Tuesday 19 May 2015

Have Your Intentions to Evaluate Others Made You Re-Evaluate Yourself?

After some discussion we were invited to evaluate an event called Deaffest . It's an annual celebration of Deaf Culture with an emphasis on creating Film and Arts events. It oversees and awards process and is like all of us, progressing into the rapidly shifting world of Multi-Media. It takes place at The Light House in Wolverhampton, a superbly restored building that has been part of the process since it began in 2006
and without giving too much away-the Lighthouse is spoken of with great fondness by the people we talked with.

Our evaluation process is about so much more than ticking boxes. With its roots in the philosophy of Appreciative Inquiry we have constructed a question led approach that allows people to "Build their story through a conversation," rather than respond to a series of questions and prompts that don't always reach as far as we would like them to, 

There was a fantastic vibe about the place and beyond-some of which is the outcome of a powerful partnership with Wolverhampton University who sponsor the event and provided a number of Trainee Interpreters. The Theatre venue was provided by Arena Theatre and was the focus of some powerful and thought-provoking work. 

Throughout the event there existed feelings of acceptance, pride and openness communicated through the arts. Our evaluation will refer to a powerful conversation with a deaf actor who talked with great passion about the possibilities presented by combined hearing/non-hearing theatre workshops. 
Tall Stories!
The event led me towards some significant self reflection around what really matters in a world of often conflicting priorities: our emergent evaluation has begun to consider the Social/Emotional value of the event and we will develop this further. Most importantly it must capture the spirited "outward facing inwardly proud" deaf community that provides the most powerful alchemy to the process. It is they who bring the "Soul of Deaffest" into life and being!

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