John Hay's Story
John used his Fellowship to undertake an 8-month study tour of deaf museums and archival centres in Europe, the USA and Canada.
John A. Hay is chair of the British Deaf History Society (BDHS), a very small charity established in 1993 to promote and advance the interest in the discovery, preservation and conservation of the histories of Deaf people, their communities, culture and language.
The Fellowship gave John the opportunity to explore how deaf museums and archival establishments are run, maintained and funded, as well as experiencing the sorts of exhibits which celebrate deaf people in a positive socio-cultural manner.
John found that the exhibits showcased at the majority of the museums he visited demonstrated a marked shift from the medical model of Deafness to the socio-cultural model of Deafness. Through celebrating themes such as Deaf Pride, Deaf Culture and Sign Language, they are also assisting the change of the general public’s perception of deafness from negative to positive.
John’s study tour continues giving ideas towards the on-going developments and upkeep of the BDHS Deaf Museum and Archive in Warrington. He is still in demand for presentations on his findings from his Churchill Travelling Fellowship, having been invited to address adherents of Deaf History in Australia, Norway, his native Scotland and Sweden.
John talks about his Fellowship (6 minutes).