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Ken is the Founder and Executive Director of Decibels. Ken is also the Director of the Deafax Research and Development Unit and is based at the Institute of Education, University of Reading as well as at the Computer Science Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has studied at Loughborough, Surrey and London Universities. He has been challenged by a variety of roles… as a top class sportsman, Royal Marine Commando, parent of a deaf daughter, teacher of English, History and PE, teacher-lecturer in deaf education, advisory lecturer in special needs and as a charitable entrepreneur. He has been responsible for helping to set up-the Breakthrough (Deaf/Hearing) Integration Trust (now named DeafPlus), Deafax, AACT for Children and Inclusive Environments. For his contribution to preventative medicine and healthcare, he was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Also, he has just been awarded an Honorary Degree from Loughborough University as part of their Centenary Celebrations.
He has been, and is involved, in the following Deafax projects:
Michael Berkeley was born in 1948, the eldest son of Sir Lennox Berkeley and a godson of Benjamin Britten. He was a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, and then studied at the Royal Academy of Music and later with Richard Rodney Bennett.
While Composer in Association to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, he wrote three new works including the Concerto for Orchestra. In 2008 Berkeley’s third opera, For You, to a libretto by Ian McEwan, was premiered at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House.
Recent works include Into the Ravine, written for Nicholas Daniel and the Carducci Quartet, premiered at the Presteigne Festival in 2012, and Three Cabaret Songs for Barbara Hannigan and Angela Hewitt with new words by Ian McEwan, heard first on 3rd July 2013 at the Trasimeno Music Festival in Italy. Berkeley was also commissioned to compose the anthem for the Enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on 21st March 2013 in Canterbury Cathedral.
Berkeley is currently writing a ballet score for Wayne McGregor and the Royal Ballet, based on The Art of Fugue for a premiere in February 2014.
In addition to composing, Berkeley presents BBC Radio 3’s ‘Private Passions’. He was appointed a CBE for services to music in 2012 and has recently been made an independent peer in the House of Lords.
© Oxford University Press
Wikipedia – Michael Berkeley
BBC News, Entertainment, Arts
Cheltenham festivals talk Michael Berkeley on Britten`s French connection
UK catalogue category / music / composers / Berkeley
The Guardian music / Beethoven deafness music composition
Caroline basically trained in dance and mime and has been working in the performing arts for 30 years, 15 of them in Theatre in Education. More recently acting with such companies as Graeae Theatre, Red Earth, Fittings Multi Media Arts.
Caroline’s one Woman Show ‘Signs of a Star Shaped Diva’ commissioned by Theatre Royal Stratford East and The New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich toured theatres around the UK. Caroline has also made appearances on TV programmes such as ‘My Hero’, ‘Murphy’s Law’ and as long suffering Sue in BBC’s drama series ‘Switch’. In Louis Neethling’s award winning film ‘Fairy Tale of London Town’ playing the role if troubled Veronica.
Caroline has also performed her cabaret act at such festivals as Glastonbury, WOMAD, Liberty Festivals. Now attempting the stand up comedy circuit under the name of Caro Sparks. Also, under her belt is facilitating drama or sign songs workshop and a little bit of directing too.
Adam is Professor of Music at Roehampton University. He has a career as a composer, performer, teacher and researcher, and works every week with a number of children with complex needs, including blindness, learning difficulties and autism. Adam has written a number of books, including ‘In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini’ (Hutchinson) and ‘Music for Children and Young People with Complex Needs’ (OUP). He lectures throughout the UK and abroad. Adam is secretary of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (‘SEMPRE’), chair of Soundabout, an Oxfordshire-based charity that supports music provision for children and young people with complex needs; and founder of The AMBER Trust, a charity that supports visually impaired children in their pursuit of music.
He is currently leading four major research projects:
The ‘Sounds of Intent’ research project was set up in 2002 jointly by the Institute of Education, Roehampton University, and the Royal National Institute of the Blind.
Since the age of 5, Sannah has always had a passion for music and has continued this love through her comitted involvement at Mary Hare Grammar School and the University of Wolverhampton, where her principal instrument was the flute. Sannah has performed at grand venues and amongst famous musicians and has been involved in several projects highlighting the need for accessible music for the deaf; Will Young at BBC Children in Need, CBSO Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ project, Globe Theatre in Blackpool, Queens Golden Jubilee in Berkshire, and Liverpool’s Deaf Arts Day. Her compositions have also been well received with Barclays Global Investors, RAWdance, and Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre Company; to name but a few!
