Our Space

The Our Space project uses the process of a Community of Practice, originally defined by Etienne Wenger. It centres its concept that the principle knowledge rests in the community, an expertise fashioned over decades or generations. While academics pursues a process of inquiry, the community is engaged as 'researchers'. The end product becomes a solution for all; the community gain academic rigour and the university can present theories already applied in practice.

The membership of this Community of Practice is open to all who believe they have a stake in the group. It specifically focusses on the Deaf community, third sector organisations and academics.

The meetings have two rules:

1. It is a place to learn something new.

2. A space for the community to share their passions with their peers.

This approach gives precedence to the community and their contribution(s) while also ensuring that different voices, or signs, are received, accepted and developed. It will be up to the group to proceed further if they wish to. University of Sussex ensures that its resources remain available to the group to take it as far as they wish to.

As a point of comparison, the 19th century saw the rise of Parisian Banquets where ex-students from the del Epee school (a school for the deaf that opened in 1760) met to debate on current affairs that concerned them. The debates were in sign language and its aims (ambitions?) were known throughout the world. A place for dialogue, on the community's terms, is central to the Our Space model.

Below, you will see summaries collected from each session, from April 2009 to present day.

Page link: Our Space meetings - 2014/15
Our Space meetings - 2014/15
Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton
Page link: Our Space meetings - events in 2013/14
Our Space meetings - events in 2013/14
Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton
Page link: Our Space: Documenting the real.
Our Space: Documenting the real.
A video by Makiko and Yangkee
Page link: Our Space meetings - events in 2012/13
Our Space meetings - events in 2012/13
Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton
Page link: Our Space meetings - events in 2011/12
Our Space meetings - events in 2011/12
Monthly meeting to celebrate Deaf lives
Page link: The VRS Today! Campaign
The VRS Today! Campaign
Telecommunications access in BSL; 29th March 2011 (50 people)
Page link: The Personalisation Agenda
The Personalisation Agenda
Changes in Social Care; 30th November 2010 (25 people)
Page link: Our Space meetings - events in 2010/11
Our Space meetings - events in 2010/11
Monthly meeting to celebrate Deaf lives
Page link: Political parties
Political parties
Questions and answers; April 27th, 2010 (30 people)
Page link: Deaf people's narratives
Deaf people's narratives
Members of CoP, facilitated by John Walker; 26th January 2010 (35 people)
Page link: Deaf Ethnicity, Deafhood and Deaf Ethnosexuality
Deaf Ethnicity, Deafhood and Deaf Ethnosexuality
Christmas Lecture; 19th December 2009 (15 people)
Page link: BSL Broadcasting Trust
BSL Broadcasting Trust
Terry Reilly, CEO, BSLBT; 24th November 2009 (35 people)
Page link: Health and the Environment
Health and the Environment
Hamish, Morag, Funda and Claire; 27th October 2009 (25 people)
Page link: Review of Our Space Meetings
Review of Our Space Meetings
The Story So Far; John Walker; 22nd September 2009 (15 people)
Page link: Deaf Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people
Deaf Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people
Dr. Iain Poplett and Dr. Kath Browne; 28th July 2009 (20 people)
Page link: Deaf Artists
Deaf Artists
Hamish Rosie; 23rd June 2009 (10 people)
Page link: Deaf Historians
Deaf Historians
John Lilley; May 26, 2009 (12 people)
Page link: Positive Action and Action Research
Positive Action and Action Research
Gavin Lilley and Josh Cameron, April 21st, 2009 (6 people)
Page link: Our Space meeting as a Community of Practice
Our Space meeting as a Community of Practice
How theory is applied in practice?
Category link: Our Space conference
Our Space conference
Celebrating the project and its achievements