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Our 10-year anniversary: 1st Feb in Preston

23 January, 2017

We are delighted to invite all of our friends and colleagues to the 10-year anniversary of iSLanDS on Wednesday 1st February at 4-6pm at the UCLan campus in Greenbank Lecture Theatre. Over the past ten years, we have consolidated our identity and work portfolio as a deaf-friendly international institute with a unique network of partners, associates, and deaf-led research hubs in countries of the Global South. We will be celebrating our many successes and milestones of the last 10 years with international guests from South Korea and Uganda, UCLan colleagues, and UK-based colleagues. We will also be launching our “10th anniversary video stories” project. 

We are not able to reimburse travel expenses but need to estimate the number of participants for catering purposes at this limited-capacity event, so if you would like to join us, please confirm by emailing We look forward to seeing you at our celebration.

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Our former study visitor meets with EU leaders at Brussels conference on sign language recognition

19 January, 2017


We are pleased to share that our former visiting research student has met with leaders in Brussels to push for greater recognition of sign languages in the EU. As a member of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf’s Welfare and Labor Committee, our study visitor Makoto Iwayama (second from right) represented Japan with JFD leaders in late September for a conference in the Hemicycle of the European Parliament entitled ‘Multilingualism and equal rights in the EU: the role of sign languages’. They met with Adam Cosa MEP, as well as Mark Wheatley, executive director of the European Union of the Deaf. Mr Iwayama said:

“These meetings helped us to understand the current progress being made toward the recognition of sign languages in EU member states. The experience has had a useful influence on us and on the Japanese deaf community.”

Congratulations to Mr Iwayama and the JFD for a successful delegation to this exciting conference.



UCLan’s Kaleidoscope showcases our research

28 November, 2016

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.


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 – 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.



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

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”.


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.