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Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language

In collaboration with the ENS-Ente Nazionale Sordi ONLUS (National Agency for the Deaf)


Admission fee
Free of charge

On Saturday October 31, from 11am to 1pm, Ocean Space will present "Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language", the new interactive project curated by Valeria Bottalico, museum accessibility expert, and created in collaboration with the ENS-Ente Nazionale Sordi ONLUS (National Agency for the Deaf), which aims to map out and create a new vocabulary for the ocean and its environment in Italian Sign Language (LIS), starting with a hands-on event that actively involves the deaf community.

The goal of "Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language" is to create a shared glossary of signs relating to the oceans and the climate emergency, with the scientific support of the Institute of Marine Sciences (CNR-ISMAR). Ocean Space will therefore be collaborating with the National Agency for the Deaf to actively involve the Italian deaf community in mapping out all the existing and / or known signs relating to the marine world, to verify which signs are not part of everyday use (such as the term "Anthropocene” for example) with the aim of creating a common vocabulary for the deaf community.


  • Markus Reymann, Director of TBA21-Academy
  • Gabriella Cetorelli, Board of Directors of the MIBACT Museums
  • Giuseppe Petrucci, National President of ENS - Italian National Agency for the Deaf ONLUS
  • Valeria Bottalico, Project designer and curator and museum accessibility expert
  • Annamaria Salzano, Amir Zuccalà, ENS - Italian National Agency for the Deaf ONLUS working group
  • Silvia Franco, President of the ENS - Italian National Agency for the Deaf ONLUS Venice office
  • Angela Pomaro, CNR- ISMAR Institute of Marine Sciences

The presentation of the “Abecedarium: the Ocean in Sign Language” project will be live-streamed on Ocean Archive and on the Ocean Space Facebook page in Italian, Italian Sign Language, and with Italian subtitles.

ENS–Ente Nazionale Sordi ONLUS (National Agency for the Deaf)

The ENS is responsible for state protection and representation of deaf people in Italy, and has been active throughout the country since 1932 to promote the integration of deaf people into society and facilitate their autonomy.

The ENS by State Law - Law 12 May 1942, n. 889; L. 21 August 1950, n. 69; D.P.R. March 31, 1979 - protects and represents deaf people in Italy and “protects, represents, promotes and values ​​the dignity and autonomy of the deaf person, his/her full rights of citizenship in all areas of life: self-determination, accessibility, access to information, education, and training, and inclusion in school, post-school, the professional world, the workplace, and in society as a whole”, as well as “promoting communication, bilingualism, rehabilitation, culture, sport, leisure and recreational activities”.

The ENS has carried out various national initiatives and projects aimed at improving the accessibility of Italy’s historical, artistic and cultural heritage to deaf people, whether Italian or foreign, including the MAPS project, Accessible Museums for Deaf People, and the AccessibItaly project, cultural itineraries for deaf and deafblind people, both co-financed by the Ministry of Labor and social policies.