RIT/NTID hosts conference on literary and artistic works about deaf experiences, Nov. 6-9

Scholars, students, deaf cultural studies and sign language teachers, artists, playwrights, filmmakers, poets, writers and historians will make their way to Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf Nov. 6-9 for an international conference focusing on examining literary and artistic works about deaf experiences.

The ARTiculating Deaf Experiences Conference will feature exhibits at RIT/NTID’s Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center and Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, as well as sign-language literature performances, a play production, presentations, short panel discussions, a banquet, and deaf artist vendors and company exhibitors.

Keynote presenters are French anthropologist and performer Olivier Schetrit, teacher and deaf learning specialist Kristi Merriweather, and Brazilian poet Fernanda de Araugo Machado.

Schetrit is a postdoctoral researcher at CEMS-CNRS-EHESS, a leading research center in Paris, France, known for the development of conceptual, theoretical and methodological tools for sociological analysis. Deaf from birth, he is a stylist and actor by training and part of the professional troupe International Visual Theater, the only theater for the deaf in Paris. He is also a pedagogue, director and professional storyteller. His talk is titled, “IVT: The Art of Emancipation Contribution to a History of Deaf Art: a selection of contemporary cases.”

Merriweather, an educator and deaf learning specialist, has been deaf since age 2. Her poems have been published in Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology. She is a co-founding member of Atlanta Tribe of Deaf A.C.E. (DeafBlack Americans Committed to Empowerhood) and has established a national youth program for BlackDeaf teenagers for National Black Deaf Advocates. Her talk, “Do It For the Culture: A Critical Look into the Evolving BlackDeaf Expressions in Written English,” highlights certain synthesized cultural features in BlackDeaf world art/literature and their potential impact in the multifaceted deaf world.

Fernanda de Araugo Machado is a professor and researcher at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. She holds degrees in arts education, languages and translation studies. She is part of the Libras Corpus Research Group and a member of the National Council for Scientifics and Technological Development Research Group Directory. She also coordinated the Brazilian Folklore Surda Art Festival. She will be speaking about the “Anthology of Poetics in Brazilian Sign Language.

“All cultures create works to represent who they are. Deaf culture is no exception,” said Patti Durr, associate professor at NTID and conference co-organizer. “A conference of this nature will hopefully inspire cross-pollination of different genres and themes. In the early 1990s, NTID hosted two major ASL literature conferences and, to this day, people continue to comment on them and ask for more. With 2019 being the 30th anniversary of De’VIA, a genre of visual art that represents the deaf experience and Deaf culture, and the 10th anniversary of Surdism, an international movement to bring about social justice for deaf people via artistic and literary expressions, NTID is the perfect location to host this important academic conference.”

Early registration is $200 and runs through Sept. 14, with a discount for students. For more information and to see the complete schedule, go to https://www.rit.edu/ntid/adeccon/.