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iSLanDS Research Hubs


The iSLanDS Institute is structured to form a network of research hubs around the world. Our ‘mother’ hub is at UCLan, with other hubs that operate in India and Indonesia.

Our research hubs engage in capacity-building activities to empower deaf communities in developing countries.

These communities are traditionally at a substantial disadvantage in terms of education and employment, and one of our key objectives is to connect with them toward building sustainable, deaf-led initiatives using our applied work and research in the areas of sign language typology, sign multilingualism, deaf literacy, and sign language endangerment.

We especially support South-South co-operation amongst our hubs.

We run leadership and teaching programmes at our partner institutions. These are taught through sign language and aim at national, regional and international participation to create local deaf leaders who can then train other deaf instructors in their communities.

These deaf leaders act as local resource persons for our research, and as instructors teaching literacy to deaf peers. They also teach sign language to hearing people including prospective interpreters.

Our approach focuses on peer-to-peer teaching through sign language in combination with high-quality teaching materials that support both deaf teachers and learners.


In India , our SignHub has conducted training on deaf leadership and capacity building for promising young deaf leaders, trialled training for deaf academics, and undertaken research activities with the Indian deaf community. SignHub’s web platform is being updated with content regularly, and SignHub forms partnerships with other deaf-led organisations to contribute and share content, so that it can act as an information and networking centre for the Indian Sign Language (ISL) using community.

This includes a vlog in ISL, and sign language-based learning and information materials. The Indian hub staff also specialise in professional video editing and produce short documentaries and clips for all hubs in the iSLanDS family.

  • Language
  • Linguistics
  • Culture and Society
  • Social Inclusion
  • Education

Dr Nick Palfreyman

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Deaf Indonesians are more aware of their own language, Indonesian Sign Language (BISINDO), and now have the teaching materials, training opportunities, skills and confidence necessary to teach BISINDO.

The hubs have improved educational attainment and professional development for deaf sign language users, a marginalised group.

We have demonstrated how technology can open doors to the acquisition of reading and writing skills through sign language.

Deaf Indian students have been able to learn English through their own sign language.