Since 2012 the British Council has worked in partnership with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society’s Total Communication School on training a group of students in the art and craft of traditional stop-motion animation.
Students are taught with the practical skills with which they can express themselves. Equipped with the prerequisite technical and aesthetic skills and experience, the deaf students were able to create films that tell stories using their own sign languages, rather than relying exclusively on substitutes for oral speech such as subtitles, or resorting to wordless narratives. In doing so they not only serve their own specific needs, but they make a unique contribution to the art of animation as a whole.
The Animation for the Deaf training project aims to develop creative confidence as well as social competence. During open days and summer schemes, the students became more confident and were led to conduct their own animation workshops, sharing their newly-acquired skills with their disabled and non-disabled peers.
As part of the British Council's commitment to build the capacities of the local organisations working with people with disabilities, we developed a long-term training programme in using arts therapeutically. Since February 2013 a team of sixteen animators and psycho-social workers from the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation have attended three phases of intensive training conducted by the UK based organisation TUTUBI. The participants learned new techniques in using the arts for therapeutic purposes.
As an outcome of an intensive two week dance residency project by Candoco Dance Company in Palestine, a short contemporary dance piece was produced and performed during Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival 2013. A group of deaf and hearing youth danced in Candoco's main performance to an enthusiastic audience who greeted them using sign language. You can watch this performance here.