Bridging the Gap 5 – Heriot-Watt University

Bridging the Gap 5: Looking forward together

This conference to be hosted at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is the 5th in the Bridging the Gap series. The conferences were established to ensure that discussions about research ‘bridge the gap’ between academia and the British Deaf Community. They aim to encourage collaboration and discussion between (deaf and hearing) academics and deaf people.

The 5th conference will take place on Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th November 2017 and the theme is ‘Looking forward together’. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in discussions about setting a research agenda in a fun and slightly different way. We will also work together to draft a manifesto for research with the British deaf community.

We would like to encourage as many local Scottish deaf people to come along as possible – so please promote the information about this event through your networks!

The languages of the conference will be BSL and English. Interpreters will be provided.

Please register here for the conference using Eventbrite!

The fourth Bridging the Gap conference

This took place in the University of Brighton on 14 November, 2016 and was chaired by John Walker and Dr Pamela Perniss. The summary from the University of Brighton’s website is below –

The Bridging the Gap conference addresses the role and position of minority group intellectuals in the social sciences, in particular with respect to Deaf academics and the Deaf community. The conference seeks to renew the relationship between Deaf Studies and the Deaf community, within the important context of establishing a network of Deaf scholars, encouraging Deaf individuals to work within academia, and working to challenge the stigma surrounding deafness. It also seeks to advance the communication between Deaf and hearing people by bridging the gap in access to information and communication strategies.
This year, at Bridging the Gap #4, we aim to bring Deaf people, community organisations and research communities together to ‘bridge the gap’. Already, Deaf and hearing researchers work together with the common aim of developing their research interests with the Deaf community; how this is best done is the challenge. This conference will focus specifically on the methods and methodologies we use.

The third Bridging the Gap Conference

SORD hosted the third Bridging the Gap conference on Saturday 21st November 2015 at the University of Manchester. The main theme was ‘Research with the Deaf community: No Research about Us, Without Us’, with a focus on community engagement, partnerships, collaborations and empowerment.

The event was split into two main parts with presentations in the morning from five different guest speakers and four workshops in the afternoon.

The first presentation was by Dr. Goedele De Clerck, a new member of staff at UoM and with SORD, from Belgium and she presented her work on “Utilising deaf cultural practices in research with the Ugandan deaf community” in partnership with Dr Sam Lutalo-Kiingi, who was able to Skype into the presentation which was an honour.

The second presentation was Dr Katherine Rogers, SORD’s Research Fellow presenting on “Online remote data capture with Deaf people whose preferred language is British Sign Language”.

From Heriot Watt University, the third presenter was Rob Skinner, a Research Associate, presenting about ‘JustiSign’, a project that he worked on with Dr Jemina Napier, addressing how they bridged the balance in working with the community.

The fourth presenter was Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, an Art Therapist, who presented her work in exploring and explaining methods that work well with Sign Language peoples.

The final presentation came from Avril Hepner of the British Deaf Association, discussing the recent passing of the BSL Bill in Scotland and recognition of BSL as a language by the Scottish government.

Titles of Workshops

Workshop A: How do we invite sign language communities to share their priorities for research for the Deaf community?

Workshop B: What are clever dissemination activities for the Deaf research centres?

Workshop C: Technology and Geography – What opens up new opportunities?

Workshop D: “Deaf Way” Versus “Hearing Way” – Crossover and conflicts.


58 people attended the BTG3 conference, with a range of people within the Deaf community, students from the University of Manchester, professionals that work with the Deaf community but also interpreters and academics from UCLan, Edinburgh, Dublin and Finland. In addition, eight members of the SORD research team were involved and assisted throughout the day.

Live streaming/Tweeting:

In order to reach out further to the community but also to professionals that work with Deaf people, the event was live-streamed successfully, allowing access to those who were unable to attend. Prior to the event taking place, a Twitter account was set up (@UoMSORD) where tweets were posted throughout the day summarising presenters’ topics, encouraging our attendees to tweet the event and using the hashtag of #BTG3 and #SORD. As a result, SORD had the opportunity to assess the reach of the conference and collate it as feedback.

SORD BTG Poster-FINAL 27 10 15

BTG 3 Programme for Sat FINAL (2)

The second Bridging the Gap conference

The second Bridging the Gap conference followed in the same year as the first, on 22 November 2014, in York St John University. The conference was titled Bridging the Gap 2: Community engagement in Deaf Studies research and was chaired by Dr Dai O’Brien.


Click here to see the Facebook video of 5 key points from BtG2.

Some photos from the day –










The first Bridging the Gap conference

The first Bridging the Gap conference was held in the University of Central Lancashire on 29 March 2014, and was titled Bridging the gap: Are Deaf and hearing collaborations in academia really working? Nicola Nunn chaired the conference, which included contributions from Dr Steve Emery, Dr Dai O’Brien and Dr Rachel Sutton-Spence.

Event poster

Bridging the gap UCLAN Programme

Below are the livestream videos –