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University opens its doors for UK’s leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival

A graphic promoting deaffest

The University of Wolverhampton is all set to host the UK’s leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival from 10 until 12 May 2024 in Wolverhampton. 

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Deaffest 2024 and the University, as one of the key partners of the festival, will be hosting film screenings at the Arena Theatre and at its City Campus, home to the £5M Screen School which is equipped with industry standard facilities in digital arts and media. The festival will also be using facilities at the University of Wolverhampton at The Halls, a music venue renowned for its live music events in Wolverhampton city centre. 

Deaffest is dedicated to supporting and developing the talents of emerging and established deaf filmmakers and artists from the UK and around the world. 

The festival includes a packed programme of subtitled film screenings and accessible events, including an art & photography exhibition, panel discussions, workshops, a stalls fair, performances, plus the widely anticipated 9th Film and TV Awards Gala and Late-Night Party, hosting visitors from the UK and across the globe. 

Under the festival’s theme, different forms of music will be explored through the skills and talents of musicians, filmmakers, actors and performing artists. Deaffest has been privileged to have worked with both UK and international d/Deaf individuals who have contributed to the music scene at past festivals and Deaffest aspires to bring further Deaf talents to the forefront where visitors can learn, enjoy, and be inspired by them. 

Professor Ebrahim Adia, Vice-Chancelor at the University, said: “This year the University is celebrating 30 years of studies in British Sign Language Interpreting – hitting a milestone that’s helped to shape the careers of many students over three decades. 

“We are proud to say that we are the longest running higher education provider of sign language interpreter education and training and support for Deaf students in the UK. 

“We are really excited to once again be working alongside the organisers of Deaffest in hosting some of the exciting festival activities in and around our City Campus in Wolverhampton, welcoming visitors from our local communities and from further afield.” 

Deaffest Co-Founder, Marilyn Willrich, said: “It is both incredible and rewarding to see how far Deaffest has come!  Deaffest has been strengthened over the years, festival by festival, thanks to all those who were involved in many different capacities. The Deaffest platform has continued to support and develop the talents of emerging and established d/Deaf filmmakers, actors, and artists from the UK and across the globe. Deaffest has proudly screened nearly 420 films from 36 countries, which were produced by d/Deaf directors and/or featuring d/Deaf actors/performing artists, since the first edition in 2006!” 

Deaffest is a project run under Zebra Access CIO and is one of the finalists for the National Lottery Awards 2022, recognised for supporting and developing the talents of many emerging and established deaf filmmakers and artists from the UK and worldwide, for over 15 years. You can view the history of Deaffest here and enjoy its rich archive. 

Anyone interested in studying at the University should check out the course pages or attend one of our Open Days.  


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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