Sunday, November 27, 2005

Week 12

We had Paal Richard Petersen from Norway coming here to talk about S, M, L or XL in the Deaf community. Paal gave a short questionnaire to Norwegian people to answer. He can be able to measure how involved are Deaf people in the Deaf community, thus using S, M, L or XL. Part of his research, he also focused on which political parties did Deaf people vote. He showed us the results, in which Deaf people differ from the national average voters.

The potential reasons for that would be a lack of access to the information (subtitles) and Norwegian as their second language. We found his lecture very interesting.

Here is an extracted from Ole’s lecture on the use of sign language within Frontrunners from Week 12 report –

We were shown a Danish documentary on languages. The programme explains that there are about 6,000 known languages both used by national and tribes, better known as minorities. It has been said that in 100 years time, half of those known language will eventually disappear. From a statistic view, one language will disappear once in fortnight (2 weeks/14 days). An hour documentary contained Danish and International sign language.

It prompted us to think about the national sign languages, were these recognized officially by the governments? We are sure that a lot of countries’ sign languages were not recognized or known to be part of those 6,000 languages mentioned in the documentary.

Relating to the documentary, we focused on sign language naturally. Ole discussed with us about the Frontrunners’ use of sign language. Where did we obtain some signs from? How ASL was influenced and the lip movements of the English language were used. We were split into 3 groups; we obtained the theory of SWOT from Asger Bergmann in the Week 2 to determine the current situation of the national and international sign language.

It had been agreed that we all influenced each other with some international and national signs. We also agreed that in the first 2 weeks we did not understand each other clearly, as time goes by, we picked up each individual’s strengths in sign language and used each other signs.

We discussed about the strength of the sign language and the threats being cochlear implants refusing to include sign language in the CI programme.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Frontrunners Party at Copenhagen

The Frontrunners Party weekend in Copenhagen begin with a trip to Tivoli. About 15 Deaf gathered together for dinner in pizzeria with couple of boozes. We then walked to Tivoli, Christmas Special which was opened on November 15th. Iva had just missed the opportunity while she was in Copenhagen a few weeks ago.

I have to say that Tivoli had captured my eyes very much with fantastic Christmas decorations and lights. I do feel for Iva which I would love to have by my side scrolling around the place. Instead, to live things up, Christo from Germany and I drank Danish warm rum that got me dizzy a bit!

I filmed the trip; it was a good shooting because the lighting in the night was awesome. We then met up with Mette Sommer who was a lecturer in Frontrunners project, and went to pub. We met Danish Deafies. I was too tired to continue, because I got some responsibilities for the following day in the Deaf Club.

We were staying in the same hostel we stayed a few weeks ago, which is 5 star, great firm beds. I was put in a room of 8 with two Belgian girls, one is an interpreter. On Saturday, Minna and I walked together to the Deaf club and prepared for the workshop. I took an opportunity to be the “speaker” at the whole day. The members of Frontrunners team led the workshops, while they are doing it, Katrina took 10 people, one by one, to be filmed by me. The question was given to them was “What does Deaf Awareness mean?” I decided to make that film because, earlier, Ole showed us a tape about Danish Deaf people’s responds on the same question in 1982. I wanted to see if there are some differences.

I am hoping to upload the clips to the website shortly.

The workshop ended successfully with heated debates on two topics (from workshops). We all went to Thai restaurant, just round the corner of the Deaf Club. We returned to the Frontrunners Party with Happy Hour (in fact, it is for half an hour) at 9pm. Many of us grabbed plenty of ammo to last us for the night.

We chatted and drank all night until 3am. It was the end of the Frontrunners Party. It was a great weekend. On Sunday, Lars Knudsen, a well-known presenter for the Deaf TV in Denmark invited Minna and I to stay at his place for most of the day to relax before meeting up with Filip to go back to Castberggaard at 8pm. While I was there, I took an opportunity to watch BBC Prime on TV with English subtitles. It has been ages since I saw English text on a TV screen. The last time was in the 3rd week of June. I watched Eastenders for an hour and half. So many stories had changed. It made me think about Wolverhampton and the British lifestyle!!

