UCLan celebrates 25 years of British Sign Language and deaf studies education
Anniversary event marks milestone
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is celebrating 25 years of teaching British Sign Language (BSL) and deaf studies.
Since introducing a deaf studies degree in 1993, teaching in this area has gone from strength to strength and it is now estimated that more than 60% of British Sign Language/English interpreters working in the UK have been taught on UCLan courses.
UCLan was the first University in the country to establish a BA (Hons) British Sign Language degree in 2008 and the programme was further expanded with the recent introduction of a Masters degree in BSL/English interpreting and translation.
To mark the anniversary milestone, UCLan invited guests from across the UK deaf community and some of its most successful alumni for a one-day celebratory event at the University.
It featured keynotes presentations from prominent deaf academics Lilian Lawson and Clark Denmark, together with Peter Llewellyn-Jones, one of the founders of BSL/English interpreting in the UK and Honorary Fellow of UCLan, and a series of workshops led by UCLan graduates.
"SLI is proud to have been involved with UCLan from the beginning of what has now become widely recognised as the UK’s Centre of Excellence in the fields of deaf studies and postgraduate BSL-English interpreter education and training."
Peter, who manages Sign Language Interpreting (SLI), said: “SLI is proud to have been involved with UCLan from the beginning of what has now become widely recognised as the UK’s Centre of Excellence in the fields of deaf studies and postgraduate BSL-English interpreter education and training. Congratulations to all who have worked so hard and contributed so much over the past 25 years.”
Dionne Thomas studied for both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in BSL at UCLan. She is now the Director at Deaf Business Academy as well as a freelance interpreter.
Dionne said: “I have been part of the UCLan BSL and deaf studies family for 18 years. To think that I joined in their infancy and to see the calibre of professionals they have trained is outstanding. I am so proud of what they have achieved. I have not only been a part of it, it has been been a significant factor in making my career and passions what they are today.”
Lynne Barnes, Academic Lead for the BSL and deaf studies team at UCLan, added: “The is a signification milestone in the University’s existence and one we are very proud to celebrate with a host of people who have made it possible over the years.
“Since 1993, the work of the UCLan team and our graduates has allowed us to make great strides in policy and practice around BSL and deaf studies; including education, curriculum development and interpreting. The fact that more than 60% of British Sign Language/English interpreters working in the UK have been taught on UCLan courses speaks volumes about the impact we have made. We look forward to continuing our work and pushing boundaries in BSL and deaf studies education.”
View images from the event on the UCLan Flickr gallery.