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UCLan’s Kaleidoscope showcases our research

28 November, 2016
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We were delighted to showcase our work last week at an event celebrating the best of UCLan’s ideas and innovations. This exciting event, Kaleidoscope, was held on 17 November and attracted local dignitaries, partners, and other friends of UCLan.

Our research fellow Nick Palfreyman and technician Phil Howarth were on hand to show how the research we conduct makes a difference to the lives of deaf children and adults in the Global South. The stand included information on our work on literacy and education in India, and how our research is being applied in Indonesia to improve access to information through sign language.

UCLan VC Mike Thomas said: “I was extremely impressed with the quality of projects and how engaging all the staff working at the event were. Over the past week we have received many comments on how the event was useful to those who attended and the innovative ideas and products on display.”

Thanks to everyone involved in the event for this great opportunity to share our research.

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SIGN8: Call for Host Candidates

3 November, 2016

The iSLanDS Institute is pleased to announce that we are now in the planning stages for SIGN8, the eighth conference in our SIGN series, and we are seeking a host institution.

If you are interested in hosting SIGN8, please send your preliminary expression of interest  by email (in English or as a video in International Sign) by 30 November 2016. You should:

  • send a brief description of your institution (including any prior experience of conference organisation);
  • give brief responses to the questions in the attached text/video file (see link below), explaining why your institution would be a suitable host;
  • explain the process within your institution for authorising the hosting of SIGN8 (who needs to support and authorise hosting of the conference, and how will you get their support)

If you would like to host SIGN8, please email bidding@signconference.org – or email us at the same address if you want further details, or would like to discuss with us before sending your response.

Information about hosting SIGN8 (Text in English): sign8-call-for-host-candidates

Information about hosting SIGN8

Interest in “Deaf-led Research” soars

27 October, 2016

Following on from our research training programme in India in June, interest in research led by deaf communities is emerging as a theme of major interest. A series of Facebook posts with video summaries and comments about the 2-week training programme has had 12,000 views so far. We will continue to work on further development of deaf-led models and methodologies in our next upcoming projects.

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Deaf literacy summary report – thanks to our participants and collaborators

27 October, 2016

We are delighted to share a summary report of our recently completed Peer-to-Peer Deaf Literacy project, and we wish to thank our learners, research assistants, peer tutors and co-researchers for their immense contributions toward the success of this research, including partners in India, Uganda and Ghana. Our findings show that the project’s approach to teaching English was effective because learners significantly improved their English skills. It was also evaluated positively by the learners with respect to the use of real-life texts, Indian Sign Language, diverse activities, multimodal resources, and supportive guidance by peer tutors. Thanks to the expertise of our Indian Advisory Committee, we have come up with some concrete plans for further work in India. Moreover, this innovative approach devised with colleagues at Lancaster University is currently being expanded to engage further groups of deaf learners in other countries.

The report is available here: summary-report-p2pdl.

iSLanDS director awarded honorary professorship in India

12 September, 2016
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Congratulations to our director, Professor Ulrike Zeshan, on being awarded an honorary professorship from Amity University Gurgaon in India for “her extraordinary achievements in the field of sign language typology, sign multilingualism & applied sign linguistics and for her exceptional research in the area of comparative sign language grammar of non-western sign languages and deaf studies in Southern Asia, the Middle East including Turkey, and Sub-Saharan Africa”.

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Amity University organised an award ceremony on 19 July, after which Prof Zeshan delivered a workshop on transdisciplinarity in research and teaching, and talked about “change labs” and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

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Indian learners and project team celebrate success of peer-to-peer deaf literacy work at dissemination conference

22 August, 2016
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We would like to thank all of the participants who contributed to the impactful and enjoyable dissemination events in Vadodara, India, marking the successful end of our peer-to-peer deaf literacy project in June. The workshop and conference were covered by VNM News Magazine (in Hindi) and the regional Times of India.

At the hands-on workshop on 24 June, presenters discussed the project’s approach and participants shared their feedback; project members gave small-group demonstrations of the bespoke SLEND platform, and led an open discussion on the next stages for this work.

Workshop participants sign ‘peer-to-peer’

Workshop participants sign ‘peer-to-peer’

The conference on 25 June covered the learners’ and host organisations’ experiences, academics’ fieldwork, links between British and Indian partners, research assistants as cultural-linguistic consultants, and peer tutors’ leadership methods. Presentations were followed by a Q&A panel discussion and a screening of the project’s documentary film.

Participants at the dissemination conference on 25 June

Participants at the dissemination conference on 25 June

On 26 June, the project’s Indian Advisory Committee held their final meeting, with seven esteemed members discussing the results with the researchers and representatives from the learners, peer tutors and research assistants. They made decisions on how to scale up and distribute the deaf literacy model, adapt the approach for other learner groups, and implement the findings into realistic policy changes.

Article about the project in the regional Times of India

Article about the project in the regional Times of India

We have been impressed by the commitment and achievements of our learners during this project, and the iSLanDS Institute looks forward to expanding our work on deaf literacy in the near future.

Our research fellow wins Leverhulme grant to study Indonesian sign language varieties

15 August, 2016
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Congratulations to our research fellow Dr Nick Palfreyman, who has been awarded a three-year early career research fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust. His project, entitled ‘Patterns of variation and local identities in Indonesian sign language varieties’, aims to conduct pioneering research on grammatical variation in conjunction with PUPET, the Indonesia research hub established by iSLanDS in 2014.

Indonesia has an estimated 500,000 deaf signers across a vast archipelago, but little research has been carried out to date on the considerable diversity between and within its sign language varieties. Working with deaf colleagues in Indonesia, Nick will look at grammatical patterns across six varieties and their social contexts, studying how Indonesian signers use variation to shape social meanings and identities.

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Nick meets with deaf adults and hearing parents of deaf children during a recent fieldwork trip to Indonesia

Nick’s grant was one of around 100 early career research fellowships awarded in 2016 by Leverhulme, which offers fifty per cent match-funding towards three-year academic research positions, enabling early career researchers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work.

We hope you will join us in congratulating Nick as he embarks on this exciting fellowship project.