Articulating Deaf Experiences Conference

Conference Summary

ARTiculating Deaf Experiences Conference was a National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) international conference focusing on examining literary and artistic works about Deaf experiences that took place November 6-9, 2019. "Encompassing topics ranging from the history of Deaf theater in France to an examination of signed poetry, the conference drew academic experts and researchers from around the globe.

Helmed by Patti Durr, NTID associate professor of Cultural and Creative Studies, and Tabitha Jacques, director of NTID’s Dyer Arts Center, the conference grew out of a desire to recognize NTID’s contributions to the history of Deaf culture and the college’s continuing role in the development and transformation of Deaf cultures around the world.” (Focus Magazine, Fall/Winter 2019).

Many conferences covering Deaf Studies tend to address different topics within the field without always being able to offer in-depth examination of artifacts produced by Deaf culture. This conference widened the breadth of Deaf Studies, offering a more comprehensive view of Deaf Experiences. The conference also coincided with the 30th Anniversary of Deaf View/Image Art De’VIA and the 10th Anniversary of Surdism.

Nearly 200 scholars, students, Deaf Cultural Studies and Sign Language teachers, artists, playwrights, filmmakers, poets, writers, ARTivists, interpreters, translators, and more attended the conference.

In a similar format to TED talks, ARTiculating Deaf Experiences Conference included keynote presentations on cultural examinations of a specific field, short presentations and panel talks ranging from art as a movement to intersectionality in the arts to historical perspectives of Deaf Experiences. As part of the conference’s overall celebration of the arts, registrants will have access to De’VIA: The Manifesto Comes of Age exhibit in the Memorial Art Gallery, Color to the Cube, an exhibition on Deaf Artists of Color at the Dyer Arts Center, and People of the Third Eye, a play production written and performed by Deaf playwrights and actors.

Sponsoring partners included the Center for Disability Rights, CSD’s Connect Direct, NTID’s Cultural and Creative Studies, Utah Valley University, Soreson SVRS, Zvrs, Purple, Interpretek. NTID’s Dyer Arts Center, and RIT’s Division of Academic Affairs Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking, and NTID’s Visual Communication Studies. RID CEU credits were made possible through Service Bridges, Inc.

Session Videos

Olivier Schetrit
Keynote Address
IVT: The Art of Emancipation

Kristi Merriweather
Keynote Address
Do It for the Culture

Fernanda de Araújo Machado
Keynote Address
Anthology of Poetry in Libras

Keynote Speakers

Olivier Schetrit: CEMS-CNRS-EHESS, France

Head shot of Olivier Schetrit

IVT: The Art of Emancipation
Contribution to a History of Deaf Art: a selection of contemporary cases

(video of presentation)

In the past, Deaf Art has been little known and even ignored. Following the wave of student and social protest movements in 1968, it found new expression, recognition and freedom. The protest movements, which began in the United States, stimulated the founding of the International Visual Theatre (IVT) in Paris in 1976. IVT became a cultural hub for Deaf people where individuals came together through a shared passion for theatre and the Arts. It gave birth to a plethora of artistic projects incorporating sign language and visual culture practices. For a new generation of French Deaf artists, IVT was a starting point, which gradually freed them to create authentic expressions. Thanks to those creative visions, a vibrant contemporary Deaf Arts scene has emerged in France; however, this movement is still fragile and heavily dependent on the internet as there are few face-to-face forums for meetings, exchanges, and dissemination.

Olivier Schetrit has a PhD in anthropology and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at CEMS-CNRS / EHESS in Paris.

Deaf from birth, he is a stylist and actor by training. He is part of the professional troupe, International Visual Theater (IVT), the only theater for the Deaf in Paris. He is also a pedagogue, director, and professional storyteller. After obtaining a professional license (Social Intervention, specialty teaching of sign language, Paris 8), he obtained a master's degree in social sciences. In 2016, he obtained his PhD in social anthropology and ethnology - EHESS-LAS-Collège of France-CNRS for his study, The Deaf culture filmic approach to artistic creation and identity issues of the Deaf in France and in transnational networks under the direction of Barbara Glowczewski. He has published about IVT, Deaf identity, aesthetics such as chansignes and choresignes.


Kristi Merriweather: Teacher, Deaf Learning Specialist, and Word Artist

Head shot of Kristi Merriweather

Do It For the Culture: A Critical Look Into The Evolving BlackDeaf Expressions in Written English
(video of presentation)

This presentation will highlight certain synthesized cultural features in BlackDeaf word art/lit and their potential impact in the multifaceted Deaf World. “Do It for The Culture” is a relatively new tagline, proposing an external or internal challenge for us to “carry out a specific action for the benefit of our shared culture.” For a long time, BlackDeaf voices have been largely silent in Deaf literature which also is mirrored in other creative mediums. This presentation will touch upon how semi-invisibility ties into both the lived and written narratives of BlackDeaf experiences and being. It will also explore both potential and actual inclusion of certain cultural features in BlackDeaf word art/literature.

