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British Deaf Association wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

4 April 2012

The British Deaf Association (BDA) has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Heritage Picture House project, it was announced today. The 3-year project aims to circulate knowledge and ideas gleaned from old films that are currently stored by the BDA to raise awareness of the Deaf community’s heritage, and improve Deaf people’s understanding of their own history.

Development funding of £64,800 has also been awarded to help the British Deaf Association progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The project will coincide with the BDA’s 125th anniversary celebrations in 2015 and will focus on three key chronological stages. Firstly, the establishment of an online resource consisting of archive clips and learning resources created through the re-mastering of old film reels belonging to the BDA dating back to the 1930s.

Secondly, the collection of 50 testimonies and interviews from Deaf community members, academics and historians to shed light on what the films reveal about the development of the Deaf community, Deaf culture, and BSL throughout the past 70 years. 

Lastly, there will be an UK-wide learning and educational outreach programme to showcase the knowledge gained from the research phases which will aim to educate the Deaf community, children attending deaf and mainstream schools, college students, and the general public. The heritage will then be online open for anyone to use the digitised formats.

David Buxton, CEO of the BDA, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. We believe this is an important time to reach out to older Deaf people and record their stories before it is too late. They have a wealth of stories, anecdotes and old films which provide a clearer more vivid picture of the experiences of today's Deaf Community. It is so important that Deaf children and future generations should be able to access this wealth of heritage so they can embrace their own history, culture, language and identity."


*A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.

On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.