By Audrey Cameron
Click here to see this blogpost in British Sign Language.
After our initial blogpost about the new DESIGNS: Deaf people in employment project in January 2017, which gave an overview of the project and talked about the kick-off event in Dublin, we have since held a community information event at Heriot-Watt University in June 2017, where we had various presentations from different members of the Designs project team. The event was attended by approximately 35 deaf BSL users, interpreters, and various advisory group representatives. The event was livestreamed through the Designs Facebook page, and the video is still available to watch.
We are now very excited to able to welcome Dr Audrey Cameron to the DESIGNS team. Audrey is a Deaf BSL user and has been appointed as the postdoctoral research associate for the project (two days per week). She brings a wealth of experience of research and working with the British Deaf Community. Audrey’s now into her fourth week and, having gone through the usual induction processes here at the University, she’s ready, along with the rest of the project team, to start identifying and contacting people to ask them to share their thoughts with us about the access issues for deaf sign language users around employment here in the UK.
A key part of this project involves interviewing people about the challenges facing deaf sign language users who are either employees, self-employed, managing their own business or looking for employment. We’ve prepared letters of introduction, explaining a little about the project and why we’d like to meet with people and these are now ready to go out. A series of questions have been devised that are designed to help steer our conversations with participants and we’ve prepared the necessary consent forms. In the meantime, a couple of interviews have already been undertaken.
We’re also on the look out for volunteers to participate in focus groups to help us explore and develop resources that will help break down the barriers facing deaf sign language users that have been identified by the people we’ve been interviewing.
To complete the picture, we will be meeting with BSL/English Interpreters to find out from them what they see as the access issues for the deaf sign language users they work with in employment related settings.
One other thing we will be doing is collecting case studies of positive examples of where deaf people are successful in their workplace and how they work with interpreters. Here’s a good example from a recent article in the Deaf community online blog, the Limping Chicken, about Toby Burton, who is the Chief Financial Officer of Global Circulation at The Economist.
If you are interested in participating in our project or have any questions please let us know. Or if you think you have a positive case study to share with us, do get in touch.
Audrey Cameron can be contacted by email: Audrey.firstname.lastname@example.org