19 May 2022
Dr Caitlin Barr, Soundfair CEO, interviewed
Tyler Wright writes: ‘Unheard Stories’ was organised by Soundfair CEO Caitlin Barr, who said the idea originated after sharing stories of those with lived experience of hearing loss – an issue which impacts more than one in six Australians.
“It became clear that there needed to be a different kind of platform to share [these stories] and that making a film was the most appropriate way to do that…
“The idea of the film festival is to create space for people to share their lived experience, but also a space for people to be an observer into others’ lives in a way you just don’t usually get,” Ms Barr.
She also said the pandemic has increased the need for more empathy toward those with deafness.
“The presence of masks created a huge barrier – it was their lifeline to connection, being able to often lip read or use the reading of facial expressions to augment what they heard,” Ms Barr said.
“If people were saying, ‘could you take down your mask so I can hear you?’ more often than not people say ‘no, I won’t take down my mask. ‘
For someone who’s really struggling to communicate, what it says to you is ‘I’m not important’, ‘this world doesn’t value me’ or ‘I need to fix my problem’, when in fact the problem is shared across society and we’ve all got a role to play.”
The festival has already spread across the country with screenings in the Blue Mountains and Macquarie Hearing Hub in Sydney.