Summary of discussions about Deaf space and place at the ‘Lost Spaces’ event in Bristol, UK – yesterday, the VS1 film will be available on Vimeo soon, and I’ll put up a link when I get it.

The event was the feedback and conclusion session from the UK’s AHRC-funded Connected Communities project exploring what the Bristol Deaf community’s response has been to losing both their Deaf Centre, and the Centre for Deaf Studies.

Having screened the film, there was a discussion between those present (mostly Deaf community) about the picture that it painted of the situation in Bristol, and of the local community’s response… to see Deaf people knowingly mobilising ‘space’, ‘place’ and other geographical concepts of being-in-the-world (incl. landscape) through sign was great. There are signs emerging for the concepts themselves apart from the everyday meanings, and for the difference between them, and it’s clear that the wider Deaf community (not just academics) are beginning to take ownership of the concepts, and wrestle with their use to describe and analyse situations and events.

Most striking was a discussion about the difference between space as buildings, space as community, space as relationships, and what opting for a ‘space-based’ or ‘place-based’ activism might have in crafting a future for the local community. Credit for this goes to the project’s Deaf leadership, Dai O’Brien, Hilary Sutherland, who have synthesised the theory into their work and used it in a way that has led others to begin to pick it up.

More, I hope, in time from this project – but in the meantime, here’s the link to the event. https://www.facebook.com/events/1735074533428326/

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