About Deaf Education at Build

Watch Your Language 2018 - conference participants

Download a PDF with biographies of this year's conference participants.


Peter Brown

I have been a BSL teacher and Deaf history lecturer at Build for many years. I have a passion for the history of Deaf education and the history of sign language and sign systems in Britain. Recently, I have become increasingly concerned about the respect given to our traditional BSL signs amongst the newer generations of the British Deaf community.  For example, the sign for ‘okay’ by holding up the thumb is something that has begun to phase out, being replaced by the well-known one-handed alphabet, fingerspelling  ‘O K’. The former handshape was one that helped Thomas Braidwood’s pupils begin to expand their ‘positive’ sign vocabulary like ‘best’ from around 1760, which later flourished when Braidwood’s former assistant teacher, Joseph Watson opened his school in 1792. In order to prevent this heritage fading further, I will give a lecture on the history of BSL  in the hope that it will to keep BSL alive and value the hard work of those pupils 258 years ago!


Clive Mason

Clive has been a prominent figure in the field of sign language, interpreter training, translation and the media for over twenty years.  Clive rose to prominence as the longest standing presenter and reporter on the BBC’s flagship Deaf magazine programme ‘See Hear’.  His work as a Sign Language Media Consultant, Higher Education lecturer, NVQ teacher, BBC In-vision interpreter. Trainer and assessor has given him a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Clive was instrumental in the delivery of the first ever Diploma in BSL Translation and is amongst the first cohort of deaf professionals to become registered as a Sign Language Translator in the UK.


Gordon Hay

Gordon is the BSL Policy Officer at the Scottish Government, and his role is to support Scottish Ministers to fulfil their legal requirements under the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, the first legislation anywhere in the United Kingdom (UK) to protect sign language.  Prior to his current employment, Gordon was a Senior Manager at a regional organisation providing services to D/deaf and hard of hearing people for 9 years, acquiring knowledge of issues and barriers that BSL users faced in all areas.  Gordon is profoundly Deaf since birth, 3rd generation of deafness in his family, as well using BSL as his first language.


Roger Beeson

Roger worked as a professional freelance interpreter for over 20 years, following 20 years as a teacher of deaf children. Roger is the recipient of the ASLI Ben Steiner Award and is the cwner of the London-BSL-interpretersinfo website and co-owner of the popular E-Newsli email forum for those with an interest in BSL interpreting.


Frances Lewin

Frances is a PhD student at UCL Institute of Education working under the supervision of Professor Chloe Marshall and Dr Robert Adam. Working title: ‘Interpreting and note taking in higher education: Non-Medical Helper support for deaf students'. Frances qualified as an interpreter in 2001, has taught linguistics at university level and recently qualified as an interpreter assessor. 


Brett Best

Brett is a fully qualified American Sign Language (ASL)/British Sign Language (BSL)/English interpreter, international interpreter trainer and researcher. She regularly works in multi-national contexts and specializes in conference interpreting, politics and higher education with considerable experience and continued practice in community interpreting and video remote interpreting. Brett holds a BA degree in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and an MSc in European Masters in Sign Language Interpreting (EUMASLI) from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. 


James Fitzgerald

James qualified as an interpreter in 2007, after working for several years in the field of deaf education at Build as a CSW, language support tutor and business training coordinator.  James now manages the ‘Deaf Access and Interpreting’ department at Build which provides access and support services to deaf people in education and employment where he also interprets for staff and external clients.  He established the Watch Your Language conference in 2009 which has run on alternate years since then.  James sits on the planning group for CHESS (Consortium of Higher Education Support Services for deaf students) and the Deaf Education Support Forum (DESF), is an interpreting assessor,  co-owner of the E-Newsli email forum and joint co-ordinator of the Centre for Deaf Education at Build.

Watch Your Language 2018



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