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Podcast launch celebrates 30 years of Sign Language Interpreter education

A collage graphic depicting the launch of podcasts in celebration of 30 years of deaf studies

The University of Wolverhampton has diversity at its heart and has spent the past month facilitating events, promoting research and hosting celebrations for the deaf community. 

A high-profile conference covering the 30 years’ history of Deaf studies was held recently at the University’s School of Social Sciences & Humanities involving an array of speakers; the University was also a key partner for Deaffest this year and hosted the UK’s leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival across its City Campus in Wolverhampton. 

University research also helped develop the first official guide for British Sign Language and the menopause which was launched by Holland and Barrett earlier this month. 

Now, a series of three podcasts has just been released by Tim Curry documenting the history of the British Sign Language/English Interpreting degree program at the University which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. 

Tim is a working IS/ASL/ČZJ/English sign language interpreter from the USA living in the Czech Republic. He is the host and creator of the podcast series called ‘Interpreter's Workshop with Tim Curry’. 

The recent special edition podcasts feature Professor Megan Lawton, Rebecca Fenton Ree, a graduate of the degree course, and Sarah Bown, Senior Lecturer in BSL/English Interpreting in the University’s Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences. 

Tim said: "My podcast mainly focuses on supporting signed language interpreters throughout the world who have little to no access to formal education in their region. Learning from interpreters, researchers, and educators, each interpreter feels more connected and empowered in our profession. Knowing the history of our profession is vital. The program at the University of Wolverhampton is a shining example of educating quality interpreters to serve our communities better." 
Sarah Bown said: "Winston Churchill said that ‘the longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward’ and increasingly over recent years, the profession of sign language interpreting is charting and documenting its history. This is important for to know where we wish to go, we also need to know where we’ve come from, and our history is one of our frames of reference for our future plans.  

“In the early 90s, a key aim of the course was ‘to broaden opportunities for Deaf people, facilitate Deaf people’s access to higher education and to raise Deaf awareness within all areas of society and work’. During the intervening years, both the Deaf Studies and Interpreting programmes have successfully made an outstanding contribution towards this aim which can be evidenced via the work of our alumni, staff, research projects, national and international collaborations, to name but a few.  

“When Tim Curry reached out to suggest an opportunity to capture some of that early history as part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations of British Sign Language interpreter education and training at the University of Wolverhampton, his special edition of 3 podcasts were the perfect medium to encapsulate this historical journey by some of the people who were there from the start or very early days, and a fitting contribution to an important year of celebration.” 

The podcasts focus on conversations with the following University staff: 

Megan Lawton, Professor of Learning and Teaching in Academic Practice at the University, became a National Teaching Fellow (NTF) and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) in 2017. In 1991 Megan Founded the Visual Language Centre (VLC) at the University, recognising British Sign Language as a language in its own right. The VLC supported Deaf students on degree courses and created the first BA (Hons) British Sign Language/English in Europe. 

Sarah Bown is a Senior Lecturer on the MA & BA (Hons) British Sign Language/English Interpreting programmes, at the University of Wolverhampton. She is a Registered Sign Language Interpreter, Senior Fellow & Academic Associate of the Higher Education Academy. For over three decades, she has worked extensively with external professional accreditation bodies, course design & standards setting. From 1999 across two decades, she led the interpreting programme as course leader. 

Rebecca Fenton-Ree was a Senior Lecturer at the University from 2000-2011. Becky has been involved in the Deaf community since 1990 and is a qualified and registered Sign Language Interpreter having studied a Master’s degree course in Interpreting. She currently works part time as a community interpreter in Lincolnshire, UK and from 2019 onwards as a ‘Teacher of the Deaf’ in English, PSHE and Communication at Oak lodge School in London. 

Podcast 1 

Podcast 2 

Podcast 3 

Find Tim Curry on YouTube.  

Anyone interested in studying at the University should check out the course pages or attend one of our forthcoming Open Days.   


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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