Martin Atherton

Dr. Martin Atherton

Course Leader, British Sign Language and Deaf Studies

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Livesey House, LH218

+44 (0) 1772 89 3115

Martin graduated from UCLan in 1997 with a BA in Deaf Studies and History before taking up a research post in Deaf Studies. Since then he has developed his teaching profile to encompass a wide range of topics, which he combines with the role of course leader as well as acting as the School's disability co-ordinator. He has published widely on deafness issues and is the treasurer of the Disability History Group of the UK and Europe.

Martin is research active within the area of  history.

Full Profile

Martin Atherton graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in 1997 with a BA (Hons) Deaf Studies with History. He came to higher education comparatively late, having worked as a lorry driver for 18 years before having to change careers due to injury. He joined the Deaf Studies team in 1998 having worked at the University as a support worker with deaf students both whilst a student himself and after graduating. He worked on the 'Deaf United' project for 18 months, compiling the first social and cultural history of deaf people's involvement in and with football. He then worked on various research projects, at the same time developing his teaching profile, which ahs since expanded to include a range of topics including history, family relationships, community formation and cultural attachments amongst others. He completed his PhD in History with De Montfort University in 2005, in which he expanded his original research interests to encompass the leisure practices of deaf club members, which produced a number of publications including his 2012 book 'Deafness, Community and Culture in Britain' published by Manchester University Press as the opening title in their Disability History series.

Other awards include a PGC in Research Student Supervision in 2008 and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 2012.

Martin has been a member of the Disability History Group of UK and Europe for several years, for whom he convened the 2010 'Disability History: looking forward to a better past' conference in 2010. He has published widely on many aspects of deaf life, together with his other great interest, football. In 2008, he published the history of the theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy in England in 1966, which drew on interviews with many of those involved as well as previously unpublished files from FIFA and the Metropolitan Police. He was an honorary member of staff at the National Football Museum from its inception until 2010 and he regularly contributes to radio and written media on football. He has been a supporter of Preston North End Football Club since 1967 and is the club's official statistician.


Atherton, M. (2012) Deafness, Community and Culture in Britain; leisure and cohesion, 1945-1995 (Manchester, Manchester University Press).

Atherton, M. (2011) ‘Deserving of charity or deserving of better?: the continuing legacy of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act for Britain’s deaf population’ Review of Disability Studies, 7, 3+4: 18-25.

Atherton, M. (2009) ‘A feeling as much as a place: leisure, deaf clubs and the British deaf community’ Journal of Leisure Studies, 28, 4: 443–454.

Atherton, M (2009) 'Choosing to be deaf: issues of identity in the British deaf community' in Brown, A (ed.) Historical Perspectives on Social Identities (Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Press), pp. 129-136.

More publications


BSL: QED Project

Minimal Language Skills Project

Deaf United Project


DF1112 Deaf People in Society

DF1113 Deaf Community and Culture

DF1300 Employability and the Deaf Community

DF2003 DeafWorld Debates

DF2015 Deaf Families

DF2021 Work Placement

DF3018 Political Activism in the DeafWorld

DF3021 Work Placement

DF3600 Debating Disability

DF3991 Dissertation

External Activities

Treasurer, Disability History Group


Convenor, 'Deaf United' conference, UCLan 1999

Convenor, 'Minimal Language Skills' conference, UCLan 2001

Convenor,' Looking back to a better past' Disability History Group conference, UCLan 2010

Convenor, ' Reflections on Disability 'conference, Institute of Local and Family History conference, UCLan 2012