The Department of Languages & Intercultural Studies (LINCS) is uniquely positioned in Scotland and the UK with its long history in leading on sign language related teaching and research. With early work led by Christine Wilson and Rita McDade, the SIGNS@HWU research team has expanded exponentially since 2005, securing major research grants and winning awards for research quality and impact, including the Guardian University 2017 Award for Social & Community Impact.

The SIGNS@HWU team focus sign languaging practices, including sign language usage, sign language interpreting and translation, sign language multilingualism, sign language policy and sign language teaching and interpreting pedagogy, as the subjects of basic and applied study in the social sciences and humanities.Bringing together research expertise across the aligned disciplines of Deaf Studies, Sign Linguistics, Interpreting & Translation Studies, Applied Linguistics and Anthropology, our researchers engage in interdisciplinary work to examine sign languaging practices in Scottish and global contexts.


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CarnegieExploring sign language policy in mixed deaf-hearing families (2018-2019) 

PI: Dr Annelies Kusters; Co-Is:Dr Maartje de Meulder & Prof Jemina Napier

Funded by The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland: Research Incentive Grant


Creative MultilingualismHow does the sitcom 'Small World' reflect linguistic diversity in the British Deaf Community? (2018-2019)

PI: Dr Jordan Fenlon Co-I Dr Annelies Kusters


Funded by Creative Multilingualism (University of Oxford - funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council)


BASign language interpreting in Uganda (2018-2019)

PI: Prof Graham Turner


Funded by the British Academy


AHRCTDSTranslating the Deaf Self: Engagement & Exploration through artistic transformations (2018)

 PI: Prof Alys Young (University of Manchester), Co-I: Prof Jemina Napier


Funded by AHRC


ERCMobileDeafDeaf mobilities across international borders: Visualising intersectionality and
 translanguaging (Mobile Deaf) 
(2017 - 2022)

PI: Dr Annelies Kusters


Funded by European Research Council Starting Grant


ERASMUSdesign logoDesigns: Access to employment through interpreting for deaf sign language users (2016 - 2019)

PI: Prof Jemina Napier


Funded by Erasmus+


SGSAHVideo remote BSL interpreting and proximity in police settings (2016 - 2020) 

PI: Prof Jemina Napier; Co-I Prof Nick Fyfe (University of Dundee); PhD student; Robert Skinner

Funded by Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Applied Collaborative Research Grant


Scottish Government Equality UnitPEAS Project: BSL interpreting internships with Police Scotland and NHS Scotland (2018 - 2019)

PI: Prof Graham Turner

Funded by Scottish Government Equality Unit


SQABSL learning in the 1+2 languages programme in Scottish schools (2018 - 2019)

PI: Prof Graham Turner


Funded by Scottish Qualitifications Authority


Academic partners

Gallaudet University, USA

Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Macquarie University, Australia

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

University of New South Wales, Australia


 Non-academic partners 

Non-academic partners

British Deaf Association

Deaf Action, Edinburgh

World Federation of the Deaf

World Association of Sign Language Interpreters

European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters 

Association of Sign Language Interpreters UK


 Further links to interpreter course/programmes/events involving the SIGNS@HWU team

MA (Hons) BSL/ English Interpreting

European Masters in Sign Language Interpreting

Heriot-Watt University PhD information page