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Supporting Deaf People 2004

Themes: Ethics and Professionalism; Language

Date: February 2004

This was the second in the series of SDP online conferences. It was self-funding, and was attended by 225 people from 19 countries (AR, AUS, CAN, DK, FI, DE, GH, IE, IT, JM, NG, NL, NO, NZ, PK, ZA, SE, UK, US).

The conference had a number of improvements from the first conference, with an better conference environment and discussion format. As in the previous conference, the themes ran consecutively, but in this conference, each presentation had its own dedicated discussion. There were also social areas, with live chat, general discussion area, so delegates could initiate other discussion topics; resource sharing area; and a help/tips area.

The conference was very busy with 962 postings in the theme discussions and a further 112 postings in the general discussion area. Each day summaries of the postings were provided, so delegates could keep up with the discussions more easily.

Delegates had a week in advance of the conference to read the papers and familiarise themselves with the conference environment. Similarly, after the conference, delegates had one month to read and reflect on postings.

Registry of the Interpreters for the Deaf continuing education units were offered through Signs of Development.

Feedback included:

"I gained so much valuable insight from the presenters and the subsequent dialogues/postings, but I also learned that I really CAN use the computer as a functional 'tool' (in the past, I only ventured to use it for e-mail and a few other things). Your step-by-step instructions actually made it 'simple' and very easy to follow. I thank you for that. I must admit that I was a little apprehensive at first, but I would definitely take part in another on-line conference. I think that an on-line conference is a lot more work because there is so much more 'dialogue' to go through and decipher but that makes it so much more rewarding, and the fact that you can actually save the info. to review later. I was literally exhausted by the 4th day but it was an awesome experience!"

"The preconference plan was superb, to be able to read the papers and take notes a week before the conference. Good thing someone emailed me and warned me that the papers were ready to be read. Just many thanks for this great opportunity to share with great minds. I felt my own philosphy was solidified, congealed, affirmed, and shared! Cannot do that much in a hotel conference!"

"Having recently come back from a conference in the US which cost hundreds of pounds to attend (including flights, accommodation, etc) and involved two days' enforced under-activity while travelling, I would have to say that on-line conferencing like this just has to be a major part of the future. It is so many times more convenient, with the added bonus that you can (a) participate in several discussions simultaneously and (b) every part is 'frozen' for us all to re-live during the discussions as and when we need to. How many times would I have appreciated such a "run what you said three days ago by me again" facility at a face to face event!"

"I find this the most accessible format for updating my professional perspectives and theoretical knowledge. Yes, you have to keep on top of everything daily, but with a young child its perfect for me as I do not have to geographically go anywhere but mentally get to go a fair few miles! I found the summaries useful as I tended to have to skim read some of the postings and the summaries helped me consolidate and it does sift out some of the more social postings. Having 4 topics then another 4 is a manageable way of approaching the topics and we will all have our pet topics which we involve ourselves in more. Its great to be able to see approaches from all over the world of course. I do not enjoy computers but found it no problem to use the system so it must be simple!"

Many of the papers are either available for fee download, or can be purchased through the conference proceedings. See links below.

Keynote Presentations:

Language Myths of an Interpreted Education by Betsy Winston, Northeastern University, USA

Challenging institutionalised 'audism' by Graham H. Turner, UCLAN, UK

Employment and D/deaf people - are we moving in the right direction? by Tyron Woolfe, UK

Seminar Presentations:

Language politics v. interpreter ethics by Onno Crasborn & Maya de Wit, NL

Teaching ethical decision making for interpreters by Kellie L. Stewart & Anna Witter-Merithew, USA

Teaching English to Deaf people - the Deaf way! by David Jackson, University of Bristol, UK

Deaf students in foreign language classes - the support worker's perspective by Micky Vale, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Reflections on the challenges of interpreting semantics and pragmatics by Lorraine Leeson and Susan Foley-Cave, University of Dublin, IE