What most of us are experiencing for the first time because of restrictions imposed under the global COVID-19 pandemic, for others is not the exception but the rule: A lot of what many of us take for granted is, for various reasons, inaccessible to others. As much as we like to see pop as an expression of democratic coexistence and culture as something everyone can participate, unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy.
When we had to revise the concept of our festival this spring, it was all the more important for us to make the new online version of Pop-Kultur, taking place from the 26th to the 28th August 2020, as barrier-free as it was on the grounds of the Kulturbrauerei. This year, the festival will be presented as a three-part show with audiovisual contributions from all over the world, streaming via YouTube on our website at www.pop-kultur.berlin, and while that doesn’t present any physical barriers, there are some other kinds that still need to be overcome.
Today, we would like to point out the parts of the programme that express our efforts in terms of content that bring people with disabilities to the fore, but beyond that, to gather all the necessary information for people with learning or reading difficulties, for Deaf and people hard of hearing, as well as for blind and visually impaired people.
We are pleased to present a new cooperation with the Deutscher Gehörlosen-Bund (German Association of the Deaf) as part the festival. Through a call for entries, their working group Deaf Performance has selected three participants to present their work at Pop-Kultur. Deaf actor Ace Mahbaz will show us an insight into the world of sign languages with an ambivalent sort of love letter to the city of Berlin, Deaf sign language interpreter Rafael-Evitan Grombelka will interpret a song by the Hamburg band Erregung Öffentlicher Erregung, and Deaf performer Laura-Levita Valytė will show invited participants how to accompany music with German Sign Language in her workshop at Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs.
And what would Pop-Kultur be without 21 Downbeat? The post-inclusive ensemble has been the house band of the RambaZamba Theatre since 2017 and has already appeared twice at the festival. This year, the musicians and actors get represented with a virtual contribution with material that was shot before the pandemic.
Also for 2020, in cooperation with the Berlin-based inclusion association Handiclapped, we are making more information available in easy language for people with learning and reading difficulties. This includes, for example, an explanation of »What is Pop-Kultur?« as a podcast in easy language, as well as easy German-language instructions on how to use YouTube to make it easier for all guests to watch our streaming programme In addition, the first stream will be offered with a simultaneous live commentary in easy German. After an introduction in easy German, viewers using this form of communication will have the opportunity to watch and comment on the programme together.
The entire programme is subtitled in German and English. The subtitling for Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers is managed by Deaf journalist and author Wille Felix Zante, who has many years of experience in conceiving and implementing accessible media. He advises film festivals and checks the accuracy of subtitles for noises and song lyrics in films. Now he’s bringing his expertise to Pop-Kultur.
A wide selection of festival contributions will be available with German-language audio description. On the website and the internet, clickable video files will also be provided, verbalising the visual aspects along with the original soundtrack. Responsible for these audio descriptions is Jonas Hauer. He lives and works in Berlin as a musician and has been blind since early childhood. In recent years, he has realised numerous audio-description projects in cooperation with various audio-description writers, mainly in the fields of cinema, television and at exhibitions. The Pop-Kultur audio descriptions have been created in collaboration with Tania Eichler-Ojake and Anne Leichtfuß. All German-language audio descriptions can be found here.
Once again this year, our service team will be available for guests with specific needs, both before and during the festival. Questions and comments are welcome via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS/WhatsApp to +49 1573 879 5555.