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Keynote Speakers

Olivier Schetrit

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“IVT: The Art of Emancipation
Contribution to a History of Deaf Art: a selection of contemporary cases”

In the past, Deaf Art has been little known and even ignored. Following the wave of student and social protest movements in 1968, it found new expression, recognition and freedom. The protest movements, which began in the United States, stimulated the founding of the International Visual Theatre (IVT) in Paris in 1976. IVT became a cultural hub for Deaf people where individuals came together through a shared passion for theatre and the Arts. It gave birth to a plethora of artistic projects incorporating sign language and visual culture practices. For a new generation of French Deaf artists, IVT was a starting point, which gradually freed them to create authentic expressions. Thanks to those creative visions, a vibrant contemporary Deaf Arts scene has emerged in France; however, this movement is still fragile and heavily dependent on the internet as there are few face-to-face forums for meetings, exchanges, and dissemination.

Olivier Schetrit has a PhD in anthropology and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at CEMS-CNRS / EHESS in Paris.

Deaf from birth, he is a stylist and actor by training. He is part of the professional troupe, International Visual Theater (IVT), the only theater for the Deaf in Paris. He is also a pedagogue, director, and professional storyteller. After obtaining a professional license (Social Intervention, specialty teaching of sign language, Paris 8), he obtained a master's degree in social sciences. In 2016, he obtained his PhD in social anthropology and ethnology - EHESS-LAS-Collège of France-CNRS for his study, The Deaf culture filmic approach to artistic creation and identity issues of the Deaf in France and in transnational networks under the direction of Barbara Glowczewski. He has published about IVT, Deaf identity, aesthetics such as chansignes and choresignes.


Kristi Merriweather
Teacher, Deaf Learning Specialist, and Word Artist

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“Do It For the Culture”: A Critical Look Into The Evolving BlackDeaf Expressions in Written English

This presentation will highlight certain synthesized cultural features in BlackDeaf word art/lit and their potential impact in the multifaceted Deaf World. “Do It for The Culture” is a relatively new tagline, proposing an external or internal challenge for us to “carry out a specific action for the benefit of our shared culture.” For a long time, BlackDeaf voices have been largely silent in Deaf literature which also is mirrored in other creative mediums. This presentation will touch upon how semi-invisibility ties into both the lived and written narratives of BlackDeaf experiences and being. It will also explore both potential and actual inclusion of certain cultural features in BlackDeaf word art/literature.

Kristi Merriweather is an educator and Deaf Learning Specialist by profession. Deaf since age 2, she was a prolific reader who attended schools under Atlanta Public Schools from elementary to high school. She is a graduate of Spelman, Howard, and Georgia State University with degrees in psychology and Deaf Education. A few of her poems have been published in Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology. Her community service has involved Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Georgia Association of the Deaf and she is a co-founding member of Atlanta Tribe of Deaf A.C.E. (DeafBlack Americans Committed to Empowerhood) and established a national youth program for BlackDeaf teenagers for National Black Deaf Advocates, which is still in existence 22 years later.


Fernanda de Araugo Machado
Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

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“Antology of Poetics in Brazilian Sign Language”

Fernanda de Araújo Machado’s presentation focuses on her doctoral thesis project which is the creation and analysis of an anthology of poetry in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). Following a careful and thorough investigation and collection process, the Anthology features beautiful poetic productions of various styles produced by Deaf authors highly proficient in sign language. Their poems are analyzed in terms of characteristics, stylistics, profiles, senses, contents, influences, themes, and patterns. Additionally, attention is paid to the context of publication and the poetic elements including: rhythm, rhyme, repetition, verse, symmetry, neologism, replacement of lexical sign, and use of differentiated language. Deaf authors further share reflections about their works. This Anthology records poetic productions in Libras preserved in video similar to records of poetic productions in written language.

Fernanda de Araújo Machado is a professor and researcher at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. She holds a degree in Arts Education (2009) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a degree in Letras (LIBRAS) (2011). Additionally, she holds a Master's Degree in Translation Studies (2013) from the Federal University of Santa Catarina. Since 2006-2008, she has been a member of the research group for the Research Project, Teaching and Extension Laboratory in LIBRAS, Faculty of Arts, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Prof. Machado coordinates the creation of the Anthology of Poetry in LIBRAS. She is part of the Libras Corpus Research Group (2014-current) and a member of the CNPQ Research Group Directory, whose leader is Prof. Ronice Müller de Quadros. She is currently a PhD student in the Postgraduate Program in Translation Studies at UFSC under the guidance of Prof. Ronice de Muller Quadros and Prof. Rachel Sutton-Spence. She has made visits to California State University Northridge (CSUN), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and California School for the Deaf in Fremont (CSDF) consulting with Prof. Dr. Flavia Fleischer, a professor and researcher in the area of Deaf Studies. Prof. Machado coordinated the Brazilian Folkore Surda Art Festival (2014 and 2016-current), with funding from the Ministry of Culture, with Prof. Rachel Sutton-Spence, which included various types of literary manifestations in LIBRAS.

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Service Bridges, Inc. is an approved RID CMP sponsor for continuing education activities. Each day’s program is offered to CMP/ACET participants for 0.6 CEUs/day in the Linguistic & Cultural Studies area of Professional Studies at the some Content Knowledge Level. Partial units will not be awarded (i.e. 0.2 for attending morning session) and participants will receive a certificate of attendance. Contact Service Bridges at for cancellation policy.


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