This week Rebekah has been soaking up the arts scene of New York on a field trip with her Creative Media class. Before she left we asked her about her trip. This is what she had to say:

Hello my name is Rebekah Afari. I am a deaf student at the Exeter Deaf Academy, but also go to Exeter College three days a week studying Creative Media, Level 3 BTEC.

What do you do in Creative Media at Exeter College?

At the moment my course is learning about the use of radio. This is a little bit difficult for me because as I am deaf. The rest of my class are hearing and we have been divided into different groups to work in. My group’s (all hearing students) task is to create a radio program and script – my hearing course mates voiceover what I have written. So far this project is going well. Other things I am involved in with my class is filming a variety of different things – some is group work and some I work independently. But, so far I am really enjoying my media course.

What got you into the arts?

I was interested in this course because I want there to be more deaf actors in films here in the UK. At the moment you rarely see deaf actors on TV and I want to see this change and more opportunities open up for deaf actors. I want to be part of that change.

What inspires you and your work?

My influences/ inspiration I am not quite sure of, but I think the fact that I am doing my media course as a deaf person is interesting, because I have a different perspective than someone who is hearing. Also, when I was growing up I loved watching TV and DVDs. Of course, when I was very young, I would watch the old style VHS videos which has now changed to using DVDs. I think it’s interesting that technology has changed and it’s exciting to see what changes there could be in the future. That’s one of the reasons why I like my media course.

Are you looking forward to your trip to New York?

I am very excited about going to New York. I leave Monday and have to wake up early in the morning to meet the group at Exeter College. I think I need to get there for about 3am, and we will leave by coach at 3:30am. We will then drive to London Heathrow airport. I think the flight will be about 5 to 7 hours to America, New York. I am looking forward to what New York has to offer! It will be my first time visiting New York.

What are you going to do whilst you are in New York?

When I arrive in New York we will go to the hotel to drop off our things. Then the teacher will separate us into groups of about 10 people. They will then explain where things are and the name of our hotel and things like that. Then maybe in the afternoon we will go to the Empire State Building and go on the ferry to tour around New York. But not sure yet what the plan is, but I am excited.

You’re going to the Museum of Moving Images (MOMI). Is there anything you are looking forward to seeing?

I don’t really know what to expect in the museum. I am hoping to find a deaf artist who can be a good example for film. I can then show this to my deaf friends to help promote and make them more aware that deaf people can achieve and could learn from their example.

Clare Trigg (a CSW) is joining you in New York. How will she support you whilst you are out there?

Clare will support me when someone might be talking and Clare can interpret this for me into BSL (British Sign Language). Also, our group will be shown clips of films, I hope there will be subtitles, but if not Clare will again interpret those for me into BSL. This will be a bit tricky for me, because I will want to watch the film, but at the same time I will have to keep turning my head and looking away slightly to be able to watch Clare. So, it could mean I might miss parts of the film. Of course, there will be breaks from interpreting, for example when we are walking around New York looking at things, so plenty of opportunities for breaks.

Clare Trigg isn’t always my CSW as there are many CSWs that could work with me. When I am at Exeter College on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I am there all day on a Wednesday and Thursday, but half a day on a Friday, I will always have a CSW to support me. I will sometimes ask them to correct my English from written work I have produced or they will interpret into BSL what is said in class. When the teacher is writing it is hard for me to watch what the teacher is writing and take notes and watch the CSW, so I have someone to take notes for me so I can concentrate on the CSW –this makes life easier for me.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I don’t know exactly what I want to do as a job in the future and media has a lot of options to choose from in terms of what I could do in the future. But I have a few ideas, such as before, I had a go at editing and I really enjoyed that. Or, perhaps getting involved in a group that supports deaf children similar to my age now, to campaign for their needs and rights, for example, perhaps campaigning about barriers to their education or access to GPs or hospitals. I would like to support deaf people to help improve their lives.