Dr Naomi Malone is uncovering the history around deafness in NSW

Dr Naomi Malone. Photo by Sue Wright.

Dr Naomi Malone. Photo by Sue Wright.

Awarded a Create NSW 2018-19 History Fellowship, while completing a Create NSW Createability Internship, Naomi’s year will be busy.

Congratulations on receiving a Fellowship to research the history of deafness in NSW under the mentorship of historian Professor Paul Ashton. How did your dealings with Professor Ashton come about?

I feel so honoured to be awarded the Fellowship. Working with Professor Paul Ashton arose out of learning that there is so little information in the mainstream about disability history, particularly around deafness.

Recently, I completed a PhD at the University of Technology Sydney researching the history of deaf education in NSW since World War II. It also explored the history of the Australian disability rights movement. Professor Ashton was my supervisor; we developed an excellent professional relationship and I wish to continue that at a mentoring level to expand my professional history skills and experience.

What do you hope to gain from your mentorship?

I hope to further develop my public history skills, progressing from being an emerging professional historian to that of at a mid-career level. While my writing skills developed during my PhD, I wish to broaden these skills for books, exhibitions, radio, television and film productions and digital mediums. The acquisition of these skills and other skills such as production will help to extend my history career, increasing the range of activities that can be undertaken as a professional historian.

Why did you decide to make deafness the focus of your history fellowship?

There is little information about the experiences of deafness held by people who are Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing or hearing impaired (DdHHHI)*. I am keen to produce an eBook that will trace the history of DdHHHI people in NSW, from colonial times to the present day; looking at how DdHHHI people lived, worked and how they were educated, whether through speech or sign language or both. Their achievements will be celebrated, while the trials and tribulations they faced living in a world designed, mainly for people who hear, will also be conveyed.

You are completing an internship with the Art Gallery of NSW as part of Create NSW Createability Program. What have you gained so far from the experience and how is it helping your professional development?

I have been working in the conservation area, learning about the many Australian artists – researching about Arthur Streeton as well as delving into information about Arthur Boyd and Albert Tucker. Soon, I will move into the Public Programs space to learn about how exhibitions are created from scratch and produced and will be involved in the Recollections program, which gives public talks about artworks in the Art Gallery of NSW.

What does the 2019 International Women’s Day theme – #BalanceforBetter mean to you?

International Women’s Day means celebrating all women and girls and their achievements for the benefit of our world, whether through education, work, community service, entertainment or sport. #BetterforBalance means we are all for the better when we experience gender balance in the workforce, including business and the NFT sector, government at all levels and at places of community or voluntary service.

*People living with hearing disability in Australia vary in ways they self-identify, including: Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing or hearing impaired.

More information about the Createability Internships

Create NSW Createability Internships