At Conflux a couple of days ago, I had my Friday celebration of still being alive and of having a career despite all kinds of big things going wrong. There were a bunch of people there (which – in the middle of a work day – is not a given) and some books were bought and my food was much enjoyed. The not-so-good was that my voice is still weak after the laryngitis and everyone was so busy chatting that most of them didn’t listen for me. I had to ask a friend with a stronger voice to get enough attention to give out door prizes, and only a few people heard him. This means the reading I prepared didn’t happen and the questions people told me they wanted answered didn’t even get asked. I regret this very much. It added to my list of what disabilities do when those around them don’t pay enough attention: those with voice or hearing issues have to deal with situations like this everyday. I knew this in theory, for friends have told me how they had to rejig something or how their experience wasn’t the one reported on but it really makes a difference to understanding when it happens to one, personally. One of the things events managers should be watching for is ambient noise (music and etc) in areas where there will be events. One of the things those of us attending events need to watch for (listen for!) are effects from this on people who can’t raise their voice above them. This is important and I needed the reminder.
My workshop went well. We had to shut the door to keep out the music and hall noise that were a problem in the launch zone, but we had a door to shut, so we were fine. My participants were bright and thoughtful and are now rethinking the big stuff, which is my perfect outcome.
And these last few days I’ve been thinking of what ‘Own Voices’ means in everyday terms. This fits in with my thoughts a few blog posts ago. If we don’t let people communicate their culture their way (if we offer to do so for them rather than clearing a path) we’re claiming hierarchical superiority on the subject. This came into the workshop a little, but mostly is coming into my life as I find out how various of us do the everyday in Australia and what it means to belong to this group or the other.