Yesterday, PEACH hosted the first lecture of the First-Person Narratives for an Accessible Built Environment lunchtime lecture series. We were happy to see a large turn out, with many interested community members in attendance.
Frank O’Sullivan, Executive Director of the Society of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians, offered valuable insights about some barriers to communication that deaf persons often experience in public spaces. His experience emphasized the importance of visual ques and textual or graphic instruction for wayfinding, navigation, and emergency systems. Frank explained how modern technologies, in the form of personal cellphones, CART translation services, and internet apps, have contributed significantly to eliminating social barriers for persons of the deaf community.
DeafSpace is a relatively new concept in inclusive design, where spaces are shaped by and for members of the deaf community as opposed to hearing persons. Orientation of seating, brightness of lighting and colour contrasting, sightlines for movement, and acoustics are some considerations for the design of spaces inclusive of deaf and hard of hearing persons. Gallaudet University in Washington, DC is leading this practice of DeafSpace in the development of its campus’s indoor and outdoor spaces. We invite you to learn more about DeafSpace at Gallaudet University at https://www.gallaudet.edu/campus-design-and-planning/deafspace.
PEACH would like to thank Frank for his participation in this lecture series. We look forward to working with him and members of the deaf and hard of hearing community of Halifax more throughout our research. Thank you also to everyone who made it out to attend this first lecture. We hope you will join us again when we host our next speaker!