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Deaf signers in Java support our cutting-edge SIGNSPACE workshop

18 May, 2017

We’d like to thank our 16 deaf Indonesian participants for sharing their expertise and giving us feedback at our three-day SIGNSPACE workshop last week in Bekasi, West Java.

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The workshop, funded by the European Research Council, UCLan, and the Leverhulme Trust, was held from 11-13 May and aimed to test the effectiveness of materials created as part of our new SIGNSPACE project. It also provided an opportunity for participants to improve their skills in communicating with people who use other sign languages.

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Two participants, Firda and Hani, examine the SIGNSPACE materials


As we showed through our MULTISIGN project, signers can harness advantages of the visual-gestural modality, such as visually-motivated iconicity, to rapidly develop communication with other signers who use different languages. Focussing on these advantages and meta-linguistic skills, SIGNSPACE is creating online and app-based materials to allow signers to build connections with other deaf people around the world, in order to share experiences and increase their individual and community capacity.

The participants, including 10 from Bekasi and six from Solo, discussed these materials and also wanted to concentrate on knowledge transfer related to deaf identity, organisational development and leadership skills. Sessions on deaf identity, sign language, and deaf stories, lives, spaces, history were led by our research fellow Nick Palfreyman. Advocacy and lobbying sessions were led by co-facilitator Muhammad Isnaini, our Indonesian hub co-ordinator, who showed participants how to organise effectively to advance the rights of deaf Indonesians.

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Participants use a ‘statue’ activity to explore the meaning of leadership


Nick said: ‘Muhammad and I are delighted to have had this opportunity to share skills and experiences with deaf signers from Bekasi and Solo. Participants from each city quickly became firm friends, referring to themselves informally as the “BekSol” group! We are very pleased with their responses, and we look forward to following up on this success with a second workshop later this year.’

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