For the last few months, I have been working as a freelance project manager for a company called Love Language. I had the privilege of being the project manager on this event, Deaf Women In Business. I have now produced a number of Deaf accessible events including The Sick of the Fringe 2017 and The DH Ensemble/ Battersea Arts Centre scratch performance nights. As a relatively new addition to my portfolio as a theatre producer, I think this kind of work is really important and I hope to do more of it.
On 7th June 2017, Love Language organised a networking event hosted by Apple Bromley called “Deaf Women in Business”. The event was targeted at D/deaf women who have their own businesses or freelance careers, or who have aspirations to set them up in the future. Recognising the lack of support available for entrepreneurial D/deaf women compared to their hearing counterparts, Love Language and Apple Bromley aimed to create an opportunity for a group of such women to come together to inspire each other and pool their knowledge. We believe this is the first event of its kind to be held in the UK.
The featured speakers at the event were Linda Day from the business Signworld and the twins Hermon and Heroda Berhane from the lifestyle blog BeingHer. They discussed their experiences setting up businesses as D/deaf women including the challenges and opportunities they have encountered, and how doing business in the age of tech has given them advantages they would not have had prior to the advent of social media and modern technology.
This free event received an overwhelming response and extra tickets had to be offered to meet the demand. Many attendees noted how long they have been waiting for an opportunity of this nature. After the official event ended, there was an afterparty at Unico Gelatto where the enthusiastic discussions continued.
We at Love Language hope this is the first of many such similar events. A Facebook group has been set up for D/deaf women and their allies to continue to support each other by sharing opportunities, news articles, networking events and by providing a virtual community to combat the often isolating nature of running your own business. The group is open to all, and Love Language would like it to eventually be managed collectively by its members.