Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity celebrates 18 years

Posted on: 05 December 2019

Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) celebrated its 18th year at Trinity by hosting a seminar in November. The incoming Chancellor and former President, Prof Mary McAleese officially opened the Centre on the 12th of November 2001.

Opening the seminar, Dr Lorna Carson, Head of the School, Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences, sent a video message congratulating the CDS and ended the message to convey the greetings in Irish Sign Language (ISL). Lianne Quigley, the Irish Deaf Society chairperson, explained the reasons why CDS was much needed and had outlined the timeline of how the campaign/lobbying was conducted for the Centre.

Teresa Lynch, an assistant professor in this Centre, recalled her role in the embryonical part of developing the vision of the Centre, and she had vivid memories of how she received the news that the Minister for Education confirmed the funding to set up the Centre.

Dr Patrick McDonnell, the former member of the Centre’s staff, was the next one, and he shared his fond reminiscences of how the proposal for the Centre was planned, often under challenging circumstances. He also recalled the partnership project between Trinity and University of Bristol to develop and deliver a course for the ISL/English interpreters and tutors. This course laid a foundation of this Centre which incorporated many elements into the curriculum. Professor David Little, a former same School head, added more colours to the reminiscences as he relied on his memory to fill in the gaps. He pointed out that the fact is that Centre has an honor degree programme to show how much progress had made since 1980s and the College recognises ISL as a bona fide language. Prof Little also noted the international reputation of the Centre which he regarded as a great achievement.

Centre for Deaf Studies faculty celebrate 18 years

Patrick Matthews, an assistant professor, recalled his earliest days in the Centre and alongside with Professor Lorraine Leeson and he fondly remembered that they were given a task to establish the course with meagre resources available to them! Professor Lorraine Leeson, the Associate Dean of Research, unable to attend the seminar due to a prior appointment abroad, sent in a lively video message from Belgium which included a series of photographs.

There was a panel discussion with representatives from various deaf organisations and Dr John Bosco Conama, the director of the Centre, moderated the discussion. The debate had been a stimulating one, and many topics were covered. The central themes were on how the audience assessed the Centre’s past performances and how the Centre can develop from there in an ever-changing environment. The seminar ended in a spectacle, and Helena Saunders, who had a prominent role in the earlier days of lobbying for the Centre, had an honour of blowing the candles on the birthday cake!