Deaf Culture who attends Music


Write a dissertation on Deaf Culture and Music: The experiences of Deaf participants attending Music Events.

Chapter 1:   Introduction

This dissertation will focus on Deaf Culture and Music Events: The experiences of deaf and hard of hearing participants attending music events in an anthropologically divided society where there is a misconception that the Deaf and hard of hearing cannot participate or enjoy music events comparable to hearing people.
This study will examine and analyse selected aspects of the deaf community to provide an understanding of the demographics of the deaf community and a call for the event industry to develop a culture of inclusive practice for Deaf participants to access music related events.   

1.1    Background

This dissertation aims to identify and analyse the key factors influencing deaf participants attending music events located in the music events industry domain.  The research is ideologically concerned with critically analysing the social issues of equality and inequality of access to music events (Veal, 2011, p.51).

1.2    Research Rationale

The justification of this research is to provide an explanation to explain why things are as they are, and how they might be.  The research should encourage and provide practical assistance to the events industry and event managers on how to develop a culture of inclusive practice for the deaf community to enhance deaf and hard of hearing participants’ experience at music events (Fox, 2014). 
The Guardian Newspaper entitled, Music without barriers: providing easy access for Deaf and Disabled Fans (Bull, 2015).  A preliminary background research into Attitude is Everything demonstrated the availability of a States of Access Report online for downloading. (INSERT REF)
This report was a conducted research into Facilities for Deaf and physically challenged customers in United Kingdom (UK)  Live Music Venues and examined the views and approaches of accessibility of venues across the industry that were accessible to deaf and physically challenged participants.  The research appears informed on venues rather than the opinions and experiences of the deaf and hard of hearing community.  Given that many of the factors that were preent in 2011, are still revelant and provides a useful benchmark against which to compare the findings from this research.
Additionally, this research is a topic of interest to the author who has been profoundly deaf since the age of 8 years old and had intended to expand on the study from an anthropology perspective on the experience of attending music events.    However, Veal (2011) validated reservations on this method which has disadvantages as a researcher can be unduly biased and may not view the situation objectively.

 1.3    Research Aims

The research aims for this research which outline the hypotheses that the researcher is seeking to resolve as follows:-  
I.    What would motivate Deaf people to attend music events?
II.    What is Deaf people’s experience of attending music events?
III.    How do Deaf people access events that are visually accessible?
The specific aim is to achieve new insights into the definition of Deaf culture and the experiences of Deaf and hard of hearing people attending music events; to examine the meaning and messages of marketing advertisement based on academic literature and organisations’ websites.

1.4    Research Objectives

The key research questions listed below will investigate the phenomenology of Deaf Culture and ensure that the research is sufficiently narrow and feasible for the timescale required for completion:-
•    To inquire into the existing provisions of accessibility to music events for the deaf and hard of hearing community
•    Identifying which factors are most important to the deaf community to attend music events
•    to examine whether visual media representations accurately inform the deaf community of music events.

1.5    Preliminary Literature Review

Reviewing existing research literature is important to identify and engage with previously published research that is relevant to this topic of interest (Veal, 2011).   A review of existing academic journal and literature and engaging with previously published research is relevant to this subject in understanding Deaf Culture and Music events:-
•    London Metropolitan University – seek specialist academic literature on Deaf culture; Deaf community; the events industry and published journal articles on Deaf and music events
•    Google internet: - to analyse the impact of social media news on deaf-related events; deaf organisation; deaf event managers; blogs; Deaf and Music Events; Deaf Culture; Deaf Events and Facebook
•    Google Scholar: - to acquire published journal articles and academic literature on Deaf and Music Events, Deaf Culture and Deaf Community 

