Causing a Scene: The National Association of Deafened People

We are so excited to announce even more support for the campaign! The National Association of Deafened People (NADP) have joined us in support of their members who currently struggle to access the cinema.

“Many of our members are of working age and find the showings of cinema viewings with subtitles do not meet their availability. We also have members with grandchildren who would like to enjoy a trip to the cinema with them but again viewing times are restrictive often during school time”

This, in a paragraph, is exactly what we want to change. Working age people should be able to go to the cinema whenever they want; grandparents should be able to take their grandchildren to see the latest films. It’s the lifestyle that those of us without hearing loss take for granted. We’re so glad that the NADP have come on board to help us achieve that lifestyle for everyone.

You can check out their work here.

Causing a Scene: Royal Association for Deaf People

Over the last few weeks we have been approaching charities, asking them to formally support our campaign. We are of the opinion that the more voices there are, the louder the call and these charities have such an excellent voice to add.

The Royal Association for Deaf People isn’t primarily a charity that campaigns, they are a service providing organisation and as such aren’t able to join us in campaigning. Nevertheless, their role is significant. In our correspondence with them, we came to some great common ground with the chief executive Jan Sheldon perfectly capturing what this campaign is all about.

“RAD supports any initiative that provides increased choice and accessibility for Deaf people”

And that includes us! Ultimately, we want choice and accesibility for those with hearing loss. We want to make it that you could choose a date, a time, a film to suit you. Thanks for your support RAD, we really appreciate it!

Causing a Scene: Hearing Loss Cornwall website launch

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of representing Causing a Scene at the Hearing Loss Cornwall website launch. Now, it’s no secret that we adore Hearing Loss Cornwall and are so, so grateful for their support so it was  a proper treat to go along. The event itself was a massive success, you should absolutely check out the new website here. There’s all kinds of resources and information, so it’s really worth checking out. We particularly loved what Clare, the Executive Officer, had to say about the design of the website. She didn’t want it to be too clinical, too ‘healthcare’. She wanted to reflect that there are people living, properly enjoying their lives, with hearing loss. We can’t make every conversation about hearing loss also about healthcare, so Hearing Loss Cornwall have got it spot on with their design. Wavy clapping hands all round. 

The highlight for us, aside from the incredible Porthleven Signing Choir, was the chance to meet with Sarah Newton. She’s the MP for Truro and Falmouth, but she’s also the patron of Hearing Loss Cornwall. We had the chance to have a great chat with her and we’re really excited to hopefully work with her in the future. 

When Clare sent us these pictures, one was saved as “Sarah Newton with campaigner Catherine”. Campaigner. Madness.

Causing a Scene: Introducing Abi

A few months ago, Abi got in touch and offered her services. I’ll never turn down a pal to help split the work and make sure I’m making sense after a night shift, so I very gladly accepted. We did a tiny interview so everyone can get to know a bit more about her:
So, Abi, tell us a bit about yourself! What do you do, where do you come from?
Hi! I am an actor (and everything else in between – Communication Support Worker, Teaching Assistant and Front of House in theatres) currently straddling life between Birmingham and London.
Why do you care about cinema access?
I deeply care about cinema access as my Mum is Deaf and I want her to have just as good an experience when we go for those mother daughter cinema dates.  (I guess that Abi and I are pretty similar)
OK, the important questions. What’s your favourite film?  And your favourite snack to eat whilst watching a film?
Ooo tricky one; I absolutely adore Moulin Rouge. Large salted popcorn and coke.
What was your best cinema experience?
Avatar in 3D on Christmas Eve. What a beautiful, immersive spectacular film to feel part of.
And the worst cinema experience?
Worst cinema experience, I can’t remember the film but it was meant to be subtitled and the whole family were together. We had to go and ask an attendant to start the film again with subtitles. The general, hearing public weren’t very happy having to see the first 10 minutes on repeat. (Again, can you see a theme?)
What would you like to see happen with this campaign? What would that mean for you personally?
I would love for this campaign to raise awareness of access in the arts in general and get passionate people on board with the shared aim of accessible arts for all in the coming years. I would LOVE, love to see the UK adopting the American model of the personal subtitling devices as a result of making waves on this topic.
Also, I am passionate about trailers being subtitled at subtitled screenings. This is something I’d enjoy seeing happen for all hard of hearing/deaf patrons of the cinema. It would mean, for me on a personal level, I could go to the cinema with Mum or my Deaf friends and not have to use energy on concern or fear for the inaccessibility of the experience. It would provide me with peace of mind, sitting there, scoffing popcorn safe in the knowledge that they are receiving the same full, accessible viewing as myself.
You can email Abi at abi.causingascene@gmail.com. I’m pretty sure she would like you to sign our petition too. You can find it here.

Causing a Scene: Back from holiday

Oh hello! Did you miss us? I’ve just had a week off to celebrate my Dad’s 70th Birthday and Abi is still on her travels (you’ll meet her really soon) but on this windy, rainy Monday it’s definitely all systems go! The inbox is busy with emails, but don’t forget to get in touch with us if you’re struggling at your local cinema. We’d love to do some of the hard work for you.*

In the last few weeks we’ve been in touch with all of the major cinema chains and all of the big hearing loss charities. Slowly and surely, we are hearing back from them, but there’s two very distinct replies I am sending.

One is “thanks for your reply, lets arrange a meeting!” The other is “thanks for your reply, but you haven’t really answered my question. Do you think you could answer my question?

I’ll let you work out which reply is for which group! I’m becoming more and more convinced that the big cinema chains aren’t that keen to talk with us, I wonder why?!

We’ve got some events to go to over the next few weeks, some media stuff in the pipeline and some more exciting interviews and collaborations to share with you all over the next few weeks so keep an eye on the website. Thanks so much for checking in with us.

