Amber Rose Smock Humanities
Searching for Cultural Identity in the Worlds of Sounds and Signs: A Story of One Deaf Artist
Amber will create a multimedia narrativelayering videos, performance, sound, and slidesand a written journal based on her experiences of culture shock as she explores her deaf identity as a young adult. Growing up, Amber was mainstreamed and considered herself hard-of-hearing, but had never met anyone from the Deaf community. This summer, Amber consciously immersed herself in Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL) for the first time. She visited the Professional Theater School of the National Theater of the Deaf (NTD) in Chester, Connecticut, observing deaf people engaged in the process of propagating Deaf culture through performance. Through their example, she learned about the meaning of being a deaf person, and also learned some basic ASL, which is the keystone of Deaf culture. While at NTD, Amber became reconciled with her identity as a deaf person. She continued her ASL studies with a class at Gallaudet University in Washington DC, the only deaf university in the world. She will continue to study ASL through her senior year, and in the spring will exhibit her narrative about “walking the fence” between the worlds of the deaf and the hearing.