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Centre for Deaf Studies

Director: Professor Lorraine Leeson

Centre for Deaf Studies

Hello, my name is Lorraine Leeson and this is my sign name. I’m the director of the Centre for Deaf Studies, CDS. The CDS is based here in Trinity College Dublin. Trinity is one of the top 50 universities in the world and is the only college in Ireland to offer a bachelor degree in Deaf Studies. The course is accredited by Trinity College Dublin and is linked to the National Framework of Qualifications, which covers level one to level ten qualifications. The Deaf studies course is 4 years in length and is a level 8 qualification, which is equivalent to an honours degree. Students who receive an honours degree can progress to a masters, level 9 or a PHD, level 10 programme. Students have the option of studying in different areas such as education, linguistics, psychology, cultural studies, all of which are linked to the area of Deaf Studies.

The aims of the CDS are as follows:

  • To increase the number of qualified Irish Sign Language/ English interpreters. Before the Centre for Deaf Studies was established, there were very few qualified interpreters in Ireland. This course provides professional training for interpreters ensuring that Deaf people are actively involved in society.
  • To set the highest standard of ISL teaching.
  • To provide training in the area of Deaf Studies.

The CDS is not just a teaching centre, it has also been involved in research. For example we did research for the NCSE, National Council for Special Education, relating to Deaf education in Ireland. We also worked with the Paul Partnership to look at the interpreting services available to members of the Deaf community in the mid-west region. More importantly, the Government funding is provided to the Higher Education Authority for research. We received grants from SIF, Strategic Innovation Fund, to develop digital material for teaching ISL and Deaf Studies. We also received the Leonardo Da Vinci Fund which is EU funded. This supported our research in areas such as e-learning and online teaching for sign language, and CD signing projects with Bristol University. In addition to this, it helped establish the Signall II and III projects with Interesource Group Limited, the Irish Deaf Society, the Finish Association for the Deaf and other universities such Sussex University in the UK with our partners in Czech Republic and Poland.

The CDS has carried out its own research that includes the Signs of Ireland Corpus, which is a collection of visual data of various Deaf signers from around Ireland. This is a valuable resource for students because it gives them the opportunity to observe the many sign variations that exists between male and female signers of different ages.

The CDS is not here to replace what the IDS, DeafHear or other such organisations, rather, it is here to support them. The aim of the CDS is to encourage the use of ISL, to make sure that more people are aware of Deaf culture but also to promote research and education in the area of Deaf studies.

The CDS was established back in 2001, prior to this there was no fixed setting for studies in this field. The IDS along with other organisations lobbied for the establishment of the CDS, and after 10 years of campaigning it was finally set up.  Now the CDS has more than seventy students who have received the diploma from TCD, approximately one third of whom are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Past students who have finished the Deaf Studies course are currently employed as interpreters, in schools for the Deaf, teaching ISL or as lecturers in the CDS.

We look forward to meeting you soon, thank you for visiting our website!

News & Events

Centre for Deaf Studies Evening Classes

Click here for further information on the Evening Classes offered by the Centre for Deaf Studies


Last updated 22 December 2014 by slscs@tcd.ie.