Interview to Cristina Torres
With this new post we inaugurate a new section of personal interviews. We want to talk with people related to the field of the deaf community, accessibility, innovation, technology, among other issues that move and inspire us. Anonymous people, or companies that surround us, that have a lot to contribute to us either because of their personal experience or because they are part of a business project that every day puts its two cents in these fields. Come, through this window, your experiences and experiences will be the objective of this section.
Our first interviewee is Cristina Torres.
This young woman had the wonderful idea of uniting her two great passions: singing and signing in sign language (LSE).
Tell us about yourself
My name is Cristina Torres, I am 25 years old and I am from Jaén. I am a psychologist from the University of Jaén and this year, if all goes well, I will finish the cycle of higher degree of sign language interpreter (LSE), this year also disappears from the educational offer and not finish it would be a problem to get the title in the future.
Why do you study sign language (LSE)?
The truth that the sign language always remember as something that left me spellbound when I had the opportunity to see it in any medium and what 10 or 15 years ago, in social networks and the media, it was very difficult to find.
When I started the race, I received a brochure of an initial LSE course organized by the university, but unfortunately I ran out of places, I imagine that fate had saved my sign language for later. However, my passion for her came 4 years ago when after going through a very difficult personal situation and working in Madrid, I decided to go back to Jaén and sign up for a sign language course at the popular university. It hooked me so much that in the same year I did the two levels of the course and, the following year, I enrolled in the interpreter cycle that I am currently taking. For me, the sign language is life, just as there are things that can not be expressed from the oral language to the LSE, there are also things where the LSE has a unique ability to express.
Any experience as an interpreter?
As an interpreter in the world of work, not because I am not yet officially titled, but on a voluntary and small scale, yes, related to music, poetry and theater. I have been able to participate in several musicals in LSE and some poetic recitals.
What musical genre do you usually sing?
Phew! The truth is that I feel identified with two musical styles, the Copla and flamenco and Rock, are the styles that I enjoy most singing, although for my work I usually play almost all the most common styles.
Currently, what do you do?
Right now, since the work situation is not very encouraging, I am, like many young people, studying and working. In the mornings I study the ILSE Cycle and on weekends I work as a vocalist in the Moliere Show orchestra, which entails devoting the evenings to singing and dancing rehearsals. I dedicate myself to the two things that I like the most, with which I am delighted.
Any funny anecdote related to music or interpretation?
(Laughs) I remember a very curious in a village of Martos, that night we were going to sing in the festival and we arrived as usual 3 or 4 hours before to assemble the equipment and try sound, then I worked with a quartet and among ourselves we did everything . It was a very small town of those in which there is no coverage and we did not even find a bar to have dinner before acting. I was taking a loudspeaker out of the van to carry weight to the stage, when suddenly I see a goat running after me (laughs), I think I've never run so much, we were the goat and I wandered around the stage, I managed to get up and in less than 5 minutes we had the whole dance floor full of goats watching us.
What was the music or the interpretation first?
Music, music is something that has accompanied me since I was little, my mother took charge of instilling it, the interpretation came later, but it occupies the same place and with the same importance as music.
How did the idea of singing and performing come together?
It arises by chance in the LSE class of the popular university when they come to inform us of the Festival of the Song in LSE that is annually held in Jaén. It arises between the teacher and me as a different initiative, which was not seen, until then no one had signed and sang at the same time in a contest of this type because it is something a bit complex, maintain the expression in the signs while in the voice in its proper measure was a challenge, a challenge that we liked a lot and that we decided to prepare and present to the preselection of the Festival, with the luck that they selected me and in the end I won the third prize. It meant merging my two passions and the feeling is indescribable.
How does it feel to be the bridge of communication between deaf people and hearing people?
It is a great feeling, that thanks to you a hearing person and a deaf person can communicate and not only communicate, but also establish links, express feelings, sensations, in short, relate what is truly what keeps us alive.
Do you usually do shows where you sing and you sign the songs in LSE? Do deaf people usually attend?
I have been lucky enough to be able to do something by joining the two things, my first experience was that of the video that you told me about "María se bebe las calles" that was made at the Festival that I mentioned before. Then the following year the same course, along with the other level, we throw ourselves into the pool, as they say, and we prepare the musical of "Mamma Mia" in LSE that we coordinate between the teacher and me; also in which I sang and signaba. It was a very complicated task in which we worked hard because none of us had prepared something of such magnitude before.
In addition, in the cycle we were lucky to prepare, for one of the subjects, the musical "Today I can not get up" in LSE that we present at the institute and also in Tiena municipality of Moclín (Granada). The truth was that it was a beautiful experience.
Then, last summer I was working with the Orquesta Rebelión de Granada and in the presentation of it we started the show with the LSE performance of the song "Quiero vivir la vida amándote". On several occasions we have had the luck of having deaf people that is the objective.
