Following on from last year’s extremely successful festival, Incloodu (pronounced/signed as include you) returns with an even higher quality event with a theme of ‘Working together’.

This year Incloodu will illustrate examples of Deaf, HoH and hearing collaborating to create a unique window on what can be achieved through collaboration, alongside of work produced/performed solely by Deaf artists.

We are sure that both evening and daytime events will be a memorable occasion for everyone involved. This really is a ‘not to be missed’ event for anyone interested in visual or performing arts.

We are very excited about the debut showcase The Vibrating Chairs; there will be five of them. A working diagram. is on our FB page. Designed by Robert Jack, a PhD student in sound engineering at Queen Mary College specialising in, making music accessible without sound, has designed a chair that enables you to experience vibrations across a wide range of frequencies.

In the past, we have seen vibrating dance floors and hand held vibrating units that only really work with effectively with ‘bass’ frequencies. These chairs which are ergonomically designed to enable you to experience the rhythm and vibration of music right across the frequency range through the use of strategically placed pads that correspond to the parts of your body that react to different pitches of sound i.e.; Bass is felt most in the abdomen whilst the higher frequency and mid-range sounds are best experienced at various positions on the spine.

We cannot wait to get feedback from your experience of this.

There are far too many acts and workshops to list here. However, please do feel free to have a look at the websites (below) of some of the people involved who are all committed to raising awareness of creative work arising from the broad-spectrum deaf community.

Hope to see you all there on the day!

Mark Bushell, Ruby Sehra, Amanda Jane Richards – Incloodu Directors


Mark Smith – Deaf Men Dancing.

DJ Chris Tofu

Nao Masuda – Music in motion.

Analema Group.



A beloved friend unusually wanted my attention and it turned out to be for this very impressive video which is titled “Pixel”.

As quoted from their page, “Pixel is a dance show for 11 dancers in a virtual and living visual environment. A work on illusion combining energy and poetry, fiction and technical achievement, hip hop and circus. A show at the crossroads of arts and at the crossroads of Adrien M / Claire B’s and Mourad Merzouki’s universes.”

An exceptional visual experience with elements of surprise! Naturally, we just had to share it with you too because we enjoyed it so.

Source of Video.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Let ’em Go by Paul Leonard

Whilst out and about enjoying the Christmas cheer, a friend came up with an idea and asked for my technical know how in making this possible. How could I possibly turn down the challenge?! So in true Tree House spirit, the day was well and truly seized albeit adding my own twist!

This video we hope will help to lift everyone’s spirits and make you smile for “a smile is free and does wonders” – to quote the founder, Sara.

On behalf of The Tree House, we would like to present our parody of “Let it go” from the film, Frozen; “Let ’em go”


Please help The Tree House to stamp out any form of online abuse by not condoning it in any sense. Many thanks.

“Let ’em go” because The Tree House is positively moving onwards and upwards.


Reflections upon the background of a deaf drummer by Andrew Arthur

Deaf people and music. Yes it does sound rather like a contradiction in terms, but only if you assume that deaf people have no hearing at all. In fact the great majority of deaf people do have some hearing and very much enjoy music. Just as there are some hearing people who are not turned on by music, so there are also deaf people who are the same. There are an unfortunate few who don’t get anything at all from music, but equally there are hearing people who are just the same.

So the conclusion I come to is that it doesn’t matter whether you are deaf or not, you can still have a lot of fun with music. because music IS fun. It was always meant to be something that people could share whether it was signal drumming or a group sing song. Even the most remote and primitive tribes on the planet have their own forms of music. Music is something that people do.

When I was at school some music was included in the curriculum. For example we sang hymns every morning. There was a piano in the school hall which was linked to the PA system on the stage and there were additional microphones on the stage so that teachers could lead the singing. So OK it was a deaf school, not so much singing as bellowing for most. We would also have communal sing songs, frequently on Saturday morning during bad weather when it was too rough to go out. Everyone was expected to attend and take part regardless of hearing loss. I’m sure this created many music lovers and probably a few haters!

