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iSLanDS celebrates as its tenth research student passes her PhD examination

26 May, 2021

PhD candidate Eilidh Rose McEwan has passed her viva with minor amendments, making her the tenth postgraduate student to be awarded a research degree at the iSLanDS Institute.

Eilidh’s PhD project, The Capabilities of Deaf People in Development Projects in the Global South, began in July 2017 and examines the capabilities realisation of deaf colleagues in the ESRC/DfID-funded Peer-to-Peer Deaf Multiliteracies project. Throughout her studies, Eilidh worked with research assistants and peer tutors from India, Uganda and Ghana who were teaching a range of multiliteracies skills to deaf learners.

In her thesis, Eilidh argues that the capabilities approach brings important insights for deaf studies scholars interested in empowerment. Equally, her focus on deaf people in the Global South offers fresh challenges to theories linked with capabilities.

Eilidh said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have passed the PhD viva, and I look forward to sharing my findings in different ways, as well as continuing with research on empowerment in the field of deaf studies in future. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the PhD, and especially the participants in India, Uganda and Ghana.”

We are delighted to have supported so many talented deaf individuals at iSLanDS, and it is fantastic to watch as our alumni have gone on to lead ground-breaking research projects around the world.

Prof. Ulrike Zeshan, founder of the iSLanDS Institute

iSLanDS co-director Nick Palfreyman, who is Eilidh’s Director of Studies, noted that there is little research on how international development projects can best work with deaf people to flourish. Nick said: “This research is an important contribution to the discourse on agency and capabilities, and shines a light on an under-explored area of practice. Eilidh’s findings will be of great interest to International NGOs, but also to deaf community organisations as they continue in their struggle for equality.”

iSLanDS alumni (clockwise, from top-left): Sunil Sahasrabudhe, Clark Denmark, Sara Lanesman,
Sam Lutalo-Kiingi, Nick Palfreyman, Rita Huhua Fan, Paul Scott, Keiko Sagara and Hasan Dikyuva.

Eilidh is the tenth research student to have graduated at iSLanDS, and joins our international alumni, who now work with universities and organisations from Japan, India and Israel to Turkey, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Prof. Ulrike Zeshan, who founded iSLanDS in 2007, said: “We are delighted to have supported so many talented deaf individuals at iSLanDS, and it is fantastic to watch as our alumni have gone on to lead ground-breaking research projects around the world.”

The Ishara Research Series publishes a book on Serious Games

26 February, 2021

Research at iSLanDS on Peer-to-Peer Deaf Literacy/Multiliteracies has resulted in an ebook in the Ishara Research Series, Serious Games in Co-creative Facilitation: Experiences from Cross-sectoral work with Deaf communities. A Serious Game is a game used for purposes other than entertainment, for example education or awareness raising. In our research, Serious Games were used for the facilitation of events with diverse groups of education practitioners, deaf community members, NGOs, and academics from different countries.


This Open Access ebook, written by iSLanDS director Prof. Ulrike Zeshan, explains the effects of Serious Games on group communication and interactions for working in co-creative ways in a supportive environment. Several case studies show how such games can be embedded within a series of activities in events. The book includes an appendix with detailed step-by-step instructions for all games, which practitioners will find useful.

The ebook is available here through Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN).

Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies project completed

30 December, 2020

We are delighted to report that our three-year project on Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies (P2PDM) has been completed. The iSLanDS team would like to thank all project partners, staff, participants, and supporters who have worked with us on educational innovations with deaf learners.

To mark the conclusion of this project, we have produced a summary report of completed and forthcoming publications, including both P2PDM and its predecessor pilot project Peer to Peer Deaf Literacy. Work will continue on the related impact project, where we focus on training deaf professionals for roles in deaf education and creating teacher training resources based on sign language.

Deaf Literacy and Multiliteracies in countries of the Global South – Reporting on research findings (Webster & Zeshan 2021)

Video documentations of our deaf multiliteracies work in India and Uganda

7 December, 2020

Our Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies teams are proud to release video documentations of our work in India and in Uganda. Over the course of this three-year project, we have worked with young deaf learners to find new ways for building skills in sign language, English literacy, digital literacies, meta-linguistic awareness, and communication technologies. Together, these skills are called “multiliteracies”.

Our deaf tutors have worked with young adults and primary school children at several partner institutions: In India, we have collaborated with the Happy Hands School for the Deaf in rural Odisha and with the Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women in New Delhi. In Uganda, our work has been at the Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda and at the Uganda National Association of the Deaf.

The video documentations show the effects of a sign language environment with deaf tutors, theme-based learning generated by the whole group, and an emphasis on motivation and confidence to enable learning.

International Week of the Deaf – greetings from our Deaf Multiliteracies team

28 September, 2020

Our international Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies team have compiled this video to celebrate International Week of the Deaf. Watch the video for greetings from Uganda, Nepal, and India.

Peer to Peer Deaf Multiliteracies is a research programme where we establish new ecosystems of learning with deaf children and adults. Deaf tutors and sign language use are at the heart of these experiments.