Hear in Hull to promote understanding of how to listen to people who stammer

An innovative arts project designed to promote understanding of how to listen to people who stammer is to be launched as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations.

Humber NHS Foundation Trust and charity Artlink have joined forces with City of Culture organisers to develop Hear in Hull, a Big Lottery Fund-backed initiative due to launch next month at Hull Truck Theatre, in Ferensway, during 2017 International Stammering Awareness Week.

Project highlights include messages from people who stammer who were asked to “tell the world” about their experience of stammering, which can involve speaking with sudden involuntary pauses and a tendency to repeat or prolong sounds.

They also feature sound recordings of people from Hull listening and reacting to someone who stammers, portraits of famous people who stammer created by art students, and an animation created by Fuzzfeed’s Peter Snelling which is based on conversations with people who stammer.

Posters, an art installation and leaflets bearing the messages “It’s ok to stammer”, “Listen to the message, not the stammer”, and “What I want you to know about my speech” will be displayed throughout the city.

The winning portraits of famous people who stammer will be exhibited at the Artlink Centre for Community Arts, in Princes Avenue, during October before moving to other Hull venues until the end of the City of Culture’s fourth season. The message will be: “Stammering should not limit you.”

And Mr Snelling’s animation will be shown by Hull Independent Cinema – which screens films at Hull Vue, Hull Truck Theatre and Fruit – and several secondary schools. It will also be posted on social media.

The project is part of the City of Culture’s Creative Communities Programme.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017 (City of Culture), said: “This project shows that stammering shouldn’t limit you, and a huge part of Hull 2017 has been about showing that there shouldn’t be any barriers when it comes to creativity.

“The Creative Communities Programme has taken Hull 2017 to areas all over the city, engaging with all sorts of community groups and organisations, meaning that everyone has had the chance to be part of this fantastic year.”

Teresa Cope, the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this project, which aims to raise awareness, change perceptions, create understanding and build confidence.

“Hear in Hull explores how listeners feel about hearing stammering voices and how people who stammer feel about stammering. It’s time to hear their voices and show that Hull is ready to listen.”

The launch of the project will be held from 1pm until 3pm on Friday 20 October before an audience including stammerers and their families, the portrait artists, pupils, therapists, health commissioners, and representatives from the British Stammering Association, Stammering Network, and Action for Stammering Children.

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