It won’t be a long until I see Iva and visit my family in the UK soon. Times sure flew fast. Back to Castberggaard for another week!

Week 11

Week 11 is the busiest during my stay in Denmark. We had 2 lecturers coming in to talk about 2 important topics. Joe Murray, an American living in Norway came to talk about his PhD research on intermarriages (Deaf marry Deaf). In fact the Deaf community as minority has one of the highest intermarriages, with about 90%.

Joe explained about the history of American Deaf intermarriages, starting with Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. He was a strong believer of putting Deaf and hearing people together rather than letting them to marry each other. It was thought that Deaf intermarriages will lead into having Deaf children, thus the growth of “problems” for the society.

Dr. Bell addressed many issues which many great Deaf leaders would turn in their graves. Much Americans intermarriage started to collecting data to show that many of those had hearing children, with a small percentage being Deaf.

It was an exciting to hear Joe’s research on Dr. Bell with his first pupil, and how his intermarriage affected Dr. Bell’s mind about his comments on intermarriages. I afraid I could not tell more, because the topic is an on-going PhD research for Joe Murray who expects to complete the dissertation in early 2006.

Another lecturer was Tomato Lichy, a well-known Deaf activist back home in England. He talked about protests in different ways. He even brought his partner, Paula with lovely 10-month old Molly.

His lecture is very familiar to me because I recall the protests and I was involved in some. Tomato explained that it is vital that during a protest, we should NEVER TOUCH anyone. With that rule, the police will have a weak reason for arresting us. He also mentioned that stealing is forbidden, again it is one of the reason police are looking for to arrest people.

We felt that we learnt a lot this week, to know about intermarriages which are popular amongst Deaf and where we stand while protesting.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Week 10

We had Patrik Nordell from Sweden coming here to talk about Deafism. At his lecture, we learned many new scientific words. Here is an extracted of his lecture written by myself for the Week 10 in the Weekly Report.

Firstly, he showed a diagram below –

The table starts from the bottom to top. We, at the moment, are on Deaf & Deafism.

Many doctors and the society think logically and forget about human. (Kierkegaard). He also developed the theory of Existentialism.

Nietische said “why should we listen to science?”

Foucault wrote about gay and minorities discrimination, many Deaf-related philosophers’ (Ladd, Haualand and Lane) theories came the closest with his theories.

The theory of Post structuralism is linked with Ladd and Haualand’s type, the theories are based on a group which influences each other instead of individual measurements.

Comte’s theory on the list of importance (from top to bottom)
1. Mathematics
2. Astronomy
3. Physics
4. Chemistry
5. Biology
6. Sociology

Looking at the list, Deaf/Deafism can be found in Sociology as a minority. Biology is where the unworkable ear is concerned. Therefore doctors automatically put it on the “priority” list of deafness.

Deaf people would never win in a battle against hearing society if we still follow Comte’s theory.

Patrik gave us a task –


We are to think of questions which a group of hearing would ask a Deaf person. We are to think of questions which a group of DEAF would ask another Deaf person. See below.

It is obviously that a group of hearing would ask those kind of questions in which Deaf people would think differently.

Positivism relates with data strongly. Patrik explained an example with a hammer from the hardware store. One person is expert on carpentry and the other is not. The expert would take the hammer and feel the weight. The other would pick the lightest one and probably the cheapest.

The expert DOES not need data, but the other do. Therefore it is the same with Deafism with so-called hearing experts on deafness. Deaf people do not require data because they knows, hearing do need data to understand deafness/Deafism.

Deaf philosophers start from the Ready-to-head and work their way to Present-to-head. They do research on deafness and what is required to support them. Those so-called philosophers for the Deaf ignore Indirectly communication and Language directly, jumping to Logistics in which they focused on the unworkable ear. (Cochlear Implants) This had lead to much confusion and misunderstanding within the Deaf community and the hearing society especially governments.

