Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre


History of BSL Online

Start: Dec 02, 2013 09:00 AM

Following the successful summer exhibition of the History of British Sign Language, the material displayed has now been compiled and captured in a unique online catalogue.

The online catalogue has been funded by a 10 thousand pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Coupled with an additional four thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds funding support from the The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the catalogue traces the history of British Sign Language over the ages.

The catalogue will encompass the entire collection of archive material that was assembled and exhibited last July, showcasing rare books, pamphlets and early films that chronicle the origins and history of sign language in Britain. The catalogue will provide anyone who missed the exhibition with an opportunity to chart how sign language has developed in Britain from its earliest known beginnings and will enable the online visitor to experience virtual objects and artefacts that have had an influence on a major British language.  

The online catalogue has been put together by Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre along with the British Deaf History society and UCL’s Action on Hearing Loss Library.

Manjula Patrick, organiser of the exhibition and catalogue said:

“The summer exhibition was such a success, we felt we had to place all the display material online so that this unique collection could be viewed by the widest audience as possible.

“Each section, object and installation will be accompanied by images, text and BSL translations.

“There will also be downloadable activity sheets which will allow online visitors to take an active part in the amazing history and development of British Sign Language.

“We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and ESRC for the catalogue.”

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 35,000 projects with more than £5.6bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk

The online catalogue will be found through the DCAL website at www.ucl.ac.uk/dcal/bslhistory