The End. Or the Beginning?
Off the top of my head, I will attempt to summarise the last few weeks.
On the 2nd of December, Frontrunners gave a short presentation in honour of Dr Liisa Kauppinen, as part of her receiving the Castberg Award for her work with the Deaf community.
The next day, we gave a workshop for the Nordic Council of the Deaf (Dövas Nordiska Råd, DNR) and the Nordic Youth Council of the Deaf (Dövas Nordiska Ungdomsråd, DNUR). We debated the terms “Genocide, Ethnocide and Linguicide.” The question was whether we could pick ONE of these terms to advance our ‘cause.’ It was a real privilege to work alongside Deaf Nordic Leaders such as Markku Jokinen, Liisa Kauppinen, Lars Ake Wikstrom and Asger Bergmann.
In the afternoon, two further workshops were held with the DNUR. One, on the future of the Nordic Deaf Youth Camps and Two, on Activism techniques. Check out a more detailed report at http://www.frontblog.dk/Weekly%20Reports/Week%2013/WEEK_13.pdf
The last week or so was spent working 14 hour days, finishing off projects and loose ends and developing resource material we can use back in our own countries. It was very hard to say goodbye to the people I had spent the last three and a half months with.
Jerome with his quiet passion…Gordon with his razor sharp business brain… Thomas with his ferret-like research skills…Sigrid with her bravery…
Christophe with his explosive metaphors…Ronan with his bursting enthusiasm…Sarah with her teacher objectives…Jerry with his cynicism…Filip with his demands for proof…Minna with her determination…Ole with his antecodes…Vivien with her encouragement and Katrina with her dead on aim.
With agonising certainty, we knew the time had come. Drinking Glogg or Mulled Red Wine did little to diminish the pain. Ha ha. Seriously, it has been a huge privilege to spend the time I did with this incredible group of people.
It is almost certain that we will have Frontrunners Two. The details are still being worked out, but keep your eyes open. But I am pleased to announce that the World Federation of the Deaf approved the Frontrunners project at the very last moment.
This website will be continuing up until the next Frontrunners programme. In the meantime, I hope we can entertain you with what we have been up to in our own countries. Do keep checking from time to time. Our ultimate aim is to reassemble during the WFD Congress in Madrid, 2007, to assess progress and to share information.
The last couple of weeks have involved eating greasy black pudding in the chip shop wrapper strewn Glasgow, peeling my mouth off the gravel after seeing the almost palatial Donaldsons College in Edinburgh, sampling whisky on the Isle of Arran, holding a sweet family Xmas in Birmingham, tobogganing in Vienna and eating Mozart’s balls in Salzburg.
Have a good long look at this picture. A snapshot of days long gone by? This ‘palace’ is being sold for 20 million pounds, and Deaf students are being relocated to a new building in another area. A one-bedroomed unit in the new development at the college will cost approximately 400,000 pounds. While this may very well be progress, and considered moooooving with the times, is it so wrong to pine, to lament about the days where more than two hundred Deaf students ran amok on the grounds…. ?
We are in a new era. We have technology and science on one side, and cultural values, sociology and ethics on the other.
I will leave you with this famous quote.
“You can take the man out of Yorkshire, but you cannot take the Yorkshire out of the man.”
How astutely we can apply this to us.
“You can take a person out of the Deaf World, but you cannot take the Deaf out of the person.”