In Australia, Deafblind Awareness Week was celebrated from the 21st – 27th June this year. The global initiative for Deafblind Awareness Week 2021 was yarn bombing. This is a form of street art where knitted or crocheted squares adorn an object in a public space.

Why Yarn Bombing?

Yarn bombing is a fun and creative activity that is achievable at all different skill levels. Some Deafblind community members were very skilled at knitting and crocheting and produced hundreds of squares to contribute to State based installations. This also provided an opportunity for peer-teaching where deafblind craft experts could support beginners to learn how to crochet. At the same time, those less confident could contribute by making pom-poms, garlands and plaited rope to hang from the installations. The significance of this largescale art project is not only that it is highly tactile, but the joining of squares and craft pieces symbolises members of the Deafblind community coming together.

The yarn bombing installations were accessible to every member of the public regardless of age, social status or ability. Compared to exhibition artwork within a formal exhibition space or behind glass in a frame, the global yarn bombing campaign for Deafblind Awareness Week ensured that all members of the public could view, touch and interact with what was on display. Most importantly, via tactile means, deafblind people were able to appreciate the work they contributed to once it was installed.

Yarn bombing is a colourful and striking form of graffiti art. The purpose of setting up installations in Australia’s major cities was to gain attention and raise awareness of deafblindness. Information sheets accessible via both print and braille with QR codes to the Deafblind Information Australia website accompanied the art pieces.

I was lucky enough to assist Deafblind Victoria (DBV) in setting up their installation throughout Flinders Lane in the Melbourne CBD. It was amazing to see how many members of the public stopped to admire the work, curious at what was written on the pavement in chalk: “Deafblind Awareness Week 2021”. People were approaching DBV members asking questions and chatting about it to other passers-by.

Yarn bombing creations using hundreds of squares, pom-poms garlands and crocheted flowers were installed around Australia as well as 21 other countries around the world. Deafblind groups from Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland created amazing yarn bombing displays, including coverings on trees, sign posts, mannequins, bannisters and even a British phone box. We’d like to congratulate the Deafblind community and everyone who got involved in Deafblind Awareness Week activities. Your combined efforts have created a strong and united voice and helped raise awareness of deafblindness nationally and globally.

For more information about this years event:

Visit the Deafblind International (DbI) Facebook page to see yarn bombing from all over the world.

Follow the Deafblind Information Australia Facebook page to see the yarn bombing around Australia and for information on how to get involved in in Deafblind Awareness Week 2022.

Written by Phoebe Wells,
Project Officer for the Centre of Excellence – Deafblind

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