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Sound and Silence: Deaf Stories

Fiona Murphy, Jackie Leach Scully & Alex Jones

One in six Australians have some hearing loss, and the Auslan-speaking community numbers at more than 30,000. Deaf culture is thriving. Yet in the creation of spaces and social environments, deafness is often overlooked. How do we overcome stigma and exclusion?

On Stream | Talks & Ideas | Live from Sydney Opera House

“We understand the world through our bodies, and we understand our bodies in comparison to the world.” 
Fiona Murphy

Deafness is a culture, not a liability

In a world made for non-disabled bodies, everything from learning environments to restaurants can be unwelcoming, not to mention some people's attitudes. COVID-safe practices have made some spaces more accessible, so how do we ensure ongoing change? 

Writer Fiona Murphy kept her deafness a secret for over twenty-five years before discovering how sign language could change her life and that Deaf culture could be part of her identity. Her memoir, The Shape of Sound, shows that disability must be viewed beyond the medical definition and recognised as a complex social issue.

Professor Jackie Leach Scully is a bioethicist and Director of the Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW. She uses her own experience of deafness and of growing up in a family with disability to research moral attitudes towards impairment, disability, and the right to be different.

Alex Jones is an actor, theatre director, and performer. He is a passionate advocate for the change of Australian society’s attitudes and behaviours towards people with disability, and people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. 

Don't miss this insiders' discussion about living with an invisible disability, dismantling stigma and creating social policy that honours a diverse range of bodies and hearing abilities.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

More about Fiona Murphy...

Fiona Murphy is a Deaf poet and essayist. Her work has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Overland, Griffith Review and The Big Issue, among other publications. In 2019, she was awarded the Overland Fair Australia Essay Prize and the Monash Undergraduate Creative Writing Prize. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the Richell Prize and highly commended by the Wheeler Centre Next Chapter program. Her debut memoir, The Shape of Sound, was released in 2021 by Text Publishing.

More about Professor Jackie Leach Scully...

Professor Jackie Leach Scully is Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW Sydney. Formerly Professor of Social Ethics and Bioethics, and Executive Director of the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre at Newcastle University, UK, she is currently Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics. She has been an activist for disability rights for over 30 years.

More about Alex Jones...

Alex Jones is an actor, theatre director, and performer. Jones was first recruited to Australia in 1997 after graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Jones is a Co-Founder of Ai-Media which introduced a world-class, realtime, word accurate, speech-to-text captioning services called Ai-Live. He was the Director of the 2005 Deaflympics Games Cultural Festival in Melbourne and Chairperson of the 2018 Australian Deaf Games held in Albury-Wodonga. Alex has also served as an ambassador for NSW’s Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaign for several years. He is currently working in policy for the Disability Royal Commission and spends most of his time with his husband raising two kids at home.

Experience ANTIDOTE live on Stream

This year, Antidote will take place live on Stream, the new streaming service from Sydney Opera House. Watch a single talk, or settle in for a day of discussions on ideas, action and change with a Festival Pass.

FAQs – Livestreams

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