She has explored different avenues on how to make music enjoyable for the deaf and this was supported by Deafax; a charity based in the UK, where a Visual Music software was created to focus on basic elements of Pulse, Rhythm and Literacy, which was successful in schools in Reading, Birmingham and London.
Sannah realised that there was a niche in the educational world on the subject of music and deafness and felt this was an area that needed more awareness. It was then, she decided to write a dissertation challenging the steotypical views of deafness and the ability for deaf people to learn and perform music; ‘Deafness: no barrier to music?’
She believes that music should not be missed from our daily lives and that it is a vital contribution to society for all.
For the early part of Paul Townson’s working life, he was in Retail Management before changing direction in his early forties to train and become an Independent Financial Adviser. He has, over the years, built up a successful and personalised business helping a very large number of clients to invest their funds wisely. Before he retired a number of years ago, he set up, through Ken Carter, the Deafax Pension Scheme for their deaf and hearing employees. He is a very active member of Probus in Reading. Due to his love of music and some knowledge of people with disabilities, he was only too pleased to take on the Decibels roles of Company Secretary & Treasurer. He is now the present successful Chair of Decibels. His other past times and hobbies are walking, photography and travelling.
William was born profoundly deaf and blind in his right eye. Since when William was implanted at three years old, he had a huge passion for music and still continues to be involved with music today. William was a member of a school band, called The Deafness, as an electric guitarist. They have performed at grand venues and has been involved in several projects highlighting the need for accessible music for the deaf. The highlight for the band was when they entered the National ‘Music for Youth’ competition and was honoured to reach the final to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London. William is still passionate about wanting to give other musicians the opportunity to play music.
He is currently employed by Kingston University as an Academic Affairs Coordinator and his job is to advise and support students, particularly with disabilities, mental health or learning differences from an academic perspective. He also provides a high-quality service for Faculty compliance activities including; Mitigating Circumstances, Academic Misconduct, Student Complaints and Student Discipline.
Most of William’s work is set out to make a positive difference to the lives of many people. William was delighted and honoured to be invited to come on board to become a Trustee/Director. William also believes that all people should have opportunities to develop their passion and discover their talents through their love of music, writing, performance or anything else they are good at!
Rosie founded Chiltern Music Therapy in 2011 and has previously worked as a Music Therapist at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability and with the NHS Learning Disability Community and Forensic Team in Hertfordshire. She specialises in using music therapy with people of all ages, with brain injury and neuro-disability. She is a certified Neurologic Music Therapist, a Neonatal Intensive Care Music Therapist and a certified MATADOC assessor (Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness). She is passionate about inclusivity in music opportunities for children and young people with additional needs and is also keen to establish more research into how music can improve their lives.
Chiltern Music Therapy is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a music therapy service to people of all ages and currently provides services to the South East and London. Rosie and her team of Music Therapists see clients of all ages, from infants, right through to the older adult population and work with those with Learning Disabilities, including Autism and Asperger’s, Brain injury, Dementia, Mental-health and emotional difficulties, stroke & Parkinson’s disease sufferers and those with life-threatening illnesses. They use music and Music Therapy to help clients improve their health and emotional well- being and develop skills in speech & communication, behavioural issues, cognition and motor skills.
Helen Lansdown read for an English Literature degree at the University of Reading before establishing her own business in educational interpreting and the provision of literacy support for deaf students throughout England. She is currently the Chief Executive of Deafax, a national charitable company which pioneers the innovative use of education, training and research projects involving Information and Communications Technology (ICT) –www.deafax.org
She has been responsible for pioneering a wide and innovative range of programmes notably opening up the world of music to deaf children by encouraging and facilitating self expression through ICT and with an exciting, interactive and visual approach. She is a qualified British Sign Language user.
