Skip to content

SIGN10: Call for host candidates

5 April, 2019

The iSLanDS Institute is excited to announce that we are now in the planning stages for SIGN10, the tenth conference in our SIGN series, and we are seeking a host institution. We expect SIGN10 to take place at some point between April and December 2020.

If you are interested in hosting SIGN10, please send your preliminary expression of interest by email (in English or as a video in International Sign) by 30 April 2019. You should:

  • send a brief description of your institution (including any prior experience of conference organisation);
  • give brief responses to the questions in the video file (click here for the video), or the text file (click here for the PDF), explaining why your institution would be a suitable host;
  • explain the process within your institution for authorising the hosting of SIGN10 (who needs to support and authorise hosting of the conference, and how will you get their support).

Send your email to – you can email us at the same address if you want further details, or would like to discuss something with us before sending your response.

Information about hosting SIGN10 (text in English, PDF file; video on youtube).

You can view photos from previous SIGN conferences in the video below!

Call for Symposium abstracts extended until 10 April

2 April, 2019

The deadline for submitting abstracts for our forthcoming Symposium on Sociolinguistic variation in Signed and Spoken Languages of the Asia-Pacific region has been extended until 10 April 2019.

The Symposium seeks to bring together sociolinguists and others who conduct related work, to share research on spoken and signed languages of the Asia-Pacific region, which is defined as the whole of Asia as well as the countries of the Pacific rim.

Areas of interest include:

  • language variation and change
  • bilingual and multilingual practices, e.g. code-switching and code-blending
  • dialectology
  • variationist sociolinguistics
  • variation and language attitudes
  • variation and language ideologies
  • styles, identity and social meaning

Notification of acceptance will be made by 19 April 2019 at the latest.

Further details about the Symposium can be found here.


PhD student fieldwork in India

6 March, 2019

Our PhD student, Eilidh Rose McEwan, recently completed two weeks of fieldwork with the Indian team of our Deaf Multiliteracies project in Orissa and Indore. She completed the first component of her fieldwork at Happy Hands School for the Deaf. In the second week, Eilidh travelled to the city of Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh to conduct research at Indore Bilingual School. Finally, two days were spent in Delhi, where research was carried out with the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women.


The fieldwork involved mapping activities, face-to-face interviews and focus groups. Our PhD student carried this out with the assistance of peer tutor Nirav Pal to facilitate and translate the mapping keywords and questions from English to Indian Sign Language (ISL). The mapping activities aimed to demonstrate links between self-determination across a range of everyday lived assets and capabilities that participants felt they were able or unable to do. The focus groups involved general questions that aimed to uncover more in-depth responses to skills and capabilities development in staff and learner roles within the broader Deaf Multiliteracies project.

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 22.53.20

Eilidh would like to thank Sibaji Panda for the warm welcome to his home in Orissa, the peer tutors and staff at Happy Hands for her research support and likewise, for the peer tutors and staff at Indore Bilingual School. She commented: ‘It was an incredible opportunity to meet the project staff, learn about different approaches to education, and see the positive impact that combining sign language with English teaching is having on young deaf learners in the classroom. It was an enriching experience learning ISL and sharing some knowledge of BSL. I look forward to sharing the research findings soon.’

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 15.45.33

An abstract to discuss her fieldwork methods in India has been accepted by the Development Studies Association conference for a PhD Masterclass. This conference abstract has also been awarded £300 funding from the UCLan Institute for Citizenship, Society and Change PhD conference call fund.




‘Variation in Indonesian Sign Language’ – Nick Palfreyman’s book is published

28 February, 2019

We’re delighted to announce that our Reader Nick Palfreyman’s book on BISINDO (Indonesian Sign Language) is now available.

The book is based on research that Dr. Palfreyman conducted with members of the Indonesian sign community. His pioneering work uses a corpus of conversational data from signers in two cities, Solo and Makassar, and looks at how they express negatives and completives (indicating that something has ‘already’ happened).

2019 Palfreyman

Palfreyman (2019) is the first academic monograph about BISINDO.

As well as covering linguistic and sociolinguistic variation, the book includes a historical overview of the sign community, and seeks to place findings in the community context.

Nick said: “So many people have contributed to this book in very different ways – I’d like to thank each of them for their input. The book is dedicated to the Indonesian deaf community, and I would like to single out Muhammad Isnaini, Jayeng Pranoto and Oktaviany Wulansari for sharing their expertise with me.”

He continued: “The book is written in English, which is not accessible to members of the BISINDO community – so my next task is to interpret the findings into BISINDO. I plan to do this in April when I return from my next fieldtrip, so that my BISINDO is as fluent as possible.”

The book, Variation in Indonesian Sign Language: A Typological and Sociolinguistic Analysis, is eighth in the Sign Language Typology series, published by Ishara Press (Lancaster) and de Gruyter Mouton (Berlin), and is available here.

“Deaf literacy from the grassroots” – Release of documentary film

18 February, 2019

We are delighted to announce the release of the documentary film “Deaf literacy from the grassroots”, directed by Sibaji Panda and produced in India. This half-hour long film takes you along on the journey of our peer-to-peer deaf literacy work in different locations across India, from training the project team to developing the grassroots learning methodology, implementing the learner groups and online resources, and analysing the results. We feel privileged to be able to celebrate the outcomes of this work, which has since expanded into “Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies” in Ghana, Uganda, and India.

To see the subtitles, please click on the CC button in the lower right-hand corner of the video.




Call for abstracts: Symposium on sociolinguistic variation in signed and spoken languages of the Asia-Pacific region, 12-13 July 2019

13 February, 2019

We are pleased to invite abstracts for our symposium on sociolinguistic variation in signed and spoken languages of the Asia-Pacific region, to be held on 12-13 July 2019 at UCLan. This event, which is also supported by the Leverhulme Trust, features keynote presenters Rachel McKee from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and Susanne Maria Michaelis from the University of Leipzig in Germany. The abstract deadline is 30 March.

There is a rich array of sociolinguistic research on spoken languages in the Asia-Pacific region, but less on sign languages. This symposium seeks to bring together sociolinguists and other scholars in related fields to share research on both spoken and signed languages in Asia and the Pacific Rim. Areas of interest include:

  • language variation and change
  • bilingual and multilingual practices, e.g. code-switching and code-blending
  • dialectology
  • variationist sociolinguistics
  • variation and language attitudes
  • variation and language ideologies
  • styles, identity and social meaning

The languages of the symposium are English, International Sign and British Sign Language. There is no registration fee. We welcome abstracts of one page (including data and references), which should be submitted by 30 March 2019 in electronic form (Word or PDF) to Notification of acceptance will be made by 15 April.

If you have any queries or need further details, please contact Nick Palfreyman at Symposium

Congratulations to our Co-Director and Reader, Dr Nick Palfreyman

5 December, 2018

We are delighted to share that Dr Nick Palfreyman, formerly our Research Fellow, is now a Reader and the Co-Director of iSLanDS. We hope you will join us in congratulating him on this well-deserved achievement, an outcome of his outstanding research and project work and key role in our iSLanDS hub development.

Nick commented: “I was delighted to become a Reader, and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me over the past few years. I look forward to the next stage of my journey at iSLanDS, and to continuing our work with amazing deaf communities around the world.”