1.5    Research Methodology

The research will commence with a desk-based study to identify, review and analyse secondary data, academic literature and published journals on Deaf culture and music events which will be continuous throughout the study.  
The methodology employed in this research is established comprehensively in Chapter (3) of the study.  Primary data through a survey will be collected from the Deaf community through deaf organisations that represent the community in order critically examine deaf individual’s experiences will be carried out.  Face to face interviews at Deaf Pub Events with random participants will consist of an open question survey.  The interpretative paradigm will inductively underpin primary data research.  The aim is to understand the context of the phenomenon through the experience and meanings that deaf people assign to (Fox, 2014), 
Random sampling of the deaf community conducted by interviews and surveys will take place during the week, Monday to Friday including evenings between February and March 2016 taking into consideration the possible difficulties in collecting data from a community that is hard to reach.  This research will make it possible to collect a large amount of information from the individuals and organisations, however, negatively this places a limit on the numbers likely be present for questioning (Veal, 2011, p.35). 
Interviews through a short survey are anticipated to last no more than 15  minutes; communication will be translated into British Sign Language (BSL) by a trained interpreter.   Surveys submitted online through social media and organisations website will take five mins of the participants’ time to complete. (REF)  
Social constructivism as a language requires the researcher to consider the wording of the survey (Fox, 2014) carefully.  The present of BSL will ensure that the deaf person interviewed will understand the questions; this may be time-consuming but will broadly identify the experiences of the deaf attending music events.
The basis for collecting primary data will be explorative; explanatory and socially construed (Fox, 2014) to uncover new knowledge.   Primary data collected will be analysed using MS Excel and SSP for statistical analysis. 
The underlying approach to answering the questions will be rational to investigate a contemporary phenomenon within an everyday context (Fox, 2014).  The gathering of qualitative and quantitative data conducted by in-depth interviews and survey is necessary for understanding the experiences of Deaf people attending music events.  However, Veal (2011, p.36) notes that the use of the qualitative method in the Leisure and Tourism industry has increased significantly over the years. 
The interviews will be carried out with random sample of deaf individuals who are members of the following deaf organisations as follows:-
Action on Hearing Loss    
Attitude is Everything
British Deaf Association (BDA)
Deaf Unity    
Disabled Go News
Joseph Frasers Solicitors (works in conjunction with Attitude is Everything) 
Midi: Music Company (Music for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing People) 
Music and the Deaf
RAD – Royal Association of Deaf People 
Stay up Late
The Hearing Fund UK
Exploratory research will be undertaken to analyse websites to collect secondary primary data to demonstrate the effectiveness of visual advertising designs for persons with disabilities; using the designs on the front page of organisations websites (Fox, 2014).
Respondents will be expected to sign a consent form; with the assurance that all information from the interview will be safeguarded in confidence strictly for research purpose only. 

Chapter 2 - Literature review

2.1 Introduction

A way of life which can distinguish specific group of people is known as culture.  The deaf culture is considered as the heart of deaf community where the language and culture are intertwined. The deaf community primarily comprises of culturally deaf people who use sign language like British Sign Language (BSL) and therefore appreciate their history, culture, heritage and literature.  
The deaf community, when taken as a whole, has emerged out as a distinctive societal entity which has been marked upon by the satisfaction which deaf people find when they are with each other (Schein, 1978). Although deaf culture also consist of the larger part of society, it still remains as the enigmatic to most of the hearing population. One of the common assumption of considering deaf culture without the essence of music has been a misnomer which was primarily made by the hearing population. This assumed assumption has further led to an example of ethnocentrism which is the tendency of judging other cultures on the basis of one’s own culture. Music is valued so much in our society, the hearing population considers that a world without music is not as enriched or fulfilling. But music indeed exists within the deaf culture, though it is experienced differently by the deaf culture. The Deaf culture exists as the educated Deaf people develop their own network on graduating and keep in touch.

2.2 Meaning of little d and Big D

The little d does not associate along with the members of deaf community who strive to identify their community with the hearing population and therefore regard their hearing loss as a medical term. Whereas deaf people or “the Big D” who identify themselves as a part of culturally deaf and have strong deaf identity. It is believed that the Big D, are the one who attend programs/ schools for deaf and the small d are the ones never to have attended a school for deaf.  Therefore while writing regarding deafness, big D is used for deaf culture and little d for talking about people with hearing loss. In the nut shell, the cultural label used within the culture in the deaf culture and is referred as “big D Deaf” in sign and speech. But the lower case d is used as a label in the case of audio logical condition. 