See also: www.visuallearning.org.uk
Cathy is Programme Director of TAEDS, the internationally unique BA degree in Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies at the Institute of Education, University of Reading. She also teaches Primary drama & theatre in education on the BA Ed programme and PGCE Primary. With extensive experience of teaching drama to all ages, she has worked in theatre in education and educational video production and direction, as well as providing freelance drama consultancy and training. She is currently studying for Ed D and her expertise and research interests are: accessible drama and theatre; feminism and educational leadership; Shakespeare in Primary drama and museum learning. Cathy is also a board member of Spotlight on Diversity: diversity & anti-discrimination training in the workplace using drama techniques, about which you can find more information at www.spotlightondiversity.com
Born in Ireland, Mary studied in Dublin (BEd) and in Cork (BMus) and in Hungary at the Kodaly Institute. Mary has taught in schools in Ireland and in the UK and has an interest in teacher education across a variety of levels. Outside the formal school setting, she has led a variety of community music projects and has directed choral groups across a broad range of ages and ability levels. Her interest in psychology of music education led to research studies at the University of London, Institute of Education and these range from research into the development of children’s listening skills to a study of how teachers create a musical world in the classroom.
Julie Small studied Primary Education with English at the University of Reading, before going on to study for a Masters degree in Creative and Professional Writing at Brunel University. It was during her undergraduate degree at Reading that she became associated with the work of the founder of Decibels, Ken Carter; and this sparked a huge interest in charitable work for Julie.
Julie has always had a keen interest in the development of children, particularly in assisting those with learning difficulties and disabilities. With a background in primary school education, Julie has worked with children with a range of abilities, and has always enjoyed seeing a child progress in their learning, especially through extra-curricular activities, and those that focus on social and emotional development. Although Julie chose not to pursue her career in teaching, she continues to be involved in the celebration of children, their education and their potential through supporting Decibels.
Julie is a keen writer and is working towards compiling an archive of biographies. She has a great passion for the arts, especially music and creative writing and believes in the development of all children, regardless of ability through these mediums. Julie is very proud of her contribution to and association with both AACT for Children and Decibels.
Associate Professor Nicholas Bannan teaches music education at the University of Western Australia. He studied at Cambridge University, and taught at Eton College, the Yehudi Menuhin School and the University of Reading. Composition awards include the Fribourg Prize for Sacred Music and commissions for the Allegri and Grieg Quartets, the Guildhall String Ensemble, Cantemus Novum of Antwerp, and the Gentlemen of St Paul’s Cathedral. A Winston Churchill Fellow in 1992, he achieved a doctorate on the evolutionary origins of the human singing voice. He co-edited ‘The Reflective Conservatoire’ with George Odam, and a forthcoming book, ‘Music, Language and Human Evolution’.
Elli is originally from Iran and came to the UK with a B.A Degree in the Psychology of Education of Exceptional Children. She was greatly influenced by the motivation and aspirations of children with hearing, visual, physical and mental disabilities. Her life was affected by the challenges, barriers and difficulties of the Iranian revolution. Her first UK volunteering work experience was mentoring multi national students for computing in a community centre. She then started translating and interpreting for charity organisations in counselling sessions, mental health, housing and immigration. She is also interested in beauty courses as a hobby. Currently, Elli is supporting Decibels in a variety of roles. She wishes to help with projects relating to distance learning nationally and internationally for young people with disabilities using new technology systems and learning modules. She wants to make a difference to people’s lives as well as her own.
After graduating from Southampton University, Rhona spent time working as a professional musician, playing the saxophone in various bands. She then went to the University of Reading to train as a secondary school music teacher.
She now works as Head of Music at Addington School which is for children with learning disabilities. In her role there she works with children with a wide range of special educational needs, delivering the curriculum and arranging projects for students and the wider community. She continues to work as a musician in her spare time.
Paul was born in Huddersfield on 1964 and has been deaf from birth. After gaining a music degree from Wadham College, Oxford, and a post-graduate diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music, he founded “Music and the Deaf”, which he ran for 27 years before leaving in 2015 to pursue a freelance career.
For 25 years Paul has been signing shows on concerts both in London and on tour, and also worked at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival and Aldeburgh Festival. He has worked with The Sixteen choir and with Rambert Dance, and travelled across Europe and to Hong Kong and Macau with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra on their “Feel the Music” project.
He currently runs 6 signing choirs, and is passionate about raising standards of BSL signed song, which has led to the creation of an online teaching resource – www.sibsl.co.uk .
In 2005, Paul was awarded and OBE for Services to Music and holds Honorary degrees from the University of Huddersfield and the Open University.
