[lg policy] UCL recognised for expanding deaf people ’s access to society

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 30 15:36:08 UTC 2009

UCL recognised for expanding deaf people’s access to society
29 September 2009

Signature Annual Awards

The Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at UCL has
been shortlisted for a national award for its significant contribution
towards building a society in which deaf people have full access.
Signature, the qualifications awarding body for signed languages and
other methods of communication used by deaf and deafblind people, has
shortlisted DCAL for an ‘Organisational Achievement’ award in a
national awards scheme launched this year. The Signature Annual Awards
aim to recognise outstanding achievement by those who have made a
significant contribution towards a society in which deaf people have
full access. The Organisational Achievement award recognises an
organisation in the public, private or voluntary sector which, through
leadership or endeavour, has made a significant contribution to
achieving a society in which deaf people have full access. The other
four categories of award recognise the contribution of individuals to
this aim.

DCAL is a world-renowned centre of excellence for research on British
Sign Language, with deaf people and Deaf culture firmly at the centre
of its work. Its research is centred on the perspective on language
and thought that is provided by deaf people’s communication. Through
its research and activities, the Centre contributes to changing
perceptions of Deafness, away from the notion of medical ‘deafness’ to
enable a shift of focus from ‘disability’ to that of a diverse
cultural and linguistic group.

The centre provides a unique perspective on language and thought based
on Deaf people’s communication. It places sign languages and Deaf
people in the centre of the general understanding of how language and
communication work within linguistics, psychology and child
development. DCAL’s research contributes to the improvement of the
daily lives of deaf people, with strong practical lessons for
education, health and community services and the centre works hard to
get those who can change policy and practice to take these on board.
Alongside the research that DCAL carries out, the centre’s commitment
to equal access is also borne out by the way it operates as an
organisation. The centre’s recent activities in this light include:

coordinating an agreement on involving deaf children in academic
research. This was in response to the increasing demand that schools
for deaf children are facing for their pupils to be involved in
academic research and ensures that everyone takes care in managing
their relationships for the benefit of all involved, especially
developing a network of deaf and hearing researchers, and in
particular building capacity specifically amongst young deaf
researchers. The centre has a mentoring system in place whereby Deaf
postgraduate students are each paired with a Deaf postdoctoral
researcher who acts as a mentor
launching a competition for young deaf people to tell DCAL what they
would like to see deaf research working on in the future. The ideas
raised will contribute to DCAL’s research in the future
setting up an alarm system for deaf employees and students at their
offices that can act as a good practice example for others.

Signature Chief Executive Jim Edwards, said: “The enthusiasm for the
awards really shows that our vision of a society in which deaf people
have full access can become a reality. The Signature Annual Awards are
about recognising excellence in communications between deaf and
hearing people and we’re looking forward to sharing these successes at
the ceremony in London.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Crowne Plaza
Hotel, St James, on 12 November 2009.

UCL context

DCAL’s mission is to study questions about language – its origins,
development and processes, by looking at the communication of deaf
people.  It is the largest research centre in this field in Europe
with nearly 40 staff and research students, almost a third of whom are


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