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Martin Smith - Signs of my Times

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The Leeds Library

18 Commercial Street

Leeds

LS16AL

United Kingdom

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In the summer of 1957, at the end of his service in the Royal Navy, Martin Smith’s local labour exchange in Exeter offered him two interviews: for a local insurance office job or for a trainee welfare officer post in Leeds in the deaf and dumb department of the Leeds Institute for the Blind and the Deaf and Dumb. For no particular reason he chose Leeds – and stayed.

The shock of the culture he was thrown into and the attitudes and social management of deaf people he found were to determine his whole working life.

In Signs of My Times, his autobiography, Martin tells the story of his life with deaf people. He recounts his journey from a childhood in Devon, with educational difficulties, to Leeds and to how he set about changing the systems and attitudes controlling deaf people. In particular, the battles he fought over the recognition of sign language as a distinct language in its own right.

At 81, Martin has an insight developed during 40 years of work with deaf people and more than a decade added to that as a volunteer. The result is forthright – in terms of both attitudes towards deaf people and politics.

It is an unusual story of a developing commitment to liberating deaf people in Leeds. Hear him talk about that work – and his book.

This event is FREE but booking is essential.

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The Leeds Library

18 Commercial Street

Leeds

LS16AL

United Kingdom

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