*email catherine.causingascene@gmail.com

Have you signed the petition? Go and do it!

 

 

 

Causing a Scene: Petition

So, I’ve got an confession to make, I keep forgetting about this petition. I think its because I got overexcited and went straight to the top. I emailed the Office for Disability Issues, they called me back, we’ve had some chats and I forgot that this petition doesn’t just serve one purpose.

Obviously we want the government to do something, ideally sort out the ambiguous language in the Equality Act, but the government aren’t the only organisation we are petitioning.

I want to petition the cinemas, so they change their scheduling and invest in new technologies. If I’m honest, I think the government will listen well before 10,000 people ask them to. The cinema industry? I think it might take 10,000 people and the government. At the very least.

Which is why I think we should all sign and share this petition. The more of us that ask, the louder our voice becomes.

Go on, click here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/177073

Causing a Scene: Meetings, emails and phone calls

It’s been a really great, encouraging couple of weeks of meetings, emails and phone calls. I hate being a teasey Tina but there are some things that I can’t offer loads of details about. So let me be cagey with these few bullet points…

  • We’ve approached the Office for Disability Issues to let them know what we are up to (because, frankly, I think the big cinema companies will listen to the government in a more timely fashion than they will to me.) I’m really excited to see how their involvement pans out and, of course, we will let you know any developments as soon as we can!
  • We also had a lovely meeting with The Poly in Falmouth about increasing their subtitled screenings. Smaller cinemas are absolutely leading the way with this campaign and we have been so encouraged by their response to this.
  • Another small cinema that has been really engaged with this is the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds. We originally got in touch with them because one of you got in touch with us. I can’t say this often enough, let us do the hard work; drop us an email*, comment on our facebook page or send a note via carrier pigeon.

*catherine.causingascene@gmail.com

Have you signed our petition? Go on, do  it.

Causing a Scene: Let us do the hard work

A little while ago, someone commented on our Facebook page telling us how disappointed they were in their local cinema’s provision of subtitles screenings.

So, we emailed them and now we are in a lovely, advisory conversation with them.

And we would like to do that for you. If you’re struggling with your local cinema’s provision of subtitled screenings and/or personal subtitling devices please do drop us a line and we’ll get involved!

You can either email us at catherine.causingascene@gmail.com or abi.causingascene@gmail.com, comment below or post on our facebook page.

Have you signed our petition? It’s here

Causing a Scene: Obstacles

Throughout this campaign, it has felt a little like running an obstacle course.

The first obstacle, right at the beginning before it was even a campaign and when it was just a cinema trip gone bad, was the total lack of deaf awareness displayed by the management staff.

“You’re welcome to stay and watch the film anyway if you like. No charge.”

Well, gee thanks, but would you stay and watch a film in Martian if it was free? No. You wouldn’t. If this campaign doesn’t, at the very least, change the levels of deaf awareness in the cinema industry I’ll feel crazy.

This obstacle is like a water obstacle. It bogs you down, you know its going to come up time and time again, there’s no getting away from it. Sometimes you’ll feel as though you’re drowning in it and sometimes it’ll just be a splash. But its always there. This whole experience has been saturated in it.

The next obstacle has been all the people who insist that actually the situation is pretty good. They’re the people like Cineworld who assure me that “Concerning the number of subtitled performances available across our cinemas, our expectations are that each cinema should have at least one current mainstream film screened with subtitles twice a week (that’s a minimum of 172 screenings across the UK each week)” but won’t tell me how many screenings they have in total. So I counted all the screenings at the Cineworld in Basildon between today and next Wednesday; there are just over 550. They have 5 subtitled screenings. You may think “WELL DONE CINEWORLD BASILDON!” but hold your horses. If you happen to work 9-5, like many people with and without hearing loss, you can only go to two of the screenings. The two you can go to are children’s films. You’ll need to take the day off work to go and see 50 Shades Darker, because even though there are 123 screenings of it in the next 7 days, Cineworld Basildon are only subtitling one of them. At 10.30am on Monday. Perfect for a night out with the girls. Oh. Wait. No it isn’t.

This obstacle is the high one. It’s the biggie. If we continue to settle for the status quo that is being sold to us, we’ll be climbing over this obstacle forevermore.

The last obstacle is the sheer obstructive nature of some of the organisations we have come into contact with. Cineworld, for example, will now no longer engage with us via email. We have to write an actual letter to them; find a printer, an envelope, a stamp, a postbox. The UK Cinema Association will not give us access to their Disability Working Group, not even to address them.

I like to think of this obstacle as the mean one. That net thing that you have to crawl under, the one with the electric shocks. It’s designed to beat you down, to make you drop out, to make you go away. But, I have a printer, an envelope, a stamp. There’s a postbox just outside my house.

And as with all obstacle courses, there are the exhilarating moments. The people that cheer you on (thanks Hearing Loss Cornwall and Limping Chicken!), the meetings that were much easier than you anticipated, the sense of progress. I don’t know what we will win at the end of this, but at the very least we’re definitely competing.

 

 

 

*

Causing a Scene: it’s not just subtitles

You know that you bang on about cinema access a lot when people you haven’t seen for years send you messages about interesting technologies. My friend Chris works for a wee cinema in Scotland; they’re looking at improving their access structures and have come across the Sennheiser Cinema Connect. At first glance, I kind of love it.

There’s a simple app that you can just download on your phone, you connect to the cinema wifi and you can have amplified audio tracks in your ears using your own headphones. You can have extra audio description if you have a visual impairment. The cinemas just need to get on board.

The further we get into this, the more convinced I am that integrative technology is the way forward for people with additional access needs. Long term investments into making our leisure spaces more inclusive are becoming less expensive and must be embraced if progress is going to be made. It’s not just subtitles, it’s more than that. I