Kristi Merriweather is an educator and Deaf Learning Specialist by profession. Deaf since age 2, she was a prolific reader who attended schools under Atlanta Public Schools from elementary to high school. She is a graduate of Spelman, Howard, and Georgia State University with degrees in psychology and Deaf Education. A few of her poems have been published in Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology. Her community service has involved Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Georgia Association of the Deaf and she is a co-founding member of Atlanta Tribe of Deaf A.C.E. (DeafBlack Americans Committed to Empowerhood) and established a national youth program for BlackDeaf teenagers for National Black Deaf Advocates, which is still in existence 22 years later.


Fernanda de Araugo Machado: Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Head shot of Fernanda de Araugo Machado

Antology of Poetics in Brazilian Sign Language
(video of presentation)

Fernanda de Araújo Machado’s presentation focuses on her doctoral thesis project which is the creation and analysis of an anthology of poetry in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). Following a careful and thorough investigation and collection process, the Anthology features beautiful poetic productions of various styles produced by Deaf authors highly proficient in sign language. Their poems are analyzed in terms of characteristics, stylistics, profiles, senses, contents, influences, themes, and patterns. Additionally, attention is paid to the context of publication and the poetic elements including: rhythm, rhyme, repetition, verse, symmetry, neologism, replacement of lexical sign, and use of differentiated language. Deaf authors further share reflections about their works. This Anthology records poetic productions in Libras preserved in video similar to records of poetic productions in written language.

Fernanda de Araújo Machado is a professor and researcher at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. She holds a degree in Arts Education (2009) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a degree in Letras (LIBRAS) (2011). Additionally, she holds a Master's Degree in Translation Studies (2013) from the Federal University of Santa Catarina. Since 2006-2008, she has been a member of the research group for the Research Project, Teaching and Extension Laboratory in LIBRAS, Faculty of Arts, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Prof. Machado coordinates the creation of the Anthology of Poetry in LIBRAS. She is part of the Libras Corpus Research Group (2014-current) and a member of the CNPQ Research Group Directory, whose leader is Prof. Ronice Müller de Quadros. She is currently a PhD student in the Postgraduate Program in Translation Studies at UFSC under the guidance of Prof. Ronice de Muller Quadros and Prof. Rachel Sutton-Spence. She has made visits to California State University Northridge (CSUN), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and California School for the Deaf in Fremont (CSDF) consulting with Prof. Dr. Flavia Fleischer, a professor and researcher in the area of Deaf Studies. Prof. Machado coordinated the Brazilian Folkore Surda Art Festival (2014 and 2016-current), with funding from the Ministry of Culture, with Prof. Rachel Sutton-Spence, which included various types of literary manifestations in LIBRAS.


Invest in Deaf Artists and stop by to buy original artworks and products from Deaf Artists such as: Fruit Creators, Pamela Macias, Cindy Manns, Ellen Mansfield, Nancy Rourke with Surdists United, Sheri Youens-Un and visit the RIT Deaf Studies Archives and other exhibitor booths.

November 6, 2019 at 5:30-7:30 pm in NTID Dyer Arts Center

Enjoy three amazing exhibits throughout the conference.

  • Color to the Cube Exhibit
    The Dyer Arts Center is proud to host , a juried international exhibition featuring over 40 deaf artists of color. Works have traveled from as far as Senegal and Iran. Themes range from the abstract to the deaf experience to reflecting the artist’s culture.
  • Please Touch Exhibit
    The Please Touch exhibition will feature works by DeafBlind artists for DeafBlind visitors. This exhibition will allow our visitors the opportunity to use their hands (and possibly other senses) to experience the artworks on display. The exhibition is also open to other visitors who are curious to explore works through touch.
  • 6 x 6 Exhibit
    Each fall the Dyer Arts Center's 6x6 Deaf Pride exhibition showcases works made and donated by local artists, the community and YOU. The 6”x6” pieces illustrates the different meanings of Deaf pride. Each piece will be sold for $20 and proceeds will go to the Dyer Arts Center.

November 7, 2019 at 6 pm in MAG 500 University Ave. Rochester NY 14607

The Memorial Art Gallery will exhibit De’VIA: The Manifesto Comes of Age. Featured will be work by the genre’s precursors, founders, and artists whose work, while they may not specifically identify with De’VIA, reflect the movement’s enduring influence. The exhibition draws principally from the permanent collection of RIT’s Dyer Arts Center MAG is honored to celebrate De’VIA’s significance during the movement’s 30th anniversary.

November 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm in MAG 500 University Ave. Rochester NY 14607

November 8, 2019 at 7:30 pm in NTID Panara Theatre, LBJ Bldg 60

Almost 50 years ago the National Theatre of the Deaf created one of its most well-known pieces – My Third Eye. This work became a classic as it was made up of ensemble pieces of unique expressions of Deaf experiences and sign language play. Creating unique works inspired by this original production along with poetry, dance, video and visual art, People of the Third Eye promises a contemporary feast for the heart.

November 9, 2019 at 6 pm in University Gallery, RIT Booth Bldg 7
Celebrating Deaf Artistic Ancestors
Separate ticket purchase was required

Photos from this and other NTID DeafMute Banquet events...

