Our Good Fellow: Doctor Naomi Malone
Naomi Malone is an experienced advocate in the field of disability inclusion, a consulting historian and an access specialist. Born profoundly deaf, in 2017 Naomi completed her PhD research at UTS, under the supervision of Professor Paul Ashton and with support from Shopfront.
Entitled A Constant Struggle: A History of Deaf Education in NSW since WWII, her thesis examines the educational experiences of Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing and hearing-impaired (DdHHHI) people.
Naomi argues that - despite developments in legislation, policy, advocacy and technology designed to improve deaf education and its delivery – DdHHHI students face ‘a constant struggle’ from their early years of education through secondary high school and continue to be marginalised within the NSW system. The situation continues due largely to fragmentation within the DdHHHI movement based on competing advocacy for differing approaches to deaf education: should DdHHHI people be taught using oralism – teaching via spoken language – or manualism – teaching via sign language, or bilingualism?
She believes that, moving forward, the varying individual needs - including language and means of communication - of DdHHHI children should guide educational decision-making.
As a UTS Shopfront Community Fellow, Naomi was provided with desk space and equipment, as well as staff support and input to enable her to conduct her research.
“The support from my Shopfront colleagues throughout my doctoral research was immensely valuable and helped me to complete the work,” Naomi said.
Come graduation day, her ceremony was live captioned. “My first accessible Graduation Ceremony - and I loved every minute of it,” Naomi said. “I would not be surprised if the day was a milestone for UTS to provide live captioning at graduation ceremonies.”
As well as being awarded her doctorate, in 2017 Naomi curated the ‘Access Leads to Inclusion’ photographic exhibition about UTS staff and students with disability and their access requirements to address the physical, communicative and attitudinal barriers that they experience when engaging with the University as a study place or work place. The Exhibition was launched by Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, and Professor Shirley Alexander, UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students), to celebrate International Day of People with Disability.
What comes next? Naomi is now writing the history of specialist deaf educator The Shepherd Centre while also working at the Professional Historians Association NSW & ACT. She is Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Committee at the State Library of NSW and a member of the Australian Museum's Accessibility and Inclusion Advisory Panel.