My father had a musical past, he was a good violin player and had played in dance bands before WW2. I still have his violin but I’m afraid I can’t play for toffee. The reason for this is that my hearing isn’t acute enough to be able to tell when I am out of tune. A violin does not have frets to tell you where to put your fingers and so violin players learn to correct their tuning as they go. Some players do this instinctively like my father and he couldn’t understand why I can’t even play Three Blind Mice in tune. In those days parents were not given much information about deafness and he just assumed that trying to teach me music was a waste of time. I was never able to persuade him to let me have music lessons and so the little bit of music I know I have had to pick up by myself.

One day I found a large pile of old fashioned 78 rpm records in a cupboard and I decided to just play them and see what I liked. So I just worked my way through this big pile of brittle records that apparently had been in the cupboard since before the war. Back then gramophones had replaceable needles and I wore out dozens! I played every record to see if I liked it, there were classics  … Beethoven, Holst, Rossini, Mozart. The longer of these pieces came on several records, you had to change the record several times to cover the whole piece. The Planets Symphony was like that, it came on about ten records. And there was one missing!
Back then, radio was very popular. People would sit for hours listening to the radio, many comedians made their name on radio shows long before there was TV but as I couldn’t understand a word of the radio it meant nothing to me. I used to get quite bored as all the hearings would be sitting around listening to this incomprehensible machine leaving me with nothing to do. That’s how I became a bookworm. I used to read books about music, how it is constructed, how people came to write music, how to read music. I picked up all sorts of interesting bits and pieces about musicians and composers. Beethoven was deaf. I found that very encouraging. If he could do it, why not me?

In fact being deaf got to Beethoven, this is not widely known. He was a pretty tortured man at times, trying to get the music in his head down in some comprehensible form that others could play. He had the legs taken off his piano and it was set flat on a wooden floor so that he could hear and feel it. He was a bit of a drug addict, it was common for medicines to contain opiates and quite a few people enjoyed their regular doses of medicine. So you can get the message that he was a troubled, deaf musician. In the light of modern information about deafness, no surprises there.

Unbelievably I learned to sing from an opera singer. She was the daughter of the headmistress of my primary school and she was also a well known opera singer. She would often sing on the radio and she was in stage productions all the time. She had a practice room in the school and she would be in there every day, doing scales, practice pieces and generally rehearsing. She would also give us children lessons in singing. At the age of 5 I could sing a tonic sol-fa and I was able to do that right up until my hearing level dropped to the point where I could no longer sing. I was about 14. I still can’t sing for toffee and yet I was in the MHGS choir at one time!

The MHGS choir was purely a show piece and was run by a teacher called Mr Thomas. There were about 15 of us altogether and we would practice in the lunch hour and after school and sometimes we would sing to the rest of the school during morning assembly. Incidentally you were not asked, you were told. You’re in the choir. Oh thanks. We would give performances on Open Day, Speech Day, Christmas time and so on. I quite enjoyed it and it was seriously romantic to sing carols in the panelled hall of the Manor House, all done up with decorations and holly.

When I left school I discovered rock bands. My cousin got married and the reception was upstairs in a pub. Downstairs there was a dance hall and there was a band playing. I could feel the floor shaking. I had never seen a rock band before so I went downstairs and into the hall and there I encountered my first ever live band. I was absolutely awestruck. This was totally different to the classical music I was brought up with. It blew Mozart away that was for sure and from that day onwards I have been a rock/blues fan.

I found that a pub nearby had rock bands playing every Sunday night and so I hung out there every week. Strangely enough a number of people played there who are very well known now but back then were just making their way. Mick Jagger. Status Quo under their brand new name. But back then they were just guys in the pub. A year or so later I moved to Cornwall with my parents and met the same guys all over again in the Headlands Club at Bude. They used to book London bands and as it happened we had a number of people who are now world famous. How about that? Of course I lapped it up and not being very interested in guitars I decided I wanted to be a drummer.

Eventually I got my hands on a drum kit, a little beat up old thing that had belonged to one of the bands I knew and over the years I had a lot of fun (and a lot of complaints) learning to play it. Finally I got the hang of it after many trials and tribulations, mainly by copying other drummers I have seen. Never had a drum lesson in me life. I got together with some other guys and we formed a band, we would practice in the back room of a pub. Sometimes other musicians would turn up and join in, on occasions we had a regular concert going in there. I played a lot of blues, I remember and I am still a big blues fan.