What do deaf people tell you? Do you like your videos? Do they follow you?
Those who have come to see us the truth that the acceptance has been quite good and above all very grateful, they usually share and spread the videos and the information of the events through the social networks and I thank them very much.
Do you know other initiatives like yours, new and accessible to the deaf community?
In this particular issue, I think we have come a long way, yes, but there is still a long way to go. Those of us who know the LSE agree on all the initiatives that are created and arise destined or linked to this community and those that belong to it. But to send it to those who do not know anything about this world is an even more complex barrier than that of communication and that we must also break.
Thanks to social networks, we are always learning about the initiatives that are emerging. For the associations, the federation, the confederation and also the entities in smaller scale that, internally, are the ones that work the most in this work and fight every day to break down barriers and become more visible. An arduous task worthy of recognition, because without them and their work would not be possible, but still there is still much to be done outside. Sometimes it is not about doing something more original and punctual, such as a meeting or a conference, a festival etc ... but to make accessible the closest things, the day to day, the routine ... the small details are what they do the difference. It is not only about doing "things" for the deaf community, but that those "things" are for everyone and fully accessible to all, the day we get that we will talk about equal opportunities.
I would like to know a little more about your relationship with the deaf community, your opinion about accessibility and your experience at the Red Cross.
What would you do to make our society more accessible? o What things would you change?
I think that if many people were managing this accessibility, many things would change, but the truth is that reality is much more raw. It is as easy as looking at the group of physically handicapped people for example, supposedly they have achieved more accessibility in their daily lives, such as getting on a bus or having ramps to enter a store, but if that leads to the practice the situation changes because how many stores are there that have a simple little step to enter? or how many buses are there that tell us that the disabled ramp is broken? By this I mean that if this particular group continues to present this type of difficulties, that of the deaf community that is more minority will still present more problems to achieve that accessibility in simple things and of course in complex ones as well. I would start by changing handicaps, concepts, prejudices and stereotypes that we generally have about accessibility to the groups that need it, we all have a generalized idea, but few know reality closely. I think that when we get to touch what moves people inside we will be able to move the world and then there will be no barrier that exists.
Do you know active entities that are doing a lot in favor of Accessibility? Do you know the experience in other countries?
It is worth highlighting the work that everyone does, I mean that all the entities have the same common objective that is what moves them (this is what I meant by getting people moving internally). Each one works together within their possibilities and sometimes also over them, for common interests that their community needs and that are necessary to improve their quality of life. All have the same merit although not always the same institutional support.
What is your experience at the Cruz Roja?
Two years ago I applied to a scholarship for the psychology department that was offered in Mallorca and I was lucky to get it. It meant overcoming many challenges on a personal and professional level, as I have always said that when you finish the race it is as if you suddenly did not know anything, although then little by little everything begins to flow. I moved in July and started working in the immigration department. My work seemed very simple, you talked to the immigrants who had very little in Spain, most of them illegal, and you gave them a bit of tranquility and the basic guidelines to start over in another country, often telling them they did not know Spanish, that you needed an interpreter that many times did not have and that you have to manage to communicate.
Later, I was in the Department of Society where I had to coordinate and organize the different awareness campaigns that were carried out by the commercials, you know the boys and girls who kindly stop us on the street with a vest for us to become partners, as the campaigns of summer schools. At first you always go a little lost because they release you by the hand for the first time, but little by little you take the rhythm and more when it is something that you like, the truth was that it was a short but very intense stay and I enjoyed it a lot.
What are your future goals and objectives in your singing + LSE project? Do you have new projects or performances? Where would you like to come with this initiative or if you have others in mind?
Right now I have five senses to finish the cycle of interpreter, but of course I do not rule out continuing to merge music and LSE, whenever possible. Currently, a compañera and I are collaborating with SLAM, which is a poetry association from Jaén. Every month at the Café Jaén, it hosts an active recital of poetry and other related events; and whenever the work allows us we will collaborate with them interpreting those poems to LSE.
And to finish, just one more question. What do you think of WIIM?
I was watching your website and your videos, I was watching the smartwatch in detail and the truth that I think is an impressive initiative that a project so beautiful and moved by your brother has seen the light and I hope it continues to become even more visible. When I spoke about making everyday and simple things accessible, I referred a little to this, from inside doors you have achieved a lot, I congratulate you for your work and I encourage you to continue working on it.
I thank you for your interest and for having me, for anything I will be happy to collaborate with you.
Always at your disposal.
From byHS we thank you for sharing your experiences, goals, projects, anecdotes, etc. with us And I personally loved having the pleasure of interviewing you and sharing a bit of your world with me. Thank you very much!
My name is Ana Bel. and for all the people that want to share your story with us, just tell you that it will be a real pleasure. I leave my mail for anyone who is encouraged.