The Making of: The History of Deaf Access, Place and Space in the UK

The Making of: The History of Deaf Access, Place and Space in the UK

Luigi Lerose, UCLan (Preston, UK)

UCLan 1

UCLan 2

UCLan 3

The exhibition at the BDA event, 5 November 2022



Can you please introduce yourself and your team?

My name is Luigi Lerose; Snr Lecturer in BSL & Deaf Studies. My colleagues on this project are Lynne Barnes, Junhui Yang and Ricci Collins. 

For the Deaf Museums project, you made an exhibition. Can you tell us about the exhibition? What did people see, and where?

 Our exhibition is both a physical exhibition and an online exhibition.
It covers three overarching themes of Deaf Access, Deaf Workplace and Deaf Space. The exhibition looks across 3 timelines of Past, Present and Future – as we explore what life used to be like for Deaf people, what it is like now and what it might look like in the future.

The data is a series of interviews with members of the UK Deaf Community. The exhibition is showcased in 9 posters, complete with photographs. The interviews are accessed via a QR code.

Why did you choose this subject for your exhibition?

We wanted to get a glimpse of Deaf lives across the generations –
with a specific focus on important aspects of the Deaf experience. Access to the hearing world, the changing nature of employability and the visibility of the Deaf workforce and the closure of Deaf clubs and schools and the impact of new technologies are all critically important to Deaf History and Heritage.

Can you tell us about the interviews? Was it difficult to find people
to interview? How did you do the interviews?

It was difficult to find people to interview. Our project start
coincided with Covid 19 and lockdown – so our plans had to change. What should have been live interviews and focus groups had initially to become online interviews and recorded zoom meetings. Originally, we wanted to interview people in specific age groups, but through the pandemic, this became too difficult to organise logistically.

What is the response of Deaf and hearing people to your exhibition? 

The response has been fabulous. Feedback has been very
encouraging, and people want to see more. The Deaf community have an affinity with the oral exhibition and stories. Hearing students at the university are learning things that can’t be found in textbooks. It’s been great!

What will happen next? What are your plans for the exhibition?

The exhibition will be hosted on the Deaf Museums website (coming soon).

In addition we plan to tour parts of the country with our physical exhibition. We have already contacted Deaf events which are happening throughout the year, to ask if we can show our exhibition. We also have a lot of filmed material left, which we could use to expand our themes and exhibition.

What advice can you give people who want to do something
similar? What lessons have you learned in the process?

Creating a Deaf Exhibition is a fabulous way of keeping alive the
oral tradition of Deaf storytelling. It is important to capture Deaf lives and Deaf experiences now – for future generations.

It is not an easy process. Things do go wrong. Interviews are tricky..
Filming online is not ideal. Editing is a very time-consuming activity.
But, ultimately, creating a Deaf exhibition is a lot of fun – and it is
incredibly important!

Interview 2 March 2023, Preston UK