At the Late Night Deaf Party at Deaffest 2013, there will be an exciting brand new Visual Vernacular competition! Spread the word, because Visual Vernacular is addictive once you’ve watched an artist perform the beautiful art but Visual Vernacular will truly flow through your veins and live through you when you express the art yourself! The icing on the cake that there is a prize money for the best three Visual Vernacular expressions to be won!

We are proud to announce our five judges who will judge the artists for their expressions and decide the winners!

Clive Mason


Clive Mason has been a prominent and influential figure in the field of sign language and the media for over thirty years. His extensive experience has made him highly sought after as a Sign Language Media Consultant.

Clive rose to prominence as the longest standing presenter and reporter on the BBC’s flagship Deaf magazine program ‘See Hear’. He has worked as both a film/video director and assistant producer, translating information regarding Government initiatives and services into formats accessible to the Deaf community for the Central Office of Information.

He then went on to head up the British Sign Language/English translation production unit for the company Independent Media Support Ltd (IMS).

His outstanding contribution to the field of Deaf Media was recently recognised with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Jean St. Clair


Trained at the British Theatre of the Deaf, Jean has worked with National Theatre of the Deaf (USA), Interim Theatre Company (UK) and Australian Theatre of the Deaf. Theatre work includes Locked Room Scenario (Artangel); Counting The Ways  (Oval House & London tour, Millfield Arts Centre); In Praise of Fallen Women (Drill Hall); Cinders Sisters (Drill  Hall); Snow Queen (Drill Hall); Children of a Lesser God (Sarah Norman, lead role) at Albery Theatre, Sadlers Wells Theatre, tours of Ireland, South Africa and No.1 UK tour. Hearing (Birmingham Rep) and Waiting for Godot; Don Quixote; Lady of The Larkspur; Lotion & Sgnarelle (Australia). TV includes Don’t Leave Me This Way: Hands Up! (The Magician’s Nephew and The Iron Man), Sign On and See Hear. Short Films includes Still Here and Five Needles. She recently worked as BSL Artistic Director for Remark! Media’s new series, Magic Hands to be shown on CBeebies. Her work as BSL consultant include National Theatre Wales’ In Water I’m Weightless and NSPCC/Childline’s Online Safety and with several other theatre companies including Unicorn Theatre, Face Front Inclusive Theatre, Graeae Theatre, Red Earth Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and Forest Forge Theatre.

(Photograph by Samuel Dore)

Gavin Lilley


Gavin is a native BSL user having grown up in a Deaf family. He has grown up with an unwavering passion for learning other Sign Languages and teaching. During his University studies he further developed his keen interest in the visual nature of sign languages, more towards the field of international communication. Through his love for travel, sign language and cultural diversity he chose to do a student exchange programme in Kuopio, Finland, where he met his wife. They both use BSL and FinSL on a daily basis. He has taught international signing workshops to well over a hundred Sign Language Interpreters all over Europe. Gavin is fluent in British Sign Language, Finnish Sign Language and has some experience with American and German Sign Languages. He loves to watch and use the visual vernacular – It is the very thing that makes the worldwide Deaf community so united by breaking down communication barriers with ease.

Marilyn Willrich


As a Deaf native sign language user Marilyn Willrich comes from a 7th generation deaf family.  She has experience of teaching British Sign Language (BSL) from beginner level up to level 6.  Marilyn has also taught at the University of Wolverhampton and was previously a CACDP (now Signature) assessor.

With over 20 years experience of the Media industry Marilyn has worked for the BBC as a presenter/reporter and for Channel 4 as a BSL consultant for VeeTV.

Having travelled extensively she has met many Deaf people from all around the world which has exposed her to a rich variety of sign languages.   With a passion for all things visual, Marilyn is very proud to be judging this year’s VV at Deaffest.

Richard Carter


Richard will be our host for the VV Competition at Late Night Deaf Party.

Richard Carter is a poet, storyteller, teacher and research consultant.

He currently works at Elmfield Secondary School in Bristol as a BSL tutor.

He also teaches poetry to Deaf and hearing adults and children across the UK.  He has performed his own poetry at a range of events, including the Bristol Sign Poetry Festivals (2006, 2010, 2011)  Richard was also responsible for mentoring children who participated in the Life & Deaf project in Greenwich, London in 2006, 2012 and 2013 .  He is currently a research consultant on an Arts and Humanities Research Council project, led by Dr Rachel Sutton-Spence at the University of Bristol that explores the use of metaphor within creative sign language.

About Deaffest

UK's Leading Deaf-Led Film and Arts Festival

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