Registration Fees

ADEC general admission registration fees... now closed.

Early $200 Jun 1 – Sep 14
Regular $250 Sep 15 – Oct 1
Late $300 Oct 2 – Oct 18
RIT F/S $200 Jun 1 – Oct 18
Student $100 Jun 1 – Oct 18

Refunds for registration cancellations were as follows:

Date Refund Requested Refund Amount (percentage of fee paid)
By July 1st 75%
By August 1st 50%
After August 1st No reimbursement


Dear Prospective Sponsor:

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) invites you to sponsor its upcoming ARTiculating Deaf Experiences Conference in beautiful Rochester, NY during November 6-9, 2019 at RIT/NTID and the Memorial Art Gallery. This is our first year hosting the annual conference and we expect to have approximately 250 in attendance based on initial interest alone. The conference will offer an in-depth analysis of classics in sign language literature, Deaf View Image Art (De’VIA), Deaf Cinema, and Deaf Theater. Conference sponsorship is a proven and effective means for encouraging brand awareness and establishing new relationships with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

This year holds a special significance, as 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the De’VIA Manifesto and the 10th anniversary of the Surdism Manifesto. Surdism is the international Deaf arts movement, which advocates for using the arts to bring about social justice. These anniversaries will foster cross-pollination among various genres, communities, universities and nations. To celebrate, the conference is making a concerted effort to offer a variety of events such as presentations, workshops, entertainment, films, and academic readings. Participants include Deaf Studies, scholars of ASL interpreters, artists, educators, local deaf communities, and other interested parties.

We hope you will join us in sponsoring this unique opportunity to expand scholarly publication of Deaf Culture. If you have an idea for an opportunity that is not listed, let us know and we will work with you! To become a sponsor or for additional information, please contact our conference sponsorship coordinator.

Kenzie Robbins
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
v: 585-475-5024

Single – Event Sponsorship

The ARTiculating Deaf Experiences Conference will offer a variety of single events which may be sponsored. These include keynote speakers, entertainment, panel discussions, etc. The benefits of single sponsorships generally include the opportunity for a representative to introduce the event, and other considerations. The details of these sponsorships, including costs, will be negotiated individually.

Other Opportunities

Promotional Materials Stuffing
We will insert literature advertising your organization, products, and /or services into bags each participant at the conference receives. This service is available for just $150.

In-Kind Donation
You may choose to give the conference a gift from your company to be included in the aforementioned bag. Please be sure to assign a monetary value for your in-kind donation.

Donation Door Prizes
Door prizes such as televisions, gift baskets, gift certificates, and the like are also welcomed and appreciated.

Smaller Cash Contributions
Contributions of any size are welcome! All donations are tax deductible.


++ Offers shuttle services between Hotel and RIT
+   Only offers shuttle service between Airport and Hotel

Offers reduced rates for RIT visit - call DIRECTLY and mention RIT visit plan:

Radisson @ RIT (on campus within walking distance) ++

175 Jefferson Road


Comfort Suites (mention College Visitor rate)

2085 Hylan Drive


Doubletree by Hilton ++

1111 Jefferson Road


Fairfield Marriott Rochester Airport (at airport)

1200 Brooks Avenue


Fairfield Marriott

4695 West Henrietta Road


Hampton Inn & Suites

280 Clay Road


Holiday Inn at Marketplace ++

800 Jefferson Road


Home2 Suites Hilton

999 Jefferson Road


Hyatt Regency Downtown Rochester +

125 East Main Street


Microtel Inn by Wyndham

905 Leigh Station Road


Residence Inn Marriott

1300 Jefferson Road


RIT Inn and Conference Center ++

5257 West Henrietta Road


Ramada Plaza Rochester Airport ++

911 Brooks Avenue


Super 8 Motel

1000 Lehigh Station Road


Reserve online for RIT visit discount:

Courtyard Marriott +

33 Corporate Woods   


Call to reserve RIT visit discount with Corporate #:

Homewood Suites

(0002636811 - not valid on Fridays and Saturdays)

2095 Hylan Drive


Other hotel options:

Best Western ++

940 Jefferson Road


Red Roof Inn

4820 West Henrietta Road


Quality Inn Rochester Airport +

1273 Chili Avenue


Radisson Riverside Downtown Rochester +

120 East Main Street


Strathallan - Doubletree by Hilton

550 East Avenue


Our Sponsors

SB Logo   RID Logo

Service Bridges, Inc. is an approved RID CMP sponsor for continuing education activities. Each day’s program is offered to CMP/ACET participants for 0.6 CEUs/day in the Linguistic & Cultural Studies area of Professional Studies at the some Content Knowledge Level. Partial units will not be awarded (i.e. 0.2 for attending morning session) and participants will receive a certificate of attendance. Contact Service Bridges at for cancellation policy.


Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Google     Connect Direct - Engineered by CSD

NTID Department of Cultural and Creative Studies

CDR logo

UVU logo

SVRS logo

ZVRS logo      Purple logo

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center

DawnSignPress logo

Interpretek logo

FRAM lockup

RIT/NTID Visual Communication Studies

ServiceBridges logo

RID logo