SCIENCE. ART. FILM Sound of Metal & Discussion

Why are so many films about deafness also about music? Why do cinema and television so often represent hearing loss as a tragedy, and cochlear implants as a magical ‘cure’ for deafness?

In some ways, the 2019 American Sign Language-film Sound of Metal repeats these patterns. In others, it subverts them, challenging hearing audiences to think differently about how deafness might impact our sense of self and our relationships with others, and how technology might intersect with them.

Join us to learn not about the ‘science of deafness’, which has a long and exclusionary history among hearing researchers, but about cochlear implants and the complicated place they hold in Deaf Culture, as discussed by an all-Deaf panel.

This event is a part of the Sign on Screen project, supported by the Australian Research Council at the Australian National University and the NFSA.

‘One of the film's best features is its refusal to indulge in triumph-of-the-human-spirit clichés that so often weigh down disability narratives’ - The Wrap

This screening is part of the SCIENCE. ART. FILM. series presented by the National Film and Sound Archive, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and ANU Humanities Research Centre.



Sofya Gollan is an actor, director, screenwriter and PhD Candidate in Screen Studies at the ANU. Her creative-led practice of research and filmmaking is focused on hearing appropriation of sign languages on screen.

Professor Jackie Leach Scully is Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Disability Innovation Institute at the University of New South Wales. Her research specialises in disability and feminist bioethics, and includes a focus on technology, deafness and Deaf Culture.

Ramas McRae is an Auslan teacher, multiple sign language interpreter and PhD candidate in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University. His research explores the relationship between early access to sign language for deaf individuals and mental health outcomes in adulthood.


Dr Gemma King is a Senior Lecturer in French at the ANU. Her research is centred on representations of social power and minority languages in cinema, especially signed languages. She is currently an ARC DECRA Fellow on the Sign on Screen project.

Date & time

Thu 21 Sep 2023, 6pm


National Film and Sound Archive


Sofya Gollan, PhD Candidate at ANU, Professor Jackie Leach Scully UNSW, Ramas McRae PhD Candidate Deakin University, Dr Gemma King ANU


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