“NO, THIS ISN’T THE DATAANALYSIS; THIS IS JUST THECONSENT FORM….”Researching in two languages and two modalitiesKyra Pollitt, University of Bristol
A little wafer-thin (after dinner)mint… British Sign Language English NOT English NOT a powerless NOT universal language NOT an invented code IS globally recognised IS a natural language HAS a globally DOES reflect a culture dominant orthographic form IS a minority language DOES NOT have an orthographic form
Two languages, many issues….BSL English Powerless Powerful Disabled Normal Little linguistic Globally recognised recognition Large (printed) archive No recorded canon
Culture revisited: biological differenceDeaf people Hearing people Are people of the eye Are people of the ear Use the visual to navigate the world Have a writing system Scientifically proven to that reflects sound- have biologically based communication greater visual prowess Use and value the Value the visual Have a language based visual less on the visual
So how does this impact onresearching multilingually?Introducing a case study
My Doctoral research Involves a growing number of co-researchers (‘participants’) Some BSL, some English Some have access to both languages, many only to one Required to communicate, possibly collaborate
Designing a consent form That meets the requirements of the University’s ethics committee (i.e. a written, archivable version that can carry a signature) That is available in BSL That directly ties the BSL and the written versions together so that BSL users can orientate through the form (and exercise the right to opt out of certain clauses)
Shot of section of written consent formShowing image orientation
This would have been a screen shot of the DVD….…but the student computers don’t feature snipping tools, Windows Picture facilitiesor other image cropping software.
So what are the issues?Practising multimodality in the academicinstitution
The resources: the hardwareA beautifully equipped doctoral study space, where the computers are loaded with the necessary(though not always the most up-to-date) word- based software, and printing facilities and paperare freely available. Only one of these computers currently has a R/W DVD drive.
The resources: the hardwareHere is the shiny new, Mac filled edit suite that is kept under lock and key. It’s availablefor researchers and staff but the IT support team haven’t been trained in image/ videoso no support to operate it is available.
The resources: the hardware Tape-based video camera No new tapes available No studio/ filming facility Real time transfer of taped data Issues of electronic storage
The resources: the software The version of PowerPoint available through the University does not cater for embedded video, so you can’t see much of the data for this talk! University systems often block social networking and social media sites (high skin pixel count) because of old-fashioned suspicions about their use Updating video software packages is not given equal priority by University IT services = old packages (no BITC, inset etc) My University’s system clears video files from it’s memory cache every 24 hours, so video files cannot be saved overnight And…
The resources: the support Accessing IT staff becomes a necessary part of practice only because the hardware systems are not geared to independent work Accessing IT staff is time-consuming (they are understandably a very busy service) and is not instantaneous so needs to be carefully scheduled IT support staff do not routinely receive training in video/ image - based software packages DVDs must be provided by the student (unless the IT person is prepared to turn a blind eye)
And it’s not just me….. "In a field such as African American Studies or Womens Studies, for example, no one need worry that there will be a publisher and significant readership for Toni Morrisons next novel. Neither do these fields need to worry about translating such work. Nor, certainly, is there the least concern that the technology required for rendering Morrisons work in an accessible and enjoyable form might not yet even exist. The entire development of Western discursive technologies and post-civil rights consumer capitalism supports the funding, and ready and inexpensive distribution of Morrisons work, as well as any critical publications concerning it, mainstream or scholarly. Professors in these fields need only put in orders at campus bookstores and all will follow. Deaf Studies cannot rely on any of the above. It must pull itself up by the bootstraps.” Frank Bechter (in Bauman 2008)The Deaf Convert Culture and Its Lessons for Deaf Theory pp.60-79
So here’s to a digital future……when academia has caught up with social mediaand the age of the image……and multimodality can take its place alongsidemultilingualism
References /useful sources Padden, Carol and Tom Humphries (1988) Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture (Cambridge, Mass. and London, England: Harvard University Press):21 Retina Holds the Key to Better Vision in Deaf People http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/1106011716 Frank Bechter The Deaf Convert Culture and Its Lessons for Deaf Theory in Bauman, H-Dirksen L. ,ed., (2008) Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking (Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press) pp.60-79 TREAT YOURSELF to some BSL poetry at http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/research/sites/micsl/about/
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