Centre for Deaf Studies

University of Bristol's Centre for Deaf Studies opened in 1978 and was Europe's first academic institution to concentrate solely on research and education that aims to benefit the Deaf community. The majority of staff on the programme are Deaf and all tutors sign. Students at the Centre for Deaf Studies in Bristol will study within a bilingual environment, with an emphasis on acquiring fluency in British Sign Language (BSL).

The first research work began at CDS in 1978 with a study of how people learn and use BSL and was then broadened by further work in the Deaf community.

The Centre aims to develop the discipline of Deaf Studies in ways that will benefit deaf people in their involvement in, and contribution to, society. Enhance the understanding of hearing people in all matters to do with Deafness and sign language. Establish and extend Deaf Studies as a valid and dynamic University-based multi-disciplinary field.

The Centre started from a research base; this work informs its present practice and future plans. Deaf Studies is the study of the language, community and culture of deaf people.

The Centre's work derives from the adjustment to deafness and to hearing loss; not the prevention or "cure" of hearing difficulties. The Centre works with deaf people to understand deafness, language and behaviour. The outcome of the work of the Centre is the greater understanding of Deaf Studies, an extension of knowledge in comparative areas of spoken language, