About the Deaf community
Prioritising the needs of BSL users
Signed Culture aims to promote access to arts and culture for Deaf people who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their preferred method of communication. BSL users may consider themselves to be part of the Deaf community, which focuses on its position as a linguistic minority rather than a group of people characterised by their common experience of deafness.
Statistics relating to BSL users are notoriously unreliable. British Sign Language was included on the 2011 census for the first time, but the question was poorly worded and, as a result, only around 15,000 people declared themselves to be BSL users. In the past, the Department of Health GP Patients Survey has reported the number to be 122,000 while other surveys have estimated the number to be around 70,000.
Signed Culture follows the convention proposed by Professor James Woodward in 1972 which uses the lower-case “deaf” when referring to the audiological condition of not hearing and the upper case “Deaf” when referring to a particular group of people who share a sign language and culture.