After a couple of years playing in pubs I regretfully left the band, like many amateur musicians I found there were just not enough hours in the day to be a worker, a dad, a husband and a drummer on top. A lot of players have to make this choice. A fair number of marriages have broken up over it. I still play the drums regularly and since I retired there have been many more opportunities to practice and improve, so I have been working on that over the years. I must say it has been a bit of a struggle because I had no idea what I was supposed to sound like.

A few years ago one of my insurance policies matured and I decided to indulge myself. I bought a proper professional drum kit on Ebay. This is a Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute. It cost an arm and a leg and since then I have added bits until it has threatened to take over the whole room so I had to stop. I do have my eye on an extra bass drum though. I try to play for an hour a day but it doesn’t often work out like that. As I am not currently in a band I am just drifting along, keeping my hand in.

Things have got easier post CI. I can hear the kit better and I am able to use the direct connection lead to hook into an electronic metronome. This is a really handy gadget and I couldn’t use a metronome before, because I could not hear it, but now I can and it has improved my playing a lot. Also I can hear the drums better and I am able to produce a more even sound. It’s a challenge to get it right. Currently I am working on playing in the style of various well known drummers, they all have distinctive beats and by playing bits of other people styles I will eventually arrive at one of my own.

One of the best things ever has been You Tube. There is every bit of music ever played on there, it’s a quite amazing repository of music and I use it almost every day. As a record player, as a learning tool or just for fun. My playing has definitely improved, it doesn’t do any harm when the world’s best drummers go online to teach their skills! But above all as drummer Chad Smith says… the object is to HAVE FUN! To quote Bill and Ted in their Excellent Adventure : Woah dude! That’s awesome!

By Any Means Necessary

A recent article at the Rim actually made me think and see things a bit clearer after recent posts over at the Tree House was questioned regarding our preferred methods of communication…. I did not know whether to laugh or feel insulted as I had not seen any evidence within the Tree House to justify said question. Dwellers were extremely quick to reinforce the ethos of the Tree House and supported the fact that it was a place where everyone could be themselves and accepted regardless of their communication needs and/or abilities. After a few moments of head banging on the wall, peace was once again thankfully restored.

At this moment in time, the rifts between certain communities could not be wider. Attitudes in today’s society seem to be going backwards that even I am disturbed to find this trait exists within our own government.

In our case, I shall use the example of the “deaf world” and “hearing world”. A lot of it comes down to other people segregating the two worlds, categorising and judging. I have not felt accepted in either “world” because of how they have perceived me to be “different” and dictated how one should be,  i.e.: I was damned if I did sign/speak or damned if I did not sign/speak. Coming from a family who happened to be deaf and having signed all my life you would assume I would not present myself the way I do – why should I appear in a certain way? I am who I am and here in my world, there is only one that everyone shares. No one is categorised unless they categorise themselves and impose the two worlds onto us.

Why does there even have to be any restrictions in the first place when it comes to communication? All forms of communication should be embraced and not rejected. Surely it is an advantage if one can express themselves by different means necessary? Over time as communication evolves and improves, it will become even more enriching for us as there is nothing wrong whatsoever in being multi-lingual.

 “If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.” – Daniel Webster.



~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Cyberbullies & Trolls.

A member of the Tree House shared a link with us as she knew some of us had been having difficulties in the past and at present. This video left her speechless and it certainly stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to share with you, the very same video in the hope that you too, will appreciate Shane Koyczan’s work as a spoken poet.

This video also has captions (Yay!) making it accessible to deaf people.

Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

I will never forget how people have made me feel over the past few years with their words, assumptions and insults. I have on occasion gone to the police who gave the other bully a warning, who as a result had me looking over my shoulder for quite a long time. That has now passed but new ones inevitably came along. One broke my heart terribly and subsequently others have broken my trust in people. Several openly bullied me online (I hope they are ashamed of themselves) while several tried behind closed doors then searching me out with fake profiles to continue their trail of bitterness.

Nowadays I do not know who I can trust but I do know my conscience is clear having done my best to do right by everyone whilst being true to myself except it is now time for me to stop being at the forefront of it all because people are once again minding what I do or say.

