Experts develop new resources for Deaf people in the media industry

The two-year project, titled Sign Media, will enhance the career prospects of Deaf people working in the media in Europe by providing interactive exercises in written English taught through the sign language of their country.

Funding of £310,000 (€367,853) has come from the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Union and will be led by the University’s Institute for Media Arts with experts from the School of Law, Social Science and Communications Deaf Studies Department and the School of Art and Design. The full project value will be nearly half a million Euros.

Wolverhampton’s partners in the Sign Media programme are Klagenfurt University, Austria, University of Turin, Italy and Mutt & Jeff Pictures Ltd, UK, and a launch event for all the partners will be held in Wolverhampton on Monday, 21 February 2011.

Director of the Institute for Media Arts, Samantha Hope, said: “Sign language in each country is different, and is also distinct from written English. Research has found that Europeans wish to learn written English for work and travel, but some methods of doing this have not proved successful.

“The new interactive learning tool on the web will provide exercises in written English, taught through the sign language of each partner country. This will mean there will be three versions of the course, related to British Sign Language (BSL), Italian Sign Language (ISL) and Austrian Sign Language (ASL).

“We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, and look forward to working with our European and UK partners on the Sign Media project. The finished product will enhance the inclusion of Deaf media specialists in the European media industry and help improve their career prospects across Europe.”

Research by University of Wolverhampton academics Joan Fleming and John Hay in 2005 showed that around 70% of Deaf graduates are working in arts and media-related industries.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

ENDS

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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