Aiyana first came into contact with Decibels in 2014, when she participated in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative and helped to raise some important funding for Decibels’ ‘Hands on Shakespeare’ project, whilst studying at Leighton Park School in Reading. She is now working as a part time Decibels Consultant by helping to write funding applications before going on to study Psychology at Edinburgh University in September 2017.She has a passion for the Creative Arts and is enthusiastic about dancing, acting, singing, playing the guitar and writing poetry. She was introduced to Kathak dance at 5 years old and loves to combine different dance styles when performing.
Since February 2916, Riccardo Mancuso has been skilfully developing and leading the implementation of a strategy to shape future business opportunities for Decibels and GOALS4LIFE (Global Online Assisted Learning & Support). He is continuing to develop a comprehensive 5-year business plan comprising both transactional & transformational elements to ensure stakeholder buy-in and establish a robust & transparent governance model.
Riccardo has over 15 years of experience in a blue chip environment, providing a broad, strong foundation of best practice solutions to tackle operational challenges. Riccardo works with a strong sense of urgency to achieve quality results, quickly. Outside of work, Riccardo loves to explore and discover new things. His camera follows him wherever he goes and his computer boasts a decade of photos of architecture, people and cultures.
Ruth was born profoundly deaf into a musical family. She took up the flute at the age of 12 which was the start of her musical career. In 2005 she graduated with a 2.1 Bachelor of Music Honours degree majoring in flute performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Along with her degree she gained two Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) diploma qualifications in music teaching and Flute performance. She has studied with top international flute players and made a BBC ‘See Hear’ documentary on a musical journey which included concerto performances in Russia and London and talking about the impact of music education for the deaf. She currently has her private teaching studio, works for Essex Music Services and Mary Hare Schools as a peripatetic music tutor and as a freelance music and art workshop facilitator. She acts as a consultant with Decibels and runs a highly successfulColour Music project. She also blogs about her experiences with music education and the deaf.
Visit Ruth’s Website
Mark is an award winning musician, composer, musical director and lecturer whose work spans across the categories of folk, blues, electronic and world roots music. For the last eighteen years he has divided his time between education, composition and performance participating in, and organising, hundreds of community music projects in schools, care homes, hospitals, detention centres, refuges and day centres. He is also musical director of the, Queen’s Award nominated, performance group ‘Time Spanners’. As an Associate Lecturer at the Henley College he is responsible for the management of augmentative and assistive communication aids and lead lecturer in the implementation of a ‘music to aid communication’ programme in the Pathways department. He has a special interest in working with students on the Autistic spectrum.
Tim has recently returned from Sweden and in 2013 received an MA in Applied Theatre at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He worked in a Swedish Folkhögskola (People’s High School) for 9 years where he both directed plays and trained theatre students and teachers in devising and performance, Theatre of the Oppressed and Physical Theatre. He now runs his own company Inside Story and enjoys his role as an Applied Theatre Practitioner working for several organisations including Old Vic New Voices, Synergy Theatre Project, The Royal Opera House and Immediate theatre. He is a consultant for Decibels and several charities that work with inclusion and young people. Tim is convinced that by retelling the story with the right blend of technology and theatre our understanding can be greatly enriched. He is at present working on the Decibels “Hands on Shakespeare” project which embraces speech, sign language and animation to tell the story
Charlie has worked in the corporate sector for most of her working life in the car and telecoms industry and, more recently, in pharmaceuticals in Sweden for 8 years. The job that has challenged her the most was working for Sure Start East Peckham where she supported the programme manager by providing administrative, financial and event organisation support for 1000 families on their patch. She once bought a mini zoo to the children on the estate in Peckham which was the first time many of them had seen real sheep and cows! Charlie currently works as Placement Co-ordinator for the School of Psychology at the University of Reading where she organises 180 student placements a year with charities and organisations all over the South East. In her spare time she is an active member of her local church, a Trustee and Secretary for First Days Children’s Charity in Wokingham and loves teaching her children to bake and sew! She is passionate about equal rights for children from all walks of life.
Hamish Rosie was born in 1940 in the Orkney Isles. At ten months old, a severe bout of meningitis left him profoundly deaf. In 1944 he became a boarder at the Aberdeen School for the Deaf and his artistic talent was discovered at the age of nine by a well-known Orcadian artist and HM Painter and Limner in Scotland, Stanley Curister. Under his influence, the Aberdeen Education Authorities were approached to allow Hamish to study at Aberdeen Grammar School. His art tutor was another reputable Scottish artist who greatly influenced Hamish. A scholarship to Burwood Park Technical School in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey followed and from there, he gained a place to Kingston-on-Thames School of Art (Kingston University) and later graduated in 1960 as an exhibition and graphic designer and an artist.
