Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
I was recently asked to outline how Deaf space works… and so I wrote a document entitled ‘Building blocks to an understanding of Deaf space‘.
It’s not an academic paper by any means, so it should be accessible to pretty much anyone prepared to read it slowly… and it gives four building blocks that describe the emergence of Deaf spaces from the very embodied, to the very global, and then ties them into the wider field of Deaf Geographies.
For those familiar with the more North American idea of “Deaf space”, it’ll sound a little odd.
That work, by Hansel Bauman and others on Deaf-centred or universal design architecture, is extremely valid, but serves more of a Deaf Gain vision. It’s actually some way down the tree when it comes to Deaf space theory – and is almost a negation of the core idea of Deaf space as I understand it… which is that it is a space that is not fixed in buildings, but that is produced jointly by all those who are involved in it… drawing together, and combining their own capabilities.
The interesting thing to look at there, is what happens when Deaf spaces do get fixed in buildings, and how that affects their ability to really capture and empower those who produce them. Actually, even adding the world ‘Deaf’ to Deaf space already stops it from being a purely empowering space… and takes it away from the purely ‘organic’… by ascribing an identity and a boundary to it.
Hence why, in the same workshop that I refer to in the paper, I actually suggested that the best way to understand the origins of Deaf space, is to remove the word “Deaf” from the title completely, and just look at … space, produced by ‘humans’.
But that’s rather getting ahead of myself.
You can access the paper at the link above, or by going to: