BSL Fest 2024, Manchester

M​ay 2024


April was a very exciting month for us. The British Sign Language festival took place in Manchester between the 22nd and 28th of April. It was timed to coincide with the annual British Deaf Association (BDA) conference, which was held in Manchester this year. The festival had something for everyone, with storytelling, comedy, tours, films, a BSL history exhibition and a park party. Have a look at some of our photos below.

MDC staff members were involved in delivering some of the events and workshops. For example, Kate Tinston led BSL storytelling workshops at Manchester Library. Have a look at the photos below to see her dressed as a dinosaur signing a great story called ‘Dachy’s Deaf’.

Many of our staff, BSL students and Trustee Board members volunteered to support the final event of the festival ‘Party in the Park’. Thank you to everyone who helped out. Here are some words from our staff member Anita sharing her experience of the day:

“Hi, I want to let you know about the amazing event that took place two weeks ago, the BSL Festival. There was a great turnout at Manchester Cathedral Gardens. This BSL celebration had a plethora of activities and stalls, for example, BSL courses promoted by Manchester Deaf Centre, SignHealth, BDA, various arts & crafts and more. The event was an opportunity for hearing people to have an insight into the deaf community and to kindle their interest to get involved, which is important. Also present were a couple of famous actors from Coronation Street, as well as the Manchester Mayor, who gave a great speech. There was lots to do as well as catching up with friends old and new. It was a fantastic day and a successful event. Thank you.”

MDC supported the festival organiser, Claire Cummings, to produce the festival. Afterwards, our staff member Lucy asked Claire to tell us about some of her highlights of the festival. This is what she told us:

“Hi guys, Thanks Lucy (from Manchester Deaf Centre) for asking me to do a video reflecting on Manchester BSL Fest. This is going to be a challenge as so much happened at a fast pace and I was so busy that it’s mostly a blur! I’ll select a few highlights: Seeing Andy Burnham signing “Welcome to Manchester and ALL children need BSL” at the BDA conference was very emotional and had a big impact ... Seeing BSL ‘out there’ in public such as the Deaf History exhibits in the Central Library – having these in public made my hair stand on end ... Events over the week being attended by both deaf and hearing people. About half of the audience at the BSL Heritage event were hearing non-signers who were fascinated by the BSL poetry and learnt about BSL history ... The BSL Party in the Park – the day went by so fast ... Afterwards when I saw the many photos and videos, I saw how amazing and powerful it was ... Most importantly, a big thanks to you all at Manchester Deaf Centre. I loved working with you. Thank you to the volunteers and for all your help with organising, especially Lucy who was a great help, and for the sponsorship. I wouldn’t have done it without you. I hope we continue to work together, taking things forward for a better future where deaf people are equal to hearing people in a fully inclusive Manchester.”


Comedian Gavin Lilley being interviewed by Rachel Benyon at the Party in the Park


Deaf comedian Gavin Lilley performing at 53two


From L to R, MDC Trustee Alistair, staff member Laurie, Event Organiser Claire and Trustee Christine at the BSL Film Night at 53two


Kate leading BSL storytelling in the library


Kate leading BSL storytelling in the library


MDC staff member Charis and previous staff member Kirsty (now of SignHealth)

MDC staff and volunteers Elli, Sarah, Jonathan and Steve setting up the MDC stall at the BSL Party in the Park


Dipti teaching a BSL Workshop at Manchester Library


MDC staff Toni and Madeline helping out as Event Marshalls at the BSL Party in the Park


Early morning, setting up for the BSL Party in the Park


Thank you to our partners

Our Opening Times

If you would like to know more about
any of our services, please get in touch.

Manchester Deaf Centre,
Crawford House,
Booth Street East,
M13 9GH

09:00 – 17:00


0161 273 3415

Registered Charity Number: 1110373