Deaf News: On the 10 year anniversary of BSL recognition, discussion on future of BSL planned by BDA and DCAL

Posted on March 18, 2013

On the 10 year anniversary of British Sign Language (BSL) recognition, David Buxton, Chief Executive of the BDA (British Deaf Association), has announced that there will be a live webcast seminar about the way forward for BSL recognition tomorrow (Tuesday 19th March) at 6.30pm on the BDA’s website here:

There is clear support for increased rights for BSL users, with the Facebook BSL Act group amassing nearly 11,000 members in just a few weeks. They have posted over 400 videos explaining the problems faced by BSL users. The aim of the group is to get an Act of Parliament passed to enshrine in law the rights of access of people who use BSL (British Sign Language).

Much has been made so far of the enthusiasm of the Facebook group but a key question for those speaking at tomorrow’s seminar will be how that support for a BSL Act can be translated into real change. The seminar is being run in conjunction with DCAL (Deafness Cognition and Language Centre) based at University College London.

According to the BDA website, the speakers will include:

  • Robert Adam: Deaf researcher from DCAL and Deaf campaigner
  • David Buxton: Chief executive of the British Deaf Association. He has a long history of campaigning and political involvement.
  • Dr Paddy Ladd: Deaf researcher from the Centre of Deaf Studies, University of Bristol, who first proposed the Deafhood framework for analyzing Deaf culture. He will be discussing cultural rights with respect to the Deaf Community.
  • Dr Terry Riley: Chair of the BDA, former editor of BBC “See Hear”, Board Member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD).
  • Maartje De Meulder: Deaf researcher from the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, researching sign language recognition legislation and also involved in the campaign for the successful recognition of Flemish Sign Language. She will discuss the proposal for a Scottish BSL Act.

David Buxton Facebook BSL Act Group

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the recognition of BSL as an official language in the UK and a Parliamentary reception to mark the occasion is being hosted by Sir Malcolm Bruce MP – who is himself a parent of a deaf daughter and is Chair of the All Party Group on Deafness in Parliament.


Sir Malcolm Bruce MP has put down an “Early Day Motion” (a kind of parliamentary petition) that calls for the government to do more to support BSL users. Find out how to ask your MP to sign it here:

See the BDA webcast by clicking here from 6:30pm on Tuesday 19th March.

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