Audism was first used by Tom Humphries in 1975. It links with a discrimination of sign language and visual communication. Sometimes there is audism within Deaf people themselves who do not have enough belief.

To summarize his lecture, he asked us what are important within Deafism. We replied, with the diagram below –

The arrows shows how each can be achieved through. For example, Deaf Studies can be used to raise Deaf Awareness, thus reducing Audism. From the diagram, we see Deaf Community as a major role in advocating Deafism.

Deaf in the UK

Mette Sommer is a Sociology student in Denmark; she attended the Centre of Deaf Studies at University of Bristol for 6 months. She learnt a lot from Deaf in the United Kingdom.

She talked about the culture difference between Denmark and the UK. The UK tend to have a strong oral environment, they do use sign language, but with many lip reading and movements unlike some countries. Mette also commented on the way Deaf British dress, she thought they wore sexy outfits; it is a possible that an oral education may have influenced them to wear what “normal” (hearing) people wear.

She explained about the modules available at the Centre of Deaf Studies in the MSc course.

Mandatory Units
DEAFM1001 Deaf Studies in Perspective, DEAFM1003 Sign Linguistics, DEAFM1004 Research Methods in the Study of Deaf People, DEAFM1005 Deaf History and Deafhood, DEAFM1007 British Sign Language for Postgraduates

Optional Units
DEAFM2001 Assessment of Deaf Children in Educational Settings, DEAFM2003 Advances in Deaf Studies, DEAFM2004 Health and Mental Health in the Deaf Community, DEAFM2006 Multilingual Environment of the Deaf Schoolchild, DEAFM2007 Social Issues in the Deaf Community in Contact with Hearing Society, DEAFM2008 Deaf Culture and Deafhood, DEAFM2009 Sociolinguistics of Signed Languages, DEAFM2011 BSL Literature and Performance

University of Bristol has more modules for those who are interested in studying in BSc or Interpreting course.

Furthermore, she showed a video which was produced many years ago, to show that Sign Language is an important part of our life rather than oral. Dr. Paddy Ladd was the actor with Douglas Alker as the magician. Alker is the currently the Chairman of the Sign Community, better known as the British Deaf Association.

We learnt how British Deaf people live their life and how they advocated for their rights long time ago.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Week 9

Markku Jokinen’s scheduled lecture on Genocide, a very much talked topic amongst Frontrunners, has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Instead we were handed a task to create a week plan to teach a topic. In my group were Christophe and Ronan. We decided to teach Deaf associations about the potential of a “Business Plan within the Deaf Association”. We explained the business’ progress and how to get profits. Using examples from our countries (selling books, tee shirts bags etc.) we showed a list of percentage profits. We showed some potential items which can be bought at the cheapest possible price and re-sell with a profitable cost.

To see the documents of the weekly plan, please take a look at the in Weekly Report, Week 9.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Week 8

We went on an excursion trip to Copenhagen. Three members of Frontrunners’ Family (Stine – Filip’s other half, Jojo – Jerome’s other half and Iva – my other half) joined us for a week of exciting programme.

We visited uncounted associations/organizations and events. I got the task as a cameraman for the whole week. I enjoyed the trip and learnt a lot about each organizations and their goals and threats.

We also took many opportunities to explore the city of Copenhagen, Iva and I went to visit the famous mermaid sitting and overlooking the city. Near to the mermaid, we paid tribute to Sir. Winston Spencer Churchill’s statue where is on the Churchillian Park. There is also a memorial tree which was planted last year to commerate the 60th anniversary of the Second World War.

We also visited Guinness World of Records and one spooky place which test our endurance! I would like to say thanks to Iva for being with me at that week. It was a good fun!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Week 7

For me, Week 7 is probably the excited one because we had Peter Niemalä who talked about The Highway to Deaf Communities, mainly on Deaf History. The other one is Deaftopia, a video production task. Being a graduate of Digital Media and Photography, and Deaf History being my hobby, I took a big interest in seeing the presentation and doing the video production task.

