On the 8th July 2013, in West Lulworth, the launch took place of a full length documentary film about the Seen But Seldom Heard project with live performances from young poetry sensations from the Victoria Education Centre.
The Seen But Seldom Heard project is a joint venture between BU Media School’s Dr Carrie Hodges and the School of Health and Social Care’s Wendy Cutts and Dr Lee-Ann Fenge. The project has been made possible, so far, thanks to funding from BU including the BU Fusion funding and Aim Higher with BU. It has used performance poetry as a methodology to engage young disabled people to explore issues related to disability, and has been led by two performance poets, Liv Torc and Jonny Fluffypunk.
A number of live performances have taken place over the past year as a method of widening the audience and public engagement with the project including performances as part of the Cultural Olympiad in Weymouth 2012, the Bridport Literary Festival and at Bournemouth University.
The Seen But Seldom Heard film follows the development of the project from the early sessions with the young people at Victoria Education Centre through to some of their live performances. It is hoped that the full length documentary will be a powerful tool that engages audiences to think differently about disability.
The launch of the film was accompanied by some striking performances from the young people taking part in the project, including performance poetry, stand-up comedy, song and animation. It was a poignant event, as many of the young people who have been part of the project are now moving on from Victoria Education Centre, and this was their last performance as a group together. A lasting legacy of the project is that many of these young people are continuing to write and perform their own work.
There were very warm and positive responses from the audience who were both challenged and moved by the performances. This shows that performative methods of research can be very powerful tools, which can potentially reach larger and more varied sections of audiences than traditional paper-based academia.
The project has received funding for 2013-14 to enable work with Victoria Education Centre to continue, and it is also hoped to developed projects with other seldom heard groups.
Further details about the project can be found here.