Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
Following on from the previous post – which was put up rather too long ago – I decided that the only way to get to the AAG was to go aggressive on the ‘travel fund’ angle.
There were two options:
1. See what I can apply for from this end
2. See what I can apply for from the other end
From this end, the choices are university funds, funding council grants or things like the Bristol Alumni association.
University funds are no longer available – we’d now be expected to write conference attendance into a project grant, but I don’t have one of those.
Funding council’s don’t offer conference travel any more.
Bristol Alumni are fine if you’re still a student – but I’m not.
From the other end then? I approached Austin, one of the conveners of the sessions at the AAG to find out if they had sought the formal sponsorship of any of the specialist groups.
Yes came the answer – Communication Geography, Cultural Geography, and Qualitative Geography.
I found the contact details for them, put my case in writing and asked “Please can I have some money”
“No”, “no” and thrice “no” came the replies.
So – just on a whim, I wrote to the director of the Disability Specialist Group and told her that – although I’m not ‘disabled’ or Deaf, and although my work explicitly rejected the notion that Deaf people are disabled and we weren’t sponsored by them at all – the work of the Deaf Geographies group was enormously relevant to their own work and that they would ignore it at their peril. Oh, and “please can I have some money”.
Without further ado, she put together an application to the AAG Enrichment Fund for me (the deadline being as short as it was – I was actually asleep on British Summertime as she was pillaging my CV and submitting it) – supported its submission with a letter, and won me $420.
That funding now gives me the lever to go back to my own University and try and gear some more difficult-to-get funding with proof, now, that my work is considered worthy.
Success, through the Disability angle, though has left me with rather mixed feelings.
I’m not sure whether I feel like a crusader who has manipulated the system to get something that should have been freely available, or whether I feel like a scoundrel who has slept with the enemy.
And what for the ideological import. Is this a first step towards conquering Disability studies for Deaf knowledges, or a selling-out to an easy paradigm that simply got me what I needed the quickest way?
I’m slightly appeased by the fact that the funding didn’t come from the Disability group itself, but from the AAG’s central enrichment fund.
But that doesn’t actually make the tension of what I’ve done any easier to untangle.