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.
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.