Roland Pfau and Annemieke van Kampen, who participated as representatives of the Netherlands in ‘SIGN-HUB’, a European Horizon 2020 project, are the guest speakers at this *online* ACLC seminar on Friday 9 October 2020 from 16:15 till 17:30.
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More than a Treasure: Life Stories of Elderly Deaf Signers
This ACLC lecture combines a short presentation with the screening (the Dutch premiere!) of the documentary movie We were there … we are here, one of the outputs of the European Horizon2020 project ‘SIGN-HUB: Preserving, researching and fostering the linguistic, historical and cultural heritage of European Deaf signing communities with an integral resource’ (www.sign-hub.eu). Seven countries participated in this 4-year project, which had the following goals: (i) writing of sign language grammars, (ii) creation of an atlas of sign language structures, (iii) development of sign language assessment tools, and (iv) creation of a digital archive of life narratives by elderly signers.
In the presentation, we will first briefly introduce the four project goals before zooming in on component (iv). Since sign language are non-written languages, collecting life stories of elderly Deaf people is an important contribution to the preservation of the cultural (and linguistic) heritage of European Deaf communities. To this end, a total of 137 interviews with elderly Deaf signers (66–97 years of age) were conducted in five countries (Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey), based on a pre-defined questionnaire. Questions addressed topics such as family, school, social life, work, and war experiences. Based on fragments from these interviews, as well as archival footage from France and Israel, the documentary movie was created.
The presentation part will be interpreted into NGT/English; the movie is subtitled in English and International Sign.