24 January 2024, the final conference of the ART&SIGNS project took place in the meeting room of the Municipal Office in Veľký Šariš.

On 24 January 2024, the final conference of the ART&SIGNS project took place in the meeting room of the Municipal Office in Veľký Šariš.

The ART&SIGNS project lasted 2 years and 3 months with the aim to train museum staff and provide them with basic language and technical skills to welcome deaf visitors. Various organisations, companies, institutions, regional authorities, cities, museum guides, receptionists, information and tourist centres took part in the conference.

The aim of the conference was to present the results of the 2-year Erasmus+ project ART&SIGNS – e-learning, video dictionaries of sign language and practical tips for making exhibitions accessible to deaf visitors. The presentation was followed by a discussion on possible future cooperation after the project.

We presented an analysis of the needs of Deaf visitors and museum staff, which formed the basis for the creation of the educational materials. The training materials were used by trainers in pilot training sessions for museum staff to prepare them to welcome Deaf visitors.

Another result is the project’s website, which includes educational materials and a video dictionary with around 630 signs from the partner countries, including new signs created in Slovakia in cooperation with SNEPEDA and DeafStudio. All the languages, video signing and recorded videos together make up more than 2,500 videos in the sign languages of the partner countries. The signs include double 60 and 90 degree turns as well as sentences. We are adding new Slovak signing videos on Innosign’s Instagram and Facebook pages. You can also find them on the ART&SIGNS website.

We also discussed the possibilities of further collaborations. A number of museums have expressed interest in engaging Deaf guides who have been trained as part of the previous Erasmus+ MADE project, which was run by DeafStudio and which encouraged and trained Deaf people to become museum guides. We hope that through the training of museum staff in the ART&SIGNS project there will be a successful link between the two projects.

The two projects come together and work together when Deaf guides know how to work and museums are interested in hiring them. In this way, both projects have fulfilled their tasks. This means that in the future the two projects will be combined and maybe this year some museums will organize big activities with Deaf guides from time to time.

Marek Kanas, Director of Innosign, warmly thanked the town of Veľký Šariš for providing the premises for the conference and the pilot training. He also appreciated the excellent cooperation during the whole duration of the project.

Thanks also go to the East Slovak Gallery for allowing the pilot training to take place in the gallery. We believe that the educational materials created will help museums and galleries in creating an inclusive environment for deaf visitors.

The ART&SIGNS project has thus successfully ended on 31.1.2024. Innosign will continue to report on activities related to deaf guides and museums.