Sign Language Week is celebrated this week starting with a special event at 2 Royal Avenue yesterday (14 March), organised by Belfast City Council and the Sign Language Users Forum.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl, opened the event joined by members of the Deaf community and Deaf organisations.
The editor of VIEWdigital magazine, Brian Pelan, was guest speaker and gave an insight into how a recent edition was dedicated to raising awareness of deaf issues featuring contributions from the local Deaf community.
2 Royal Avenue hosted 3 different zones – space 1 featured storyboards capturing the stories of the local Deaf community, space 2 presented the impact of Covid-19 on the community and space 3 saw a signed recital poetry performance.
The Lord Mayor said: “I was honoured to attend this wonderful event at 2 Royal Avenue getting to meet with members of our local Deaf community in Belfast and representatives of Deaf organisations. All of the attendees, like myself, were treated to an experimental journey focusing on the story of a Deaf person.
“One of the three zones raised an awareness into how the Deaf community struggled during the pandemic and this was particularly evocative.
“Sign Language is one of the five strands of our Language Strategy and it’s fitting to celebrate and promote the language through Sign Language Week.”
Belfast City Council was the first Northern Ireland council to sign up to the British Deaf Association’s Sign Language Charter committing to promote better access to public services for Deaf people. The Sign Language Users Forum was set up, as a result, in 2019.
Sign Language Week runs from 14 – 22 March. More information is available at https://signlanguageweek.org.uk/