Paul Hanrahan
Written by

Visible Cinema is a D/deaf and hard of hearing friendly film programme of monthly film screenings and events, with the specific aim to make film culture visible and accessible to these audiences.

In ICO’s recent study of D/deaf attendance to cinemas, 97.5% of survey respondents said they would visit UK cinemas more frequently if provisions were improved. The report also stated that 1 in 6 people in the UK are affected by deafness.

We asked Jodie Wilkinson, Public Engagement Coordinator for Glasgow Film Theatre – and one of the guest speakers at our forthcoming D/deaf symposium– to give us some background to the Visible Cinema programme they helped set up.

VISIBLE CINEMA by jodie wilkinson

Visible Cinema is the first initiative of its kind in Scotland. Glasgow Film Theatre, in partnership with Creative Scotland, Solar Bear and Film Hub Scotland, launched the pilot programme in March 2015 and it has been growing in popularity ever since.

The ambition for the Visible Cinema initiative was to explore how we could enrich the overall cinema experience and tackle the screen industry fracture that exists, by providing accessible events for D/deaf people and people who are hard of hearing.

With 11 million people in the UK with varying levels of hearing loss (and growing), it is time to challenge the inconsistent range of captioned films and contribute our experience to develop exhibitor knowledge on the importance of providing films with captions.

When we started this journey we didn’t know what to expect, we just knew that we needed to find collaborators and our best-unexpected results occurred from a vital collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA Performance in BSL and English Students.

Together, we design quarterly screening events of Deaf shorts and captioned features that are hosted by these Deaf artists. By building trust, sharing knowledge and working with people who have lived experience of Deafness- we have succeeded in delivering a new wave of Deaf interest film events that have attracted D/deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audiences and resulted in sell-out screenings.

Importantly, Visible Cinema has improved awareness for better cinema access for the D/deaf and hard of hearing communities and has enabled exciting strategies that have challenged and diversified our programme. We are so proud to have kick-started progress and believe that the power of film, to explore and engage with issues, helps transform and improve all people’s lives, in meaningful and inspiring ways.

If you are interested in following the monthly Visible Cinema programme at GFT you can keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter @glasgowfilm #visiblecinema With thanks to Jodie Wilkinson, Glasgow Film Theatre.

If you are interested in what happened at the D/deaf Symposium on July 13th, you can follow this link to find out more.




Main image credit: VISIBLE CINEMA SET UP. Copyright GFT.