Meet: The Chair of the United Kingdom Deaf Students’ Union, Shauna Flannigan

Posted on January 22, 2014

United Kingdom Deaf Students Union – UKDSU for short – is hosting their first ever event within the UK! Asher Woodman-Worrell interviewed the Chair of UKDSU, Shauna Flannigan to learn more about the event.

Hello Shauna, you are the chairwoman of the UKDSU. Please tell us what the UKDSU is and how did you become the chair of the organisation?

Hello Limping Chicken! UKDSU is a voluntary organisation that represents deaf students and hearing students studying on deaf-related courses at either college or university level.

We aim to develop a strong network of deaf students which are able to share information and to support each other in the higher education. We also seek to improve the current level of support for deaf students in the education which then will allow deaf students to fully realise their potential.

UKDSU was founded in 2011, with six original committee members elected for a two years term, with Thomas McWhinney being the chair. I initially held the post of UKDSU’s treasurer. However last December, all of committee members stepped down at end of their terms due to coming to the end of their education which led to me being promoted to UKDSU’s Chair.

I am looking forward to getting my teeth into all of our new projects which we have planned for the next two years and to create many more events after our first ever event, ‘Within,Without the UK’.

The UKDSU are organising ‘Within,Without the UK’, a one-day seminar – what does the programme involve?


The programme will consist of several presentations on local,regional and international organisations associated with deaf education.

Local/regional Deaf student unions or societies all over UK will also be invited to give a presentation on their work which will allows us all to learn from each other’s successes and failures. This will also serve as a hub for networking between student unions.

We also plan to host an informal debate on the potential creation of a working relationship between all deaf societies.

We will also be hoping to hold an election for new committee members. All interested candidates will be required to give a short three-minute presentation on why they are the suitable candidate to join the UKDSU board followed by a vote.

Last but not least, there will be a pub session afterwards to relax and socialise before going home!

What are you hoping to achieve from this event and how do you feel this event ties in with the UKDSU’s vision?

Ultimately, we hope have a new board in the place by the end of the event, and we also hope to have more ideas gleaned from the feedback from attendees that can influence our future direction.

This event also will be UKDSU’s first solely run event and that will be an excellent opportunity to promote ourselves.

Deaf students unions from all over the country will be given an opportunity to give presentations about their unions. This is an excellent opportunity to network, which ties in with our vision to establish a support network of deaf students all over United Kingdom.

As previously mentioned, we hope to get feedback on our work from students so this will enable us to truly be the voice for deaf students nationwide.

What are your favourite and least favourite parts about planning this event?

My favourite part was when we were brainstorming to come up with presentations and activities for the event – as there were several good ideas being bandied around and when we created the schedule for the event, it felt as we were a step closer to the actual event itself.

My least favourite part is the preparatory work needed to prepare for events such as writing emails and researching train prices!

What aspect of the event are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to the formation of the new committee as I will find out who I will be working with and the potential new working relationship between deaf societies as this will make us stronger.

UKDSU Within, Without the UK seminar will be on Saturday 1st February from 12.00pm to 5.00pm. The address is Deafway,Brockholes Brow,Preston,Lancashire,PR2 5AL. All enquiries –contact UKDSU at

By Asher Woodman-Worrell

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