It is already day 30 of my challenge to learn 125 signs in a month and I have been lucky to be able to interview the incredible organisation BSLBT.

BSLBT is an organisation that was set up in 2008 to create shows for Deaf people by deaf people. Even though they are less than 10 years old they have a massive amount of awards for a lot of their different shows and a catch up service online called BSL Zone. Despite being a very unique and amazing service they are a small charity with only 4 full time members of staff.

At the beginning of the month I found the service and was so happy when I found their hours upon hours of shows with people signing. There were interviews, cooking shows, history programmes and documentaries all made for and by deaf people.

Their recent documentary about Andre a deaf climber was really interesting for me as someone who used to climb. His drive and focus on climbing echos what a lot of my university friends do. The fact that he trains regularly with Adrian Baxter is definitely something that will make them very jealous.

Now in BSLBT fashion, they very kindly signed the whole interview for me – I still can’t believe how incredibly amazing they were to take time to do this as well as send across the written answers. Check out the video below to see their response¬†to see what they do, what they have planned, why they are so successful as well as a tip on how to improve your sign language.

If you don’t sign then turn on captions on the video or continue to read the transcript to the interview. If you want to find out more or check out some incredible award winning shows available online for free, visit www.bslzone.co.uk now.

Thank you to everyone at BSLBT and BSL Zone – I am already picking up new words and practicing the words that I have learnt this month.

Have you heard of BSLBT or BSL Zone before? Have you seen any of their programmes – if so which is your favourite? Will you check out some of their shows now? Have you found programmes with signers helpful to learning BSL? Have you used programmes and music to help learn other languages? I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment below!

 


 

Video interview with BSLBT transcript:

Hello, I am Sam Calder, the production manager at BSLBT
What is BSL Zone and BSLBT?
British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust was set up in 2008, with Ofcom’s approval, to offer an alternative way for commercial broadcasters to meet their regulatory requirements to provide sign language on their qualifying channels.

Research had shown that in-vision programming was not meeting the needs of Deaf people and that Deaf people were not watching interpreted programmes. The BSL Zone is the home, where we show out programmes on television (in a half hour slot) and on line: www.bslzone.co.uk

What sort of response and feedback have you had from the BSL community since setting up the trust in 2008?
We have had a good response, although the audience will always want more programmes. We commission a wide range of content from drama, to factual, magazine and childrens programmes. We continue to encourage written feedback on our website and are developing a tool for feedback in sign language.

You cover such a broad range of shows – are there some new ones that BSLBT have planned coming soon?
Filming starts in September on our 4 part sitcom series, Small World, plus 6 new 15 minute Secret Lab programmes are in production ( a children’s science programme)

You include subtitles, music and other audio aimed at those with hearing – how much of a hearing audience do you have?
It is difficult for us to get accurate audience viewing figures and feedback. But we do know that the majority of Deaf children have hearing parents, so we endeavour to make our programmes accessible for a mixed audience for a shared experience.

In such a short time your organisation has won an impressive number of awards for your shows – what do you think is the leading reason for your success?
We are a unique commissioning body, there is nothing like us in the world. There is a demand for programmes which use sign language and explore Deaf culture and experience. We have also been concerned with producing high quality programmes from the start.

For people learning BSL, do you have any tips?
Watch our programmes on www.bslzone.co.uk


A month of learning BSL on blue background with hand gestures


Annabelle

Annabelle has lived in Exeter, Bournemouth and London but now live in Brighton as a freelancer. With a love of baking, sewing and social media, she is now starting her own blog.

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