Peter explained the core of Deaf identity, better as “Deaf World” often defined by the strong Deaf community. Focusing on Deaf sports, he talked about Copenhagen Deaf Football Club being the 3rd biggest Deaf sport organization in the world in 1876 after Ohio School for the Deaf’s Baseball and Rugby team in 1870 and Glasgow Deaf and Dumb Football Club in 1871.

He also collects photographs of Deaf graves which contain Deaf symbolic logos, for example, Antoine Dresse, the late Secretary General of the CISS. His grave has the CISS logo on it, along with Belgian Deaf organizations. John Lovett has a newly Deaflympics logo on his grave. That logo was released publicly just before his death.

Linking up with Deaflympics topic, he briefly talked of some interesting facts about athletes.

He showed us his hobby, collecting Deaf-related stamps. He currently had about 105 stamps, all with Deaf related, events, disabled event but with Deaf issue on the stamp, Deaf portrait, (in fact there is only one Deaf portrait – Terence Parkin, a swimmer from South Africa). He included ONE sample each of the most famous Deaf people (to us, deafened people) like Beethoven and Goya. In my note, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, the Great Briton, was deafened in his very late age and wore hearing aids during debates in the House of Parliament. It is mentioned that he sometimes turned his hearing aids and dozed off. He was noticed by the whole politicians, but continued without the Prime Minister because after all, he won the war which got million of people’s respects. (Peter, if you are reading that, you may need to get a sample copy of the stamp of the great man himself to go with your collection).

Finally, Peter showed old films, which showed Edward Miner Gallaudet and George Veditz, with his famous signing quote – “As long we have deaf people on earth, we will have signs,… the noblest gift God has given to deaf people.” (1913).

Three cheers must go to Peter for his presentation on Deaf History to us, the youths!


Vivien gave us a task of creating a commercial film which reflects Deaf as the majority and hearing as the minority (as opposed in the current situation). We had been given 16 hours to complete the task. We were divided in two groups. In my group, I had Thomas, Amanda, Sigrid, Jerome and Ronan. What a debate it was! We tried to agree on the ideal story to progress with the video production. Eventually we agreed to do the “Bionic Hand Implant” which is totally opposed as cochlear implant. I filmed, cut and directed the whole process. I found it enjoyable with actors, who contributed with additional ideas and placements.

After cutting, we decided to add subtitles which were in English. I thought the film is a BIG success, it is just BRILLIANT, considering we had 16 hours to do that. The film is more of a political side, oh; it would bring lots of debates amongst politicians if it was shown to them…

We watched the other group, “Silencexyl” it is really funny, and I would have to say it is brilliant! It is a good commercial amongst Deaf people who tend to make fun of their “disability”. The film does persuade people to look us as ethnic minority, and to protect our identity.

Both films have a big impact and will work on both Deaf and hearing audiences.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Week 6

Hilde Haualand hauled from Norway, she is an anthropology, who studies human beings, the better and clearer definition would be “the comparative study of culture and society. She focused on Deaf society, being Deaf herself. She, along with two fellow hearing students wrote a dissertation on “Rome – a Temporary Deaf City! Deaflympics 2001” in 2002 as part of their Social Studies. In there she described the life of Deaf people during the infamous Deaflympic Games event. She researched that Culture happen between people, so many Deaf people influences each other. A Deaf space established by traveling and building a Deaf city, they take over the place, hearing people get a grasp of gestures and the use of pen and paper. Deaf people also expect the increased service level.

It is many Deaf people’s dream to live in the city full of Deaf people, just like any big Deaf event, but instead of a short term, forever.

It prompted me to think about the set up of a new “Deaf Town”, (or better, Sign Langauge town), in America. Laurent, South Dakota, the town is called, will be opened very soon and many people will be able to achieve their dream to remove the “Temporary” from the “a Temporary Deaf City”.

Still, Hilde has opened the door for us to realize the importance of Deaf Culture and the “Deaf space”.

Photo of Hilde - 2002/11/03/352927.html