Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One course over, let the free time begin!

On Saturday I finished my pre level 3 in British Sign Language.  There was no exam, but we did have to do a presentation on something linked to Deaf culture.  I chose to do my presentation on the Centre for Deaf Studies at Bristol University, and the closure of the Deaf Studies course.

So, in order to make an easy blog post, here's the text of the presentation:


  • Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) is part of Bristol University
  • CDS opened in 1978
  • It was the first academic insitution to focus on research and education to benefit the deaf community
  • Most of the staff are Deaf and all can sign

 Mission statement
  • To develop Deaf Studies in ways that benefit Deaf people and promote their inclusion in and contribution to society.
  • To increase hearing people's understanding of what it means to be Deaf.
  • The Centre's work focuses on adjusting to Deafness and hearing loss, not the prevention or cure of hearing difficulties.
  • To establish Deaf Studies as a valid subject and a worthy field of research.

CDS works in 3 main areas:
  • Research of Deaf Studies
  • Teaching programmes in Deaf Studies
  • Deaf programmes including information and consultancy and the provision of short courses and dissemination of information

Research in conducted in 5 main areas:
  • Sign language and sign linguistics
  • Sign language acquistion
  • Deaf community, Deaf culture and Deafhood
  • Cognition, mental health and education
  • Video telecommunication, video information and e-learning

CDS has a list of firsts:
  • It conducted the first funded research on sign language in the UK
  • It offered the first full time training programme for Interpreters
  • It offered the first BSC and MSC in Deaf Studies in the UK
  • It offered the first University training programme for Deaf people, taught in BSL


The Centre has developed a wide range of resources for both Deaf and hearing people.

  • Deafstation - for people fluent in BSL.  It provides daily news and information in BSL.
  • Signstation - For people learning BSL.  It has video, pictures and information about BSL, Deaf people at work and Deaf awareness.
  • Mobile Sign - a video dictionary with over 5000 signs.  For people who work with Deaf people, have Deaf customers or want to learn how to sign.  You access the dictionary from a mobile phone phone and download the signs required.

    • Deafresource - Provides information on the Deaf Community, sign language and Deaf Studies.

    • VOGS - It provides guides for working with Deaf people covering topics such as using Intepreters, facts about Deaf people and sign language and frequently asked questions.  VOGS means 'Vocational Guidance Standard Model for Deaf People'.

    Future of CDS
    • In May 2010 the decision was made to close the Deaf Studies course.
    • Lack of financial viability and academic quality were the reasons given for closing the course.
    • The last intake will be in October 2010 with the final students leaving in 2013.
    • 75% of staff face job cuts, many of these will be Deaf.

    For more information visit www.savedeafstudies.org.uk

    Now, isn't it a damn shame they are closing the course?

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