Dr Seuss’ quote “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind do not matter and those who matter, do not mind” is one of my all time favourites as one should never change for anyone else.

I contemplated giving up, simply because I had enough of all the ill feelings being inflicted upon and how people seemed to keep coming back for more. A friend once told me that I was a fighter not a quitter and I know once he reads this he will smile., knowing he is being remembered.

Apologies but you will not take another ounce of my strength, my positivity and my spirit which planted the seed of this wondrous Tree House. The dwellers from within will continue to nurture it regardless, helping it to bloom and grow with all its goodness while the bad apples left are outside, to rot.

A bad apple

A bad apple.

Thank you to all of those who have supported and kept me going lately. I know some of you will continue to do so, come what may. Love you all – so much. You are not getting rid of me just yet! 😛

Positivity rules! Onwards and upwards…..

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Hands on Ears by Danielle Williams

My name is Danielle Williams, I am 34, happily married to John and we have 4 beautiful children, Lewis 16, Charlie 10, George 4 and Alfie 4.

When my youngest son Alfie was 18 months old, he had a bad virus which affected his balance, his development and his hearing.

In November 2012 Alfie was diagnosed with profound deafness, it took a while for us to accept he would never hear again, we were devastated. Instead of focusing on the negatives we looked to all the positives.

When I would go to the supermarket with Alfie and his twin brother George they would attract attention from people, it would take me ages to get around the shop at times. I would get mixed reactions from people when I would tell them Alfie was deaf, some didn’t know how to react or I would get sympathy from others.

So on deaf awareness week 2014 I wanted to start a campaign to hopefully get people talking positively about deafness, so when Alfie gets older people would know how to react to him and his deafness.

I asked my husband John and my oldest children Lewis and Charlie if they could let me take a photo of them with their hands on their ears and I got mine taken too, so I could post it on Facebook to get people talking. The reason I chose the hands on ears pose was because Alfie would do this before he lost his hearing if something was too loud.

Within the hour I had people “liking” and commenting and even people were taking their own photos and posting them on Facebook, I could not believe it I was so overwhelmed by the positive reaction we were getting.

Then myself and John thought we should try and get some well-known celebrities involved, the next day I started asking people on Twitter to see if they would take a photo with their hands on their ears, it was a bit slow at first but then, Rachel Allen the TV chef sent me a photo, then I stared to get more and more, I got photos from Zoë ball and Norman Cook, Tanni Grey Thompson, Andi Peters and almost fell off the bed when I got a photo from Adam Richman from ‘Man v Food’ which was amazing.

I was so surprised when I got a call from John one afternoon when I was just about to collect the boys from nursery, he said I would never believe who has done a pic for the campaign, when he told me, I almost fell over, it was only the Red Arrows!!!! Because of that photo, my campaign got in the local papers and internet news sites, I also got invited into BBC radio Newcastle to go live on air, which I did, I was also on 3 other local radio stations.

I was still getting pics in from people for weeks afterwards but things started to quieten down for a while, until my son Lewis asked me if his NCS group could use the #handsonears campaign as their community action project, so of course I agreed.

They have done an amazing job promoting it, the group wrote and recorded a song, they all set up a Facebook page for the campaign, the target likes they had set page was 1000, they also held two awareness days in Durham:

On day one, they walked around and asked people to join in by having photos taken with their hand on ears and handed out information leaflets, I was amazed by what they achieved! On day two, they set up a stall, handed out more leaflets and performed the #handsonears song and got more photos of people to add to the ever growing collection. I have been informed that this was the most successful NCS community action project ever!!! The NCS want to continue to work with me as they love my campaign idea.

The Facebook page has 1,240 likes to date and is going really well, there are deaf and hearing people who are on the page; it is amazing how so many people are getting involved.

At the moment I am trying to put together a music video for the #handsonears song, it is going well so far, but I still need a few more volunteers and if you would like to volunteer, please visit our Facebook page for more information.

I for one am extremely excited to see the final video and I hope you are too. 🙂

Thank you to everyone, for being a part of the #handsonears campaign.

~ Danielle Williams.