Walking Interconnections is an AHRC Connected Communities research project that recognises and responds to the fact that disabled people’s voices have been largely absent from the sustainability debate.
Thursday 17 July 2014
Sunday 1 June 2014
I have long been a fan of Aaron Williamson's work - both in collaboration with Katherine Araniello as the Disabled Avant-Garde (DAG) - and in his own right. Barrierman is a live art performance in Liverpool that uses a comic ('health and safety') twist so that abled people can feel what it is like to experience everyday barriers to unthinking mobility.
Gallaudet University is the world's only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing people, operating bilingually through American Sign Language and English. As part of new campus developments, it has been developing the concept of DeafSpace - producing a series of principles and guidelines that aim to capture what is special and different in how deaf people make a place for themselves through signing:
When deaf people congregate the group customarily works together to rearrange furnishings into a “conversation circle” to allow clear sightlines so everyone can participate in the visual conversation. Gatherings often begin with participants adjusting window shades, lighting and seating to optimize conditions for visual communication that minimize eyestrain. Deaf homeowners often cut new openings in walls, place mirrors and lights in strategic locations to extend their sensory awareness and maintain visual connection between family members.
These practical acts of making a DeafSpace are long-held cultural traditions that, while never-before formally recognized, are the basic elements of an architectural expression unique to deaf experiences. The study of DeafSpace offers valuable insights about the interrelationship between the senses, the ways we construct the built environment and cultural identity from which society at large has much to learn.What I enjoy about this work is that it does not merely deal with the 'functional' needs of deaf people, but sees these as completey intertwined with Deafness as a cultural identity and way of being.
Read Todd Byrd, a student at Gallaudet, on DeafSpace
Monday 26 May 2014
This was the work that made me want to share some of the best stuff about dis/ability on the web. In it feminist philosopher Judith Butler and disability activist Sunaura Taylor go for a walk and have a conversation about disability as not merely a physical status but also about ones 'place' in society (which turns out to also be an issue for so called "able-bodied" persons.)