New DVD Set Showcases Deaf Art, Film, Theater, ASL Literature and More

Story Highlights: 
  • Five years in the making, the set features hundreds of Deaf View/Image Art works, film clips and scenes from Deaf plays and performances.
  • It was edited and produced by Karen Christie and Patti Durr, both teachers at RIT/NTID.
  • The two-DVD set is being sold as a visual textbook.
  • The set sells for $30.

After five years of work, a new, comprehensive DVD set exploring Deaf visual art, theater, cinema, American Sign Language literature and English literature is now for sale.

The HeART of Deaf Culture: Literary and Artistic Expressions of Deafhood was edited and produced by Karen Christie and Patti Durr, both teachers in the Cultural & Creative Studies Department at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

“If the DVD set weighed as much as it has inside it, you wouldn’t be able to lift it,” Durr says. “It is stocked full of materials that are priceless.”

“While it is a visual textbook, we believe people in both the Deaf and hearing communities will cherish the works here and keep it as a treasured part of their personal library,” Christie says.

The interactive DVD was designed as a visual textbook to be used in Deaf Cultural Studies and ASL courses. It features hundreds of Deaf View/Image Art works, scenes from Deaf plays and performances, film clips, ASL literary works and English literary works.

In addition to an overview providing a historical context, each genre has its own interactive timeline, collection of sample works, and accompanying video and text files. Noted works include those by Chuck Baird, Betty G. Miller, Susan Dupor, Ella Mae Lentz, Clayton Valli, Nathie Marbury, Willy Conley, Dorothy Miles, Tom Holcomb, Raymond Luczak, Kristi B. Merriweather, Wayne Betts, Jr., and Ruthie Jordan.

Unique additional features include Across the Arts videos that showcase works from various genres under specific themes such as Deaf President Now and Paying Homage to Deaf Ancestors.

“We are forever indebted to the various creators of these works for allowing us to reproduce them in this visual textbook so that others may see, learn, understand, value and create more themselves,” Durr says.

To promote a greater appreciation of English poetry, a number of poems have an interactivity function which provides annotations as well as an analysis of the structure and theme of the poem.  In a selection of visual artworks, roll over pop up boxes explain specific images in the artwork.

The second DVD consists of in-depth ASL interviews with Deaf scholars and literary/visual artists such as Paddy Ladd and John Lee Clark. Artists and contributors have generously offered the use of their works to promote greater understanding, appreciation, analysis, and creation of the art and literature of Deaf culture.

The set could be used in a variety of Deaf cultural studies or ASL courses.

“Our hope is to showcase, educate and preserve,” Durr says.

The HeART of Deaf Culture: Literary and Artistic Expressions of Deafhood can be ordered for $30 at RIT/NTID’s product page.

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