Silence – Virtual Residency for Deaf Communities in Indonesia and Wales

SILENCE was a collaboration between the Makassar International Writers’ Festival (Indonesia) and Literature Across Frontiers in Wales that explored the experiences of D/deaf communities during the Covid-19 pandemic through the work of two young artists mentored by creative practitioners who guided them to find ways to communicate through writing illustration and media.  Emerging Deaf dancer and writer Fitrah Ramadhan was mentored by author Erni Aladjai and festival director Lily Yulianti Farid and to write his first book. In Wales, Safyan Iqbal developed his visual storytelling skills with novelist Niall Griffiths and created a video telling his story.

A digital session at this year’s Makassar International Writers Festival presented the two artists and their mentors in an online public event which can be viewed on MIWF / Rumata Space You Tube Channel here.

Speakers: Erni Aladjai, Fitrah Ramadhan, Lily Yulianti Farid (Indonesia) and Safyan Iqbal, Niall Griffiths, Alexandra Büchler and Ruth Fabby (Wales, UK). Hosted by Desca Ang.

Safyan Iqbal

Safyan Iqbal is a Deaf filmmaker, photographer and visual storyteller based in Cardiff, Wales. A trained camera operator, Safyan has filmed events, produced BSL flyers and promotional videos for theatre companies and for LGTBQIA+ Deaf Pride weekend, as well as providing workshops for the British Deaf Association for Deaf people to learn about filming and editing. He recently completed an apprenticeship at ITV Wales, working with the Production Specialist Team and the ITV teams in London, Bristol, Birmingham and ITV Signpost, learning how television is translated into BSL. Safyan also volunteers for RawFfest, delivering Deaf Awareness to the festival and BSL training to all volunteers. He is an active member of the Sherman Theatre’s Deaf Theatre Club, the Cardiff Deaf Creative Hands and Cardiff Deaf Centre. He is fluent in British Sign Language (BSL) and lip-reading English.

Niall Griffiths

Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool in 1966 – a city with historical associations with north Wales. After studying English at Cambridge, and periods in several cities across Britain, he moved to Aberystwyth in west Wales where he now lives. He burst on to the literary scene in 2000 with Grits (Jonathan Cape), a ferocious novel narrated through a revolving series of vernacular voices. The novel has been adapted for television. Sheepshagger (Jonathan Cape) followed in 2001, and in many ways, was a sharpening of focus, confirming Griffiths’s reputation as a serious novelist. His third novel, Kelly and Victor (Jonathan Cape) appeared in 2002, and then Stump in 2003 (Jonathan Cape) which won the Welsh Books Council Book of the Year and the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award. His later novels include Wreckage (2005, Jonathan Cape), Runt (2007, Jonathan Cape) and A Great Big Shining Star (2013, Jonathan Cape). His latest novel, Broken Ghost (2019, Jonathan Cape) tackles themes of austerity and social breakdown, was selected to Wales Literature Exchange’s Bookcase in 2019 and won the Rhys Davies Fiction Award and Wales Book of the Year Award in 2020.

The project is supported by British Council Indonesia and in Wales, Literature Across Frontiers are working closely with Disability Arts Cymru.