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Why Deaf Culture Is Important

Author: Paddy Ladd

Dr Paddy Ladd was born Deaf and mainstreamed. Once he found his way to
the Deaf community at age 22, he then worked with Deaf young people and their families. On seeing the damage done to them all by Oralism, he then helped to found the radical Deaf group, NUD. The NUD's successes included winning TV programmes in BSL and changing Deaf education towards bilingualism, along with the work of the BDA. He then worked on that TV programme for 3 years as presenter, researcher and director, before finding it impossible to get Deaf views across to so many hearing people entrenched in higher positions. He then founded the London Deaf Video Project for Deaf people to develop their own filming skills and to establish the idea of using BSL videos as a way to translate Govt information. After this, he decided to switch to researching Deaf culture because the concept needed some serious work to develop it into a genuine academic and political tool. He held the Doctor Chair in Deaf Studies at Gallaudet from 1992-3 as part of this process, and obtained his PhD in 1999, and is now trying to find ways to earn a living!! He was also a founder member of the FDP, the successor to the NUD, in 1998, devised the Blue Ribbon ceremony at WFD 1999 and has also written many articles and signed songs. The latter is his passion, but Deaf work still keeps him from being able to develop this.



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