Edinburgh Research Explorer

Signs and Gestures: Improving Inclusivity and Diversity in Film Production for the hearing or visually impaired

Project: University Awarded Project Funding

Short titleSigns and Gestures
Effective start/end date15/08/191/07/20


Through practice-based research this project examines how inclusion of people with different abilities can be improved within film production, particularly for the hearing or visually impaired. At present people with disabilities are often underrepresented or misrepresented in cinema. There are only few films that present a main character with a disability, while films that feature characters with a disability mostly cast able-bodied actors for these roles, such as Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman (Martin Brest 1992) or Alec Baldwin in Blind (Michael Mailer 2017). Additionally, the narrative and film language of these films are generally intended for an able-bodied audience and do not specifically address an audience with an impairment.
Through inter-disciplinary research and close collaboration with participants with a visual or hearing impairment, this project will explore different methods and approaches in the process of making a short film, which lead to adequate positive, and ultimately more layered representation. The project aims at developing a story and film language specifically addressing an audience with a visual or hearing impairment through collaborative methods and approaches. The finished short film will be presented with audio descriptions and captions to diverse audiences and the project will examine audience response.