Deaf News: University of Bristol’s Centre for Deaf Studies set to be closed

Posted on July 3, 2013

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The University of Bristol has announced plans to close its Centre for Deaf Studies. The plan is subject to approval by the university council later this week.

The university has issued the following statement on the proposed closure of the centre.

“The University is rightly proud of the achievements of the Centre, which began its work in 1978, and it has made a valuable contribution to research and teaching and has brought benefits to the Deaf community. The Faculty has vigorously pursued all viable routes to sustain the Centre, but has concluded – with regret – that this is not possible.

There are eight research students currently registered to Deaf Studies research programmes and a small number of students on the MSc in Deafhood Studies. The Faculty is in discussion with each of the students to consider how the University can best support them to complete the programme of study for which they are registered.”

The campaign group Save Deaf Studies has expressed its disappointment over the university’s decision to close the popular centre.

Campaigners believe that a smaller research-focused centre could stay open, if the right support is given. The Save Deaf Studies campaigners claim that alternative proposals to keep the centre open have not been considered by the university authorities.

The university has also been accused by campaigners of reneging on a deal to provide the centre with a cash subsidy to keep it open. However, the university has denied this, telling The Limping Chicken that there is no truth to the allegation.

Plans to shut the centre has been criticised by leading deaf studies experts.

“The proposed closure of the CDS is devastating for the disciplines of both Deaf Studies and Sign Language Interpreting Studies. Having studied and worked at the CDS the academic team’s ability to nurture in-depth understanding of ‘being deaf’ in a non-deaf world is unparalleled in Europe and one of the foremost places to study globally,” Dr Christopher Stone of UCL Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre, said in a statement.

In 2010, the university axed the BSc Deaf Studies programme, despite protests from students, academics and the Deaf community.

You can sign a petition to save the Centre for Deaf Studies here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-bsc-deaf-studies.html

Image: Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence

By Paul Harrison, the Limping Chicken’s News Reporter. Paul is a freelance journalist, currently living and working in London. When not at his desk writing or tweeting, he can be found at a coffee shop or Loftus Road/The Stoop/Celtic Park (delete as applicable) mumbling insults at the referee or sloppy passing. Follow him on Twitter as @paulbharrison