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Prestigious honour for pioneering BBC See Hear Editor


Terry Riley is being recognised for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting for Deaf and hard of hearing viewers and for promoting British Sign Language (BSL), through the medium of television, to a wider audience.

He will receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts from the School of Law, Social Sciences and Communications at a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, 7 September 2010.

Terry, who is now the Chief Executive of the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT), said: “It’s a humbling honour to get such recognition for doing something I feel passionate about and love. And nothing illustrates this better than the Nelson Mandela quote, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart’. At the heart of the Deaf Community is its language.”

Terry was nominated for the award by Senior Lecturers, Joan Fleming and John Hay MBE, on behalf of their Deaf Studies and BSL/English Interpreting team.

John said: “Terry has been instrumental in promoting British Sign Language (BSL) to a wider audience through the medium of TV. His association with the University of Wolverhampton has been intertwined with his unstinting support of the popular Deaf TV and Film Festivals and more recently Deaffest, both annual events of national importance held at the Light House Media Centre in Wolverhampton.

“His outstanding contribution to broadcasting and deaf people’s access to TV is in line with the University’s commitment to widening participation for students.”

Terry has been an advocate for British Sign Language for over 40 years. Born into a Deaf family, both his parents were Deaf and sign language users. He has a wealth of experience in Deaf Television, having started in 1987 as a researcher on the BBC’s See Hear, a community programme for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers, and working his way up to become Editor in 2002. He was instrumental in setting up the European Deaf TV and Video network, which now broadcasts in 20 countries including the USA, Japan, Greece and Australia.

He has been active in the British Deaf Association (BDA) for many years and received its highest honour, the BDA Medal of Honour, for his work in promoting and empowering Deaf people. He was elected as the Chair of the British Deaf Association for 2009-2011.

Following his retirement from his role at See Hear two years ago, Terry was appointed Chief Executive of the newly established British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT).

Other notable successes include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Remark! TV Awards in 2003 and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) Award for outstanding services to television in 1997.

The honorary degree will be presented to Terry at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.


Picture: Terry Riley

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