The uScreen project set out to give young, deaf & disabled people a voice in our increasingly digital online world. As current online programmes were not accessible to them, uScreen pioneered ground-breaking technology to provide young deaf and disabled people (and non-disabled people) the opportunity to express their thoughts through film-making.
As well as free accessible group editing and storyboarding tools, uScreen provides British Sign Language, subtitles, visual captioning and audio description which can be added to the films created by the website’s participants, enabling everyone to enjoy them.
Delivered in partnership with Screen South, uScreen was launched with a programme of live workshops and screenings alongside training and professional mentoring opportunities. Because not all young deaf and disabled people were able to attend the workshops in person, a range of online sessions were also organised.
uScreen successfully enabled young people to share ideas and network nationally and internationally. They learnt by creating online at home or at school, in their youth club or at film festivals. In 2011/12 there were 8,384 unique visitors to the website and there have been a further 1900 between April and June 2012. As of August 2012 uScreen counts 1118 members from 24 countries, with 183 completed films uploaded and 499 clips currently being edited. The legacy of uScreen will continue as young people discover and join the website to make, show and share their films and ideas. uScreen will also be further developed and supported in the second phase of Accentuate in 2013.
uScreen has also provided access to new career pathways. After taking part in one of the uScreen programmes, disabled young person Stephanie Howell commented “uScreen has helped me get across what I’ve been wanting to say and how I have felt for years…uScreen made me feel that I have a voice.”
uScreen was identified by many interviewees as one of the great successes of the Accentuate programme. Several mentioned that it is not only of interest to deaf and disabled people – it has brought people with an interest in film together. The site was championed by actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry following its launch in 2011and subsequently won 'The Interactive Media Award 2011' at the AMI [Ability Media International] awards. It also reached the semi-finals of the Best Arts Project at the 2011 National Lottery Awards.
The uScreen site will provide a pathway for learning opportunities and will work with partners to ensure the advice and guidance is accessible, relevant and up to date
“It’s an easy, fun site to navigate around. A really exciting tool for aspiring young film- makers. I wish this was around when I was a kid.”
Elaine Wickham, KFF Head of Studies
“It was fantastic for them to have very close contact with disabled role models, particularly those who displayed such ‘go getting attitudes.”
Roz Brown, Learning Dimension Leader Communication& Literacy, Valence School, Kent
"uScreen is very straightforward and easy to use. It is an excellent platform for our learning disabled actors to experiment with and show off their talents."
William Jessop, Project Director, Blue Apple's Hamlet
Accentuate projects have been collecting examples of how their work is having an impact. Whether this is the personal experience of an individual, or the influence Accentuate projects have had on organisations. Click the link to view the case studies.
Photo courtesy of Carousel Animated Hove
Photo courtesy of OFVM
. uScreen is a cutting edge, fully accessible website which aims to provide young deaf and disabled (alongside non-disabled young people) aged 14-25 years, the opportunities to share, learn and collaborate on film-making.
uScreen offers young people the opportunity to make films collectively online like never before, by using a range of specially created, accessible film-making tools. uScreen is supported by online and live events, expert mentoring, workshops and film festivals, so young people can meet new friends and make contacts with film-makers and specialists from the UK and beyond. uScreen will also encourage young filmmakers to develop international partnerships through the online projects and exchanges. The site, which has taken over 18 months to develop, has been showcased this summer across the South East region at a series of workshops, film festivals and via an online link with the international disability festival, The Other Film Festival, which is based in Melbourne, Australia.
The uScreen website has been designed with user-friendliness in mind. It features a unique range of accessibility functions, designed to assist users throughout the creative process. From downloadable forms to help with the pre-production process, to a unique online editing and storyboarding tools into which users can insert their own images, whilst also having access to uScreen’s extensive stock library. In addition users have access to the British Sign Language tool, as well as options to add subtitles and voiceovers whilst the uploaded film plays online. Each tool is accompanied with its own ‘how-to’ guide, and up to eight users can collaborate online at the same time to work on their films.
“uScreen’s audio description functionality is a unique step to giving users the power to create more inclusive, meaningful films for a wider audience. itfc are delighted to be supporting Screen South with the rollout of this brilliant site.” James O’ Hara, Managing Editor, itfc Audio Description
Working with partners ITFC (London-based Audio Description/Caption), Screen South have already been able to offer young people a series of free workshops in partnership with the BBC to learn about how to make film more accessible through audio description and stock frame animation with disabled animator Andy Gibbs, creator of The Magic Hour.
With its unique features uScreen makes it possible for users to design their very own films, making them accessible to all. They can also watch any of the films with the accessibility options they chose, all just a click away. All films are submitted for approval so the content of the films are managed appropriately to safeguard all young people.
“Screen South is very excited and proud to launch this ground breaking project, which really raises the bar in terms of inclusivity. uScreen offers unrivalled accessible web tools to support online learning as well as a programme of live events and festivals." Jo Nolan, Chief Executive Screen South