After Christmas, Digability will be launching a new group for people who are D/deaf in the Sheffield/Doncaster area. It will be necessary to make sure that there is an interpreter for each session as well as any other additional support the students feel is necessary. As tutors we are also learning some BSL.
In this month’s forum we would like to ask for opinions on what it is like to work in archaeology if you are D/deaf. What challenges do you face and are there examples of how these have been overcome?
If you work in community archaeology, what provision do you make for D/deaf people?
There are some fabulous stories on the web. Have a look at Tory Sampson’s story about becoming an archaeology student here.
In the 1990s, White conducted a field school on Mount Vernon, described as ‘The first archaeological fieldschool specifically directed for deaf and hard of hearing students’. The blog they set up in 2011 describes their work between 1992 and 1994 with the Gaulladet University and the commitment of the staff to learning ASL.
Ferry Farm, George Washington’s childhood home, offers a Deaf and Hard of Hearing tour once a year in Archaeology Month.
On trawling the web I also came across some interesting historical evidence for teaching communication so that others could communicate with the deaf. In the 1660s, John Wallis produced for his pupil Alexander Popham an early form of sign language so that they could communicate.
Let us know your thoughts.