What are you telling me? An Exploration into the Lived Experience of Deaf Ugandan Children
Deafness has traditionally been defined through a medical model of disability which defines people as either able or impaired, and thus situates deafness as an impairment of able-bodied society. In Uganda, deaf people are known as kasiru, which means 'stupid' or 'unable to learn' in the local language. In this project, Tomkins explores what it means to live as a deaf Ugandan child today. In-depth collaboration with deaf Ugandan school children resulted in the production of a drama performance about their early life experiences. In this play the children own their deafness as a specific way of being in the world, rather than a social/physical impairment of the able-bodied. The play is accompanied by a photobook, showing the children at work and play, and interspersed with life stories (told in their own words) which shed an insider perspective on their daily lives.