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Deaf on stage: The cultural impact of performing Signed Songs

Moredo Pereira, Joana; (2021) Deaf on stage: The cultural impact of performing Signed Songs. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Signed Song – the aesthetic production or adaptation of lyrics and rhythm into signed languages – is an emerging artistic product within Deaf communities. This thesis is an international study, exploring Signed Songs in Portuguese Sign Language (Língua Gestual Portuguesa - LGP) and British Sign Language (BSL), particularly those created1 and performed by Deaf adults. This work constitutes interdisciplinary research drawing from Deaf Studies, Translation Studies and Performance Studies, theoretically framing Signed Song as a Deaf cultural product, as a translation product and a performing art. Research focuses on how Signed Songs are perceived by audience members and what they learn about the languages and cultures of Deaf people, but also investigates the views of Signed Song practitioners. Specific goals are to trace Signed Songs throughout history in Portugal and in the UK, and to gather the insights from audience members and artists. At a broader level, this thesis contributes to a more generalised conception of Deaf communities as minority cultures, and to preserving Deaf cultural heritage. Research design encompasses a multidisciplinary literature review, archival work, and fieldwork with artists and audiences from both countries, composed of a qualitative study exploring the views of Portuguese and British audiences via online and in situ questionnaires, and the views of artists via in-depth interviews. This thesis provides an understanding of the roles of Signed Song performances in the two localised Deaf communities, as well as in the Portuguese and British hearing communities, as a cultural product of Deaf minorities but also as an artform with an intercultural outreach. Conclusions show that Signed Songs are creative forms of translation which convey Deaf cultural resistance, defy traditions in Deaf communities and general conceptions of music, and draw attention to Deaf intersectionality. The Portuguese and British practices display differences which mirror the local situation of each Deaf community and national context, namely regarding the existing Deaf accessibility conditions to artistic settings and general mainstream services. This research proposes a definition of a good-quality Signed Song, built from the perspective of Portuguese and British Deaf audiences but also inclusive of hearing people who do not know sign language.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Deaf on stage: The cultural impact of performing Signed Songs
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > CMII
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122838
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