Deaf Day 2024: Thousands attend City Lit for return of annual event

Published: 11 April 2024
Deaf Day 2024: Thousands attend City Lit for return of annual event

Deaf Day celebrated its 26th anniversary on Saturday 13th April, with thousands of attendees heading from all over the UK to City Lit for the occasion.

The free one-day event once again proved to be a great success. Members of the Deaf community were able to come together to celebrate Deaf culture, meet and socialise with charities and other organisations and take part in a wide range of talks, tasters and workshops.The event also saw the return of deaf photographer and former student Stephen Illife’s ‘Deaf Mosaic’ exhibition in the City Lit Gallery.

This year, Deaf Day was sponsored by several key organisations who were integral to its success. These included SignVideo, Lipspeaker UK, SignLive and the NRCPD. Other institutions also populated four floors of the City Lit building and all played their part in making Deaf Day such a spectacle.

Exhibition stands in the John Lyon's Theatre
Emma Iliffe, Pat Parke and Mark Hopkinson

Taster Sessions

There was a fantastic selection of activities on offer during Deaf Day. Many of these sessions run throughout the year on the City Lit calendar, so don’t worry if you missed out on the day. They were hugely popular and included:

  • British Sign Language – An introductory session to learn some basic vocabulary and grammar in British Sign Language.
  • Lipreading – An interactive session for people to try out lipreading. The session was taught in spoken English with a BSL interpreter.
  • Yoga for Deaf people - Taught in sign language to help develop an awareness and practice of Yoga by going into more depth with basic postures and learn new ones.

Other sessions included the relaxing ‘Energising Breath’ workshop, which was also delivered completely in BSL.

Talks and workshops

The day featured a number of talks and workshops from outside organisations and from City Lit staff.

St John’s Ambulance joined us to give an exciting workshop in using defibrillators and how to administer CPR. It was also great to see the Metropolitan Police in the building, who came in to give a lesson in cyber security and staying safe on the internet. Rebecca Mansell, Chief Executive of the British Deaf Association, came into discuss the upcoming BSL GSCEs which will soon be available for school students, and SignVideo gave a very useful talk in how to use their services.

The afternoon also featured City Lit tutor and Deaf historian Peter Brown, who gave a led a very interesting discussion about the use of Roman gestures in British Sign Language.

Stephen Iliffe with Peace Adesun, Mareah Ali, Isabella Giddins and Shalom Nuhu
Deaf Mosaic - In Conversation

The ‘Deaf Mosaic’ exhibition

Attendees who entered City Lit on Saturday were also immediately greeted by the Deaf Mosaic Exhibition in our Gallery. It contained impressive photographs of Deaf individuals taken all over the country. This is the third successive year that deaf photographer Stephen Illife has hosted the exhibition at Deaf Day. However, this year, there was a little twist.

As well as showcasing his latest work, Stephen also invited four exciting new deaf photography talents to also display their work. Peace Adesun, Mareah Ali, Isabella Giddins and Shalom Nuhu are all recent photography degree graduates (or in their final year) and certainly brought their own visual perspective to the deaf experience.

Together, the photographers’ work made for one of the highlights of the day. They came together for the last hour of the event for a panel discussion to talk about their work in City Lit’s Cultureplex.

Speaking on the event, Stephen Illife said, “I am super-proud of us five deaf photographers sharing our experiences at a lively City Lit Deaf Day 2024 discussion panel."

Feel like you missed out? Hear more from Stephen by clicking the video below.

Centre for Deaf Education at City Lit

Since its inception in 1919, City Lit has been a pioneer in Deaf support. Some of the first courses offered by the college were lipreading classes for soldiers returning from World War I. Since then, our Centre for Deaf Education has become internationally renowned and stands as Europe's largest of its kind. It boasts a diverse team of skilled deaf and hearing professionals, who are experts in their specialist fields.

Deaf Rave
Deaf Ethnic Women's Assocation

City Lit college offers a huge range of Deaf Education courses, from BSL to lipreading to English for Deaf people.

Have a look at all of our courses by clicking the button below.

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Deaf Day 2024: Thousands attend City Lit for return of annual event