Hamish took up his first post as an assistant designer with a reputable London advertising agency and later joined Greater London Council as a senior designer. He also taught part time in typography and graphic design at Croydon College of Art and Design and ran several art projects and classes.
In 1990 Hamish retired from GLC, which gave him more time to develop his artistic talents. He continued teaching and providing art projects for children and owned a small design consultancy. From his many one-man exhibitions in Orkney, London, Surrey and Newhaven, he now has many private collectors from as far afield as USA, Canada, Iran, New Zealand and Europe.
Hamish and Morag have one deaf and one hearing children. When they were young, we felt we had do something different to change our everyday environment. We joined a deaf and hearing integration group, Breakthrough. We appreciated them for giving us some confidence to improve our communication skills with hearing people and the children benefited immensely. At the same time, Morag was given a role to run Friends for Young Deaf People of which Hamish was very much involved. Hamish loves sport but he devotes his time to his ROSIE family history research. Through the research, he found many surprises and formed new contacts worldwide! Hamish’s biography book ‘My Island’ by his close friend Maggie Gordon was published in 1999. He self published a book ‘My Passion’ about his watercolour and oil paintings.
Hamish and Morag run their utilities and telecommunications consultancy, Utility Warehouse Discount Club
Click here to visit hamish-art.com to view a selection of Hamish’s watercolour and oil paintings
Eloise began studying music at the age of seven as a young chorister at her local church in Rhyl, North Wales, before joining the choir at St Asaph Cathedral in 2006. At the age of nine, Eloise began violin lessons with teachers Jane Foad and Margaret Scourse. Her love of singing led her to join the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir in 2010 and, at the age of 15, Eloise was awarded a place at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, where she studied voice, violin, and piano. Here, Eloise had the opportunity to develop her solo soprano career under Helen Francis, as well as work with musicians such as David Hill, Maggie McDonald, and Sir Mark Elder.
Following her time at Chetham’s, Eloise moved to London and completed her Bachelor of Music with Honours degree at City, University of London. Whilst here, Eloise received vocal lessons under Margaret Humphrey-Clark at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She was also an active member of several ensembles both in and out of university grounds, including the university Chamber Choir, City University Experimental Ensemble, and the London Philharmonic Choir. Throughout her degree, Eloise drew on her own experiences as a Deaf musician. She decided to focus on researching the benefits of teaching music to Deaf children in the UK which later became her chosen area of study for her final dissertation.
Eloise is now a professional singer and violinist based in London. She regularly performs with the charity Music and the Deaf as a soloist and ensemble member at a range of venues around the UK. Most recently, she has performed at venues such as Kings Place, London, the Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, and the Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax. She has also performed at the Decibels Year of Sound 2016 event hosted by Lord Michael Berkeley of Knighton, CBE who is Decibels’ Honorary President at the House of Lords; and for Decibels and Audiovisability at the Arlington Arts Centre in Newbury.
Eloise is also a teacher and workshop leader to children and adults both in and outside the classroom environment. She currently holds both academic and peripatetic teaching positions at Blackheath Conservatoire, Sing Academy, and Lambeth Music Services, and also has several private pupils.
Eloise is passionate about promoting full access and inclusion in music education for Deaf children and young people. She works alongside a number of charities and organisations to run music workshops for people with hearing loss. She has worked on a number of Decibels Music for Special Children workshops sponsored by the Berkshire Community Foundation. She also provides individually-tailored one-to-one musicianship lessons to support the development of young musicians with hearing loss. Eloise has spoken at a number of Deaf awareness workshops and events, most recently appearing as a guest lecturer at Brunel University where she shared her experiences as a musician with hearing loss and challenged the students to think about music from a non-aural perspective.
Debbie joined Decibels in October 2014 and spends her time helping out with the day-to-day administration of the office as well as assisting with researching and sending out funding applications and co-ordinating the current projects. Prior to this, Debbie worked for many years in the Financial Services Sector starting as a member of the New Business Team and ending her career as Executive Assistant to the CEO & Sales Director. She was then approached by an ex-work colleague who was volunteering at Deafax, a charity for the deaf, to see if she would be interested in supporting them on their “admin side of things” – Debbie is still there 11 years later! Hobbies include travelling, cooking, reading and spending time with family and friends.