Burning Man & the Rise in Deaf Culture

Burning Man's Camp Da Dirty Hands is specifically for the deaf and hearing impaired, fully embracing hearing loss. In this blog post, we explore the rise in deaf culture at one of the world's most talked about festivals.

Burning Man embraces hearing loss

Isolation can be a huge challenge when dealing with the everyday reality of hearing loss. The good news is that deaf culture is on the rise. Festivals and summer camps are becoming more widely available, creating a sense of belonging and companionship within the deaf community. Set in the rugged landscape of the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, U.S.A, Burning Man has become a place of pilgrimage for 'deaf Burners' seeking acceptance and love. Founded in 2010, Camp Da Dirty Hands is one of two annual camps held at Burning Man specifically for the deaf and those with a hearing impairment. According to founder Steve Fannon, "We try to teach people about deaf culture, about what it's like in the real world". News is spreading across the globe with people travelling as far afield as Australia and France to join this eclectic gathering. During the 'deaf happy hour' hearing people are invited for drinks and encouraged to communicate using a wooden board depicting the various signs of the alphabet. It's a place that encourages vibrancy, artistic flair and inclusivity. Electronic pop music reverberates around the camp - with a base tone that can be felt, if not heard. Unsurprisingly, sign language can vary from country to country and even state to state so a notebook and pen can be key to getting your point across. For those who've never learned to sign, much of the language is visual so you can generally figure out what is being said. The key purpose behind camp Da Dirty Hands is to create a sense of belonging and friendship. Amongst the dust-covered revellers, they certainly appear to be hitting the mark!

Deaf-friendly events

If you feel inspired by the deaf Burners, there are many other festival options closer to home. For activities and events in the UK, you can access the latest news via:https://www.britishdeafnews.co.uk/forthcoming-events. The site provides a detailed list of up and coming live performances, educational courses, and forums designed specifically for the deaf and hearing impaired. For those in the Midlands, try Deaffest - a film and arts festival for some serious cultural pampering. The National Deaf Children's Society has an events page full of deaf-friendly activities for children and young adults across the UK; anything from circus acts to Rockschool. There is also a number of festivals purely setup for those who are deaf or suffer from hearing loss in the US. This includes many 2018 events such asSanta Cruz Beach Boardwalk Deaf FestandSeattle Deaf Film Festival.

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