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Indonesian signers build collaboration and capacity at sign language research workshop

1 March, 2017

Aspiring deaf researchers from five Indonesian islands are raising the sign language research capacity of Indonesia’s deaf and academic communities at a workshop coordinated by PUPET. Hosted by our Jakarta partner Atma Jaya University and funded by the British Council Indonesia, this workshop includes 12 participants from Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Bali and Sulawesi, led by PUPET hub coordinator Muhammad Isnaini and our research fellow Nick Palfreyman, whose Leverhulme project represents the same five islands.


All last week, the 12 participants engaged in discussions and activities on sign language linguistics, ethical research, language variation, and the history of the Indonesian sign community, using a range of interactive materials and a peer education philosophy. They were especially inspired by the insights of a bilingual participant who uses both Indonesian Sign Language and Kata Kolok, a rural sign language in Bali. For many participants, Ni Made Dadi Astini was the first Kata Kolok signer they had met, and they were fascinated to learn about her Balinese village.


One activity explored the links between deaf communities in different Indonesian cities

This week, for the final two days of the workshop, the participants are joined by eight experienced academics from Atma Jaya, the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, UNAND in Padang, and UNS Solo, to explore the potential for effective sign language research collaboration with deaf community members. Nick commented: ‘The first week of our workshop was a great success, with participants quick to establish strong friendships and keen to share their experiences with each other. We are now eager to share our knowledge and enthusiasm with the hearing academics.’


Participants visited Atma Jaya University library to increase their understanding of research


They used statues to reflect on linguistic rights for deaf people


Learning by doing: Participants used ELAN to explore sign language phonology


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