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Invitation to join the SIGN conference committee

4 March, 2013

The International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies (iSLanDS) at the University of Central Lancashire is looking for committee members to help us continue with running a well-established, ground-breaking conference series focusing on sign language research.

Since 2006, we have enjoyed six successful conferences in a variety of locations from the Netherlands to Turkey to India, which were each attended by 50-200 deaf and hearing people from all over the world. Our most recent conference, SIGN6, welcomed over 160 participants from 20 countries in February 2013.

The SIGN6 team in Goa, February 2013

The SIGN6 team in Goa, February 2013

The SIGN conference series has been explicitly global right from the beginning, and we aim explicitly at capacity building because Deaf communities are quite small in number in many countries. Over time, the series has developed a number of unique properties which reflect the goal of SIGN conferences, e.g. that abstracts can be submitted either in writing or sign language; presenters are required to present either in the host country’s sign language or in International Sign; and each conference is preceded by a pre-conference workshop on International Sign, to improve communication between participants.

The growth of this series from 50 to well over 100 participants means that we require a strong committee to ensure the smooth running and continuity of SIGN conferences into the future. Specifically, the SIGN committee will:

•Choose hosts for further SIGN conferences, and support the host with advice
•Communicate with the local organising committee and with the iSLanDS Institute
•Establish academic committees to review abstracts
•Decide on the choice of abstracts and prepare the conference programme
•Decide the details of how the committee will work (Terms of Reference)
•Spread information about the SIGN conference across their professional networks
•As far as possible, attend the SIGN conferences (members will attend for free, but we do not pay any travel/accommodation, or any fee for their work)

The work of committee members is highly valued by the organisers of SIGN, as it is essential to the advancement of this exciting and unusual series. Participation in the committee offers members a wealth of experience and skill development in event organising, management, teamwork, administration and finance. The names of all committee members are published in all publicity and conference materials of SIGN conferences. We are looking for enthusiastic people who:

1. Have attended at least one previous SIGN conference
2. Support the philosophy of SIGN conferences
3. Have some experience in organising events
4. Have an appropriate academic background
5. Have good teamwork and communication skills (regular communication is a must)

If you are interested in joining the committee, please email the following information to

•Your contact details (name, email, affiliation)
•Why are you interested in serving on the SIGN conference committee (150 words)?
•Explain how you can match the above criteria, 1–5 (150 words)

You can respond in written English, or send us a sign language video with your answers.

Committee members will be active for four years initially and help to run at least two SIGN conferences. We aim to reply to your expression of interest within two weeks. However, we may receive many messages, so if you haven’t heard from us in over four weeks, it unfortunately means that you have not been selected for the committee.

Please get in touch by emailing if you need further information. We look forward to hearing from you.

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