you for a full afternoon, or 10 minutes if that's all you can spare - but we would defy you to be able to tear yourself away after such a short visit! The event, 'Deaf in the Story: Visual Stories of an Invisible People' is organised by Heriot-Watt University's BSL:UPTAKE project, in partnership with the Scottish Storytelling Centre and other partners from the Deaf world, the storytelling world and the academic world.

Highlights of the day will include workshops in sign language storytelling run by Mark MacQueen, the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s bursary-winning BSL storyteller; a performance by Firefly Arts Theatre Group; and translations into BSL of two stories from the School of Scottish Studies Archives at Edinburgh University, translated by Frankie McLean and specially filmed for the occasion in Heriot-Watt’s Media Studio. These include the Stanley Robertson classic, ‘The Old Woman Who Sold Her Soul to the Devil’. So if you survive Hallowe'en and you want more spooky stories, this is the place for you!

Still in the supernatural vein, BSL/English interpreters will be on hand to interpret extracts from Edinburgh's own storyteller, Robert Louis Stevenson, including the world-famous chiller 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' and the children's masterpiece 'Treasure Island'. And Deaf translators Tessa Padden and Clare Canton will be there to translate dozens of the other short stories illustrated in the Scottish Storytelling Centre into BSL. All of these translation/interpretation treats are AVAILABLE ON DEMAND - just go up and ask. A treat for Deaf or hearing kids of any age!

There will also be exhibitions by Deaf organisations Deaf History Scotland, Deaf Action, The Scottish Council on Deafness and Donaldson's School, as well as partners who are developing more access and resources for the Deaf community in BSL, such as the Scottish Sensory Centre and Artlink Edinburgh. These all have their own fascinating stories to tell about the history of Deaf people in Scotland, Deaf education and the continuing story of the move towards recognition of BSL as a language on a par with Scotland's other languages.

We are delighted that this momentous episode in the story of BSL will be filmed by the world's longest-running BSL TV programme, the BBC's See Hear!, 30 years after it was first shown in 1981.

More information about ‘Deaf in the Story’ can be found on the Scottish Storytelling Centre website - Many of the resources will also be made available on the BSL:UPTAKE website.

Bob Duncan

Project Officer


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