April 30, 2022

Community Conversation

Deaf-Led: What it Means for Us

Canada, Finland, Japan

A panel of three celebrated Deaf artists on the term Deaf-led and why it matters. Co-presented with Theatre Passe Muraille.

Véro Leduc

Véro Leduc, Photo courtesy of the artist

This event is a Nordic Spotlight, part of Nordic Bridges.


What is meant by the term Deaf-led? How does a Deaf-led process innovate form and practice? Why does it matter? How does the experience of making Deaf-led art differ from country to country? This panel brings together three celebrated Deaf artists from Canada, Finland and Japan for a community conversation facilitated by acclaimed Quebec-based Deaf artist and researcher Véro Leduc. 

About Dr. Jenelle Rouse

With a passion for learning and creativity, Dr. Jenelle Rouse (she/her) leads a dual career as an educator with a doctorate in Applied Linguistics (Education) and as a visual body-movement artist. While working with a various provincial and international academic arts and community-related projects, she has taken on different roles (e.g., artist, panelist, workshop provider, presenter, co-collaborator, co-researcher, co-writer and consultant). To name a few: Black Deaf Canada, Sync Leadership, Tangled Arts and Disability, VibraFusionLab, Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf and Bodies in Translation. In addition, she is a founder of an ongoing creative project called Multi-Lens Existence, which enables her to continue exploring and experimenting with different mediums to illuminate stories and information, often without any reliance on words or music. 

About Véro Leduc

Véro Leduc is an artist, engaged scholar and a professor in Communication Studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal where she teaches in the Cultural Action program and the program Disability and Deafhood: Rights and Citizenship, which she co-founded. As the first Deaf university professor in Quebec and the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Citizenship of Deaf People and Cultural Equity Practices, her recent investigations focus on Deaf and disability arts practices in Canada and Deaf music. In 2020, she received the Governor General’s Medal of Canada for her commendable work in breaking down barriers to social exclusion and enhancing accessibility to university and culture for Deaf and hard of hearing people. 

About Signmark

Signmark was born deaf into a world where music is for the hearing. His career in music started with translating Christmas carols to sign language so the whole family could sing together. After watching music videos on MTV, he decided that one day his own videos would be on TV too. He fell for hip hop and rap music, both because of the beat and the possibility to talk about important issues through the music. His dreams about the music business were too much for some of his friends who said that it’s the most ridiculous dream a Deaf person can have and that music is only for hearing people.

Signmark ignored those who doubted him and kept pursuing his childhood dream. With the help of his friends and volunteers, he released the world’s first sign language hip hop DVD in 2006. At the release party MTV-News was filming in the front row. His second album Breaking the Rules was released by Warner Music and he became the first Deaf person in the world to get a record deal with an international music label.

Signmark was introduced to the mainstream audience and media when he was asked to join the national Eurovision Song Contest. The Finnish people gave their massive support to Signmark who came second in the national contest. Signmark has performed worldwide in over 50 countries. TV documentaries have been made about him in Germany, France and Hungary, among other places. The live shows are always bilingual, and the songs have been performed with International Sign Language and spoken English. His original work has not gone unnoticed: several contemporary cultural organizations have praised him, and he won The Outstanding Young Person of the World 2009 prize. Signmark is currently working on his third studio album and new material will be released later this year.

About Chisato Minamimura

Chisato Minamimura is a Deaf dance artist and an art guide born in Japan and now based in London, England. Having trained at Trinity Laban in London, she secured a Masters at Yokohama National University. She also has a BA in Japanese Painting. Minamimura has created, promoted, performed and taught dance in over 40 locations across 20 countries, including three years as a company member of the internationally renowned CandoCo Dance Company. She has been involved in aerial performances with Graeae Theatre Company, the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony and The Rio 2016 Paralympic Cultural Olympiad. Minamimura approaches choreography from her unique perspectives as a Deaf artist, creating what she calls “visual sound and music.” Alongside international cutting-edge digital artists working in sound, projection, vibration and animation, she often uses mathematical scores to create her choreography with professional dancers and aims to enhance the experience of dance and performance without music; instead, creating visual sound. 

Accessibility Information

  • The Brigantine Room in the Main Building is wheelchair accessible.
  • Volunteers and Harbourfront Centre staff will be available to assist patrons with getting in and out of the theatre from the building entrance 30 minutes before and after each show, and can provide sighted guide to patrons who require ‘Curb-to-Seat’ support, as well as assistance on the ramps in the building.
  • This panel is presented in ASL with ASL-English interpretation provided.
  • If you require assistance with booking your ticket, or require Sighted Guide ‘Curb-to-Seat’ service please contact the box office by email at tickets@harbourfrontcentre.com or call (416) 973-4000 and choose Option 1.
  • If you have questions about the access features offered for this event, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Katherine Hale at khale@harbourfrontcentre.com. or (416) 973-4960 

Dates & Times

April 30
90 mins


The Brigantine Room


Wheelchair accessible

235 Queens Quay West
Toronto ON M5J 2G8

Google Map

Keywords Talk/Storytelling