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Signing Hands Across the Water

Signing Hands Across the Water

An International Festival of Sign Language Poetry from the United Kindom and the United States

six BSL poets

On March 16th – 18th 2012, Swarthmore College celebrates sign language poetry. Sign language poets from Britain and America will come together and explore this rich and beautiful art form with members of College, the Deaf Community and visitors from the wider community.
The festival will include:

  • Friday evening – a “public conversation” between the British and American poets, discussing national, cultural, linguistic and personal differences in their work;
  • Saturday evening – an open performance of poems in British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL);
  • Sunday morning – a Panel discussion ‘how signed poetry works’, exploring the language and themes used in BSL and ASL poetry.
  • Additionally, on Saturday daytime there will be a workshop for fluent signers to compose signed poetry.

Signing Hands Across the Water will give College members and visitors to College a unique opportunity to discover sign language poetry in the United States and in the British deaf community where traditions, language and culture are different.
The event is organised as part of the work of Rachel Sutton-Spence, Cornell Visiting Professor to Swarthmore for 2011-2012. Professor Sutton-Spence has worked on creative sign language for over 15 years, especially researching and promoting British Sign Language poetry (www.bristol.ac.uk/bslpoetryanthology).

The Festival is made possible by the William J Cooper Foundation at Swarthmore College

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disability equality in the arts