Firstly, let me say that this was my first ever event of this type that I’d been to … I’d never been to one before, you’ll see why further down.
So, for the first time ever, I’ve gone to an event and actually felt included. It was the Heroes & Villains Fan Fest event in London (their first time at putting HVFF on in the UK). They had both captions and interpreters. We didn’t even have to ask for it. It meant that we could actually enjoy the day without worrying that we’d have to fight or campaign for access; they had it all there already. Yeah there were a couple of hiccups, but as it was their first convention – they can learn from them (I emailed them – because if they don’t know, how can they improve?) ?
It’s making me consider going to more of these type of events. As someone (a deaf person) interested in film & production methods, and studying at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), things that are accessible are really hard to find where I can just turn up and be included… hearing folk, you don’t have to worry about anything like that – you can rock on up to the entrance and are automatically being included. We’re different; we have to badger and badger and badger before an event, chase it up, double check, and even then we still often either get denied the communication support we are entitled to, or it’s merely forgotten. Unless you see it or experience it first hand, you’ll not really grasp what it does to you as a person.
So, to turn up, and know that I could take part WAS AMAZING. I’d never been interested in these types of events before … because … well … there was never access provisions.
The company organising the event is AMERICAN, and is hosting it on BRITISH soil – how come they can do it really well, and yet our own country cannot? Why are we accepting second best here, when the Americans have just shown how it should be done? They are being proactive instead of reactive; something our British Equality Act 2010 was supposed to ensure – to anticipate the need, not wait for it to identify itself. I commend them for that.
I’m absolutely *thrilled*, and WILL be going to the next one. I’ll be one of the guys near the interpreters at the front with a camera, come say hi! I can talk, so don’t mistake me for a hearing person.
I’ve attached some of the best photos of the event, that I took:
I’ve also been asked a question regarding language. I need to declare this now, as although my “first language” is English, I prefer receiving information in BSL. It’s quicker for me to process now. One multichannel sign can show an entire sentence. My brain has started to adapt and process large chunks of information pretty quickly (but it’s still damn hard work, you try translating a language whilst still receiving the next part of what’s being said), so I can now be taking photos and quickly glancing at the interpreter. I can’t do that with captions – I can’t look to the side, read the sentence (word.. by.. word), process it and take a photo.