Rodney Adams, Sue Frank, Dr John Gilroy


Rodney Adams– Keynote speaker
Sue Frank – Keynote speaker
Dr John Gilroy – Keynote Speaker

Rodney Adams has been an adjunct lecturer in Auslan/Deaf Studies at the University of Newcastle since 2008. He also works as a teacher of the deaf and is the co-ordinator for the “Advocate, Access and Aspire” Deaf Leadership Conference also held at the University of Newcastle. With Aboriginality in his own family Rodney has been on a journey to explore and work with deaf Aboriginal people to achieve greater self-sufficiency.

Sue Frank is a Torres Strait Islander Woman; and is from the Mabuyagiwagal (Mabuiag Island)/Badulgal (Badu Island) heritage families of Kala Lagaw Ya (Western Islands) and Pama-Nyungan language family. She currently works as a Project Officer for the Indigenous Communication Program (Indigenous Advancement Strategy) in the Cairns and Lockhart River regions with Deaf Services Queensland and set up the ATSIDG (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Group) in 1998 in Cairns, Far North Queensland.

Dr John Gilroy is a Koori from the Yuin Nation and works as an Indigenous health sociologist at the University of Sydney. From a young age his mother and speech therapist taught him an artificial sign system. He has focused his interests on Aboriginal disability rights advocacy, using research and scholarship as his medium.

Colonisation and deaf Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The impacts of colonisation on the health, social, economic and cultural experiences of the Indigenous peoples of Australia are well documented, however scant information is available on its impact on deaf/hard of hearing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Read the abstract for this Presentation

Sibaji Panda


Sibaji Panda was born and brought up in India. He has recently moved back to India after serving 10 years as Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the International Institute for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom. He works on sign language research and development, training and teaching, affordable university education programs, leadership in the deaf community, and grassroots empowerment. He is currently pursuing a PhD from Dr. Shakuntala Mishra National University, Lucknow. India.

Colonisation, decolonisation and recolonization of Deaf people in India

This presentation aims to complexify the issue of colonial attitudes, motivations, and structures as applied to deaf Indians, who constitute one of the largest deaf populations in the world. Recognising that historical information is scarce and difficult to find, I nevertheless attempt to put current developments in the Indian Deaf Communities in the context of previous developments.

Read the abstract for Sibaji’s Presentation (video in International Sign)

Drs John S. and Betty J. Schuchman Award presenter

This award was created by Drs. John Stan and Betty Jane Schuchman to recognize and support excellence in the field of Deaf community history. Deaf History International was honoured to be the first recipient of this prestigious award in 2014. They have used the award to support the attendance of an emerging deaf scholar at this DHI conference.

Dr Sam Lutalo-Kiingi, Uganda

Dr. Sam Lutalo-Kiingi is a lecturer at Kyambogo University in Uganda, and the first Deaf African to hold a PhD in linguistics (2014, iSLanDS, University of Central Lancashire, ‘A Descriptive Grammar of Morpho-Syntactic Constructions in Ugandan Sign Language’). Fluent in multiple sign languages, he has extensive experience in sign language research and teaching, as well as in the coordination of international projects in Eastern and Western Africa. His published work employs a post-colonial and critical stance on the development of African deaf communities, advocating for linguistic rights, the use of indigenous (signed) languages in Sub-Saharan deaf education, and the nurturing of deaf African researchers.

The Ugandan deaf community and its history of sign language development: Challenges in the on-going colonialism of African deaf communities

This presentation looks into the multilingual and intercultural character of deaf African lives, and considers how on-going colonialism has a linguistic dimension that has often been obscured in development practices and frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (also see Wolff, 2013).

Read the abstract for Sam’s Presentation (video in International Sign)