Deaf geographies, and other worlds.

Post FSDG, post Workshop, post… at last, a post.

As the title suggests, it’s been a while since I posted anything up here.

For the last month I’ve been doing a weekly 400 mile round trip from Bristol to Hastings, to teach on the  inaugural Field School in Deaf Geographies, and then participate in the first international Deaf Geographies Workshop.

Juggling teaching, prep, normal work, travel, and family time hasn’t been easy… and I’m not sure that I’ve done it very well – but it seems that these are the sacrifices that we have to make to get a new field off the ground, and to get established within it.

And it’s been more than worth it – we have come out of the Field School with at least one student wanting to commit to postgraduate work in Deaf geographies, and another proposing to focus on the field for his undergraduate dissertation.

And we’ve come out of the Workshop with not only another set of papers on Deaf geographies but, for the first time I think, a really clear idea of some of the challenges, opportunities and possible futures for the field.

These will now be explored, and I hope to make some of them available here as discussion points.

I’m grateful to those who have made it possible – in particular my wife and children, and their long-suffering as I waved goodbye yet again and headed off South East… Mary Beth Kitzel, who dreamed up, masterminded, organised, ran and taught on the Field School and coordinated, facilitated and presented in the Workshop… Gill Harold who also taught on the Field School and presented in the Workshop… and the staff of the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle, who put themselves and their resources at our disposal for the month.

I do find it bizarre that at just the point where my own university is closing its world famous Centre for Deaf Studies and making any remaining staff there redundant, others are discovering that Deaf-centred research offers real transformative potential – and are working to encourage it.

I wish those most conservative, a most conservative future.

But a conservative future holds little interest for me… my enthusiasm, time, and commitment is reserved for those prepared to take a risk.

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