Lost Spaces


Principal Investigator: Dr Dai O’Brien (York St John University)
Co-investigators: Dr Lisa Stead (University of Exeter); Dr Nick Nourse (University of Bristol)
Collaborators: Deaf Studies Trust; British Deaf Association
Duration: From 2015 to 2016

This project aims to explore the consequences of lost community spaces for the Deaf community in Bristol.  Recently, the Deaf community have lost the Centre for the Deaf, which was the  centre of the community for many years, and the Centre for Deaf Studies in the University of Bristol, which was the birthplace of Dr Paddy Ladd’s Deafhood theory and brought international recognition to the CDS and to the Bristol Deaf community.

These closures have resulted in the Deaf community feeling increasingly homeless and under threat.  Without the traditional Deaf spaces that Deaf people have known and relied on in the city, the Deaf community face the threat of fracture and dispersal.

In this project the research team is working in partnership with the British Deaf Association (http://www.bda.org.uk/) and the Deaf Studies Trust (http://www.deafstudiestrust.org/).  The project aims to find the unifying threads of the Deaf community in Bristol, focusing on Deaf spaces and places of the past, present and future through use of creative methods, such as archive film screenings, poetry and film-making workshops, creation of a Bristol Deaf history map, and a march through the city centre.  We will also be screening a short film of the research process to ensure that the Deaf community are kept informed of the process.

The findings of the project will be fed back to our community partners, the BDA and the DST, as well as the Deaf community in Bristol, to help support community regeneration and planning for the future.