Palestine Red Crescent Society
Teaching sign language
Building an animation team with young deaf adults in Palestine
We were contacted by Jan Caspers and Gary Rosborough, tutors and specialist teachers of stop motion animation. They have been using Stop Motion Pro in schools and other institutions. Among other things they have been experimenting in animating sign language together with deaf students in Palestine.
We are animation teachers from Northern Ireland and Germany, with Stop Motion Pro experience going back to the very beginning. We teach in Ireland, Britain, Germany and many other places. For more than ten years we have been facilitating animation workshops and developing animation training programmes in Palestine, on the initiative of the local British Council arts officer, Ms Suha Khuffash. In the next editions of this newsletter we will present some of these projects.
...as someone who is using SMP every day I must take this opportunity to say that I always enjoy it immensely and that it’s a joy to work with with students. Especially because it is so solid!
For the past three years, one of the major programmes is with deaf students at the Total Communication School of the Palestine Red Crescent Society in the town of Al Bireh, a few kilometres outside Jerusalem. After two years initial development, we work weekly with a group of school graduates. The intention is to set up an animation team that will be able to deliver animation workshops and produce animations, with a specific emphasis put on sign language in animation. Over the past year members of this team facilitated six pilot workshops - to deaf as well as hearing children - and while they still have much to learn (it's the beauty of animation - there's always more to discover!) they are ready to start working independently soon.
On the production side, representing sign language is an interesting process of experimentation. Here are the exercises of this and last week's workshop: https://vimeo.com/146313480, https://vimeo.com/145654935, https://vimeo.com/146939621. But they also work on less specialised productions, such as these: https://vimeo.com/129955890 ("On Wings of Imagination"), https://vimeo.com/130331691 ("Letter to a Friend", inspired by a comment a sign language teacher from the United States posted on Vimeo for the preceding production, "On Wings").
More recently the young animators are working on a concept for a little series. It started out as an exercise to practice movement and photography without spending too much time on visual embellishment: https://vimeo.com/140968156. It worked very well, we made another the following week (https://vimeo.com/141704165). We hope to develop it as a little series, without narration, apart from occasional sign language, that might even be marketed to local television. Who knows. For the young animators it would be great validation of course. Their achievement is already evident in their work, of course!
Gary Rosborough, Jan Caspers.
Some of the other work he has done in Jerusalem here:
Thanks for sending in the work of yourself and your students, Jan and Gary! - SMP team