2.2.1 Development of British Sign Language 

It is considered that the modern BSL was developed in 18th century and the development of deaf culture is highly related to the growth of nation and cities and is also considered as a standard for the international jobs in the area of teaching. When larger number of people started concentrating on deaf people, the deaf people came together with large number of other people with same problem. Consequently, they formed their own communities which developed to form a standardized form of their sign language. Their sign language continued to change and develop similarly like spoken language. The first school to include sign language in Britain was the Thomas Braidwood’s Academy for Deaf and Dumb which opened in 1760. He also included the combined system which was a form of sign language setting the standards for BSL.  However, this school intended to educate only the high society. But the first public school for deaf was started by Joseph Watson in late 18th century. With the major establishment and development of BSL most of the deaf people started to learn the sign language unofficially. Additionally, in early 20th century the deaf children were discouraged and were punished for signing and even lip-reading. The negative state of mind towards BSL changed just when it turned out to be clear that such approach is not indicating acceptable results and ascent of the mindfulness that BSL is substantially more than only a gathering of motions and emulate. In spite of that, it was not until 2003 when BSL was at long last perceived as an official minority dialect in the United Kingdom. (, 2016)

2.2.2 Deaf Community

The deaf community is not a single society, but has a purpose which with the people can sign up for. This is considered as a diverse meeting of deaf people who have various purposes and share basics of commitment, experience and communication. The commitment of the group is to support deaf people and to decide upon a place to meet. It is not helpful to define Deaf Community on the terms of pathology. The educational definitions of lack of abilities do not describe the community’s nature. However, the best definition was given by Baker and Padden (1978):
The deaf community comprises of hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals who share common experience, common language and values and even a similar method of interacting with the people of the community, and hearing people. The fundamental factor that determined the member of deaf community is called attitudinal deafness. This happens when any individual finds himself to be the member of the community and the other members also accept them as a part of the community. (Padden, 1978, p. 4)

2.2.3 Deaf Culture and Music

Deaf people believe that music can be considered as the appropriate form of entertainment for a Deaf person as they are related to the Hearing culture. Bertling observed Deaf peers at the school and referred to the apathy towards music: 
I felt a sort of misfortune for students at the school [...] They could never encounter music the way I could. All the adolescence songs they never knew, the Christmas Carol that made the Christmas experience, and further the contemporary music that would be abandoned. I later came to understand that this lost society was unimportant to them [...] (Bertling, 1995, p. 28).
This was further confirmed by Ladd (2003): 
A considerable number of Deaf individuals started to develop their own redemption of pop songs in late 1970s in the USA. But in 1990s, they started adapting the lyrics of the songs to fit the Deaf situation and also composed their own material revolving round these themes. However the art form was considered as a controversial one as only the Deaf people with minute hearing could easily gain full appreciation of their work and the people with no hearing are possible to feel alienated (Ladd, 2003, p.51). Further, the views of Ladd were shared by Padden and Humphries and considered that visual form of music is the best method of entertainment of the deaf people claiming that: many film and television portrayals of Deaf people who are longing to hear the sound of piano or guitar, and the hearing population believe that Deaf people do not appreciate the concept of music. Considering the deaf people to be silent it is not possible to recognize the ways to represent the similar concepts by considering the aspect of their lives (Padden and Humphries, 1996, p. 104).
Various school for deaf individuals have included a subject referred to as “rhythm”. These classes are meant to speaking in unison on playing of music by their teachers and gives rhythmic exercises, rhythmic games and folk dancing. These classes were intended for helping the students to understand the rhythm, fluency and accent for helping “counter balancing the tendency as a deaf person for speaking in monotone and slowly that even a normal person can hear.

2.3 Deaf Culture and Media

The media plays a vital role when we try to perceive persons having disability.  Television, literature and movies particularly, have not been very accurate when they portray deaf individuals.  Deaf people have been depicted as animal-like (The Miracle Worker) or helpless and dim-witted (Johnny Belinda) or rebellious and bitter (Bridge to Silence, Children of a Lesser God) the messages appearing on the screen or print give it an unjustifiable credibility. The media being master of incredible for influencing the perception of other people especially the one who have low contact. TV and motion pictures have not been very caring or loving towards the people with hearing problems. These characters have been alienated and depicted as powerless and idiotic. These similar portrayal gives it a baseless validity. Media impacts the point of view of other people. However the media in the Britain, is an important source of information regarding the deaf people and deafness and all the problems related to hearing world. Many TV and film viewers have never depicted persons of deaf community engaging freely in the activities of life and communicating effortlessly. Therefore, as a result of this constant weaker portrayal, they are thought as less than fully functioning and are always dependent on person with hearing ability. This biased view of media is very seldom challenged by the people of deaf community. Few people from the hearing population ever meet a man who as a problem of hearing; and when they do, dialect boundaries more often than not hinder any important correspondence. Media consumers are left then with slender, stereotypic and frequently adverse delineations of hard of hearing individuals.
Various studies have managed print and visual media's portrayal of handicapped persons generally. (Biklen and Bogdan, 1977; Trautman, 1978; Thurer, 1980; Gartner, 1982; Bogdan, Biklen, Shapiro, and Seplkoman, 1982). Unfortunately wrong, but one focal prevailing picture in early movies was that the disabled individuals are different and unique in relation to us more than they resemble us, that their inabilities some way or another set them apart from us (Bowe, 1978). Books and films are capable devices by which society sustains its qualities. Negative or stereotypic pictures depicted by the media are hard to overcome. Experts have found that the depictions of persons with an inability, recently, have been more constructive, however a propensity now exists to sensationalize the individual or to describe them as heroic (Longmore, 1985).

2.4 Conceptual Framework

The conceptual  framework to estimate the current level of demand for music events (Veal, 2011) within the Deaf Community and to assess existing provisions for deaf customers to attend music events will be reliant on journal articles published as follows:-
•    Summers (2012) thesis was established socially by the experience of deaf culture and provides a historical overview of deaf culture, deafness and the intensification of sign language interpreters for live music events through literature review. More recent events may have the effect of undermining the fundamentals which won the Deaf community recognition of BSL (British Sign Language Interpreters) in 2005. However growth forecasts in the UK has demonstrated that  vital services for the disabled are facing cuts in times of austerity whilst big corporations are able to avoid disability however provide disability ramps etc. There is a sense of competence rather than fairness in the events industry on.
What constitutes disability may be difficult to decide as event organisers’ perception of diversity and inclusion competency comes into question.  The research on venues clearly shows that whilst venues will state that accessibility has been incorporated venue, do event managers really understand the term accessibility in the disability context? 
COST: Searls had graduated in 2012 from Hopkins School of Nursing and was encouraged to apply for a job in their Unit where she had done a clinical rotation as a student.    She got the job however Hopkins retracted the offer informing her that the cost of an interpreter couldn’t be accommodated due to the budget.  It was initially estimated that the services of an Interpreter was twice the starting salary of a nurse on the unit.  (
The States of Access Report is all very well in stating that venues need to be accessible however the management of events is the responsibility of Event Managers who should fully grasp the concept of disability. Simon Darcy (2012) research was conducted consuming the demographics of groups; literature research and market arguments to provide a conclusion, however, this appears to be contextualised partly due to Deaf people communally existing under the phrase Disability.  The journal shows how misrepresentative this is as the needs and barriers of the deaf are diverse. (SEEK ADVICE RE REF possible move replace with DEAF and MEDIA).  For example, Malouf (2012, p.48) to avoid any mishap for guests who have a disability, ramps must be included for wheelchair access. (Allen, 2009) in reference to accessibility states that the location and size of the parking spaces should be extra wide to allow wheelchairs to be lowered.
•    Heim and Heim (2010) a methodically tested review and summary of research, as this journal article, argues that more be required to increase accessibility to events for the Deaf.
•    Alice-Ann Darrow (1993) research implicated a questionnaire distributed to a random sample of deaf people and used videotaped personal interviews to collect primary data. Results indicated cultural identification as a strong influential factor for deaf individuals’ involvement with music.
To Be Continued...

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