Deaf young people exhibit creative works

12 July 2016

Northern Ireland’s deaf young authors and artists will exhibit their work at the Arts & Disability Forum Gallery on Belfast's Royal Avenue from 19-29 July after winning a National Deaf Children’s Society competition.

140 deaf children and young people entered the competition this year, using the theme ‘Monsters and Magic’ to design imaginary creatures.

25 winners and 16 highly commended entrants will unveil their works at the exhibition launch event on Tuesday 19 July from 1-3pm.

Founded in the 1980s by beloved deaf Belfast Telegraph journalist Bob McCullough who recently passed away, the annual contest gives deaf children and young people in Northern Ireland a platform for self-expression and proves that they can achieve anything their hearing friends can.

Heather Gray, National Deaf Children’s Society Director in Northern Ireland, said: “We aim to create a world without barriers for every deaf child, and having access to such creativity and culture is extremely important for young people.

“This competition brings together deaf children and young people from across Northern Ireland to share their experiences and showcase their talents. Some entrants are in mainstream schools where they are the only deaf child, which can be extremely isolating, so this is a vital confidence boost for them.

“We are proud to present this gallery exhibition and hope it will encourage all deaf children and young people to get involved in the arts, perhaps taking inspiration from the very talented deaf children and young people whose work is on display.”

Local artist and competition judge Helouise O’Reilly added: “It was an absolute pleasure to judge the children’s work, and very challenging as the standard of work was so high. 

“There was great use of colour, texture and a range of techniques present. The children’s imagination really shone through with such a degree of talent and I hope to see more from these young author’s and artists in the future. Well done everyone!”

First, second and third prizes were awarded within three age brackets (4-7, 8-11 and 12-18) and the superb quality of work this year meant the charity also nominated highly commended pieces, including work from deaf children with additional complex needs.  Many of the children used recycled materials to create 3D artwork. 


Notes to editors

About the National Deaf Children’s Society
• The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and their families.
• There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. The National Deaf Children’s Society helps deaf children and young people thrive by providing impartial, practical and emotional support to them and their families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.
• The National Deaf Children’s Society believes that every deaf child should be valued and included by society and have the same opportunities as any other child.
• For more information visit For further support, parents can contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), email, or chat online at

About the Arts & Disability Forum
The Arts and Disability Forum was established in 1993 and current activities include:
• The ADF Gallery programme and the Conversations series with disabled/deaf visual artists
• Bounce! Arts Festival Weekender, presenting work by disabled and deaf performers and disabled/deaf-led arts workshops
• Monthly Art & Biscuits project with people who have dementia
• Annual IDA grant scheme, giving specialist support to disabled/deaf artists, managed on behalf of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
• Arts & Disability Equality Charter project enhancing accessibility in NI arts venues
The company’s principal funder is the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with additional core funds from Belfast City Council, and project support from a range of other funders.

Source: NDCS

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