My research asks what it means for a museum to be “deaf-friendly,” and how can museums create a sense of welcome and belonging as well as an equality of experience for Deaf visitors. The research involves a number of innovations. As a Deaf researcher, I bring my professional, learned and lived experience to the project, asking deep questions about the range of ways in which Deaf people communicate and make sense of the world. I am applying the lens of Critical Disability Theory to this work, ensuring that participation of the deaf community is prioritized, and incorporating vital research in and from the Global South in order to decenter my thinking.
My research questions are:
- What does it mean to Deaf people to call a museum Deaf-friendly?
- What makes Deaf people feel welcome in a museum?
- How can Deaf people be integrated into this work?
- What specific accommodations and adjustments can be made to make exhibitions and programming Deaf-friendly?
- How can museums move beyond minimum compliance to truly generate spaces which are welcoming and which are designed for equality of experience around a deep understanding of Deaf people?
I am working in the University of Leicester Department of Museum Studies. My supervisors are Suzanne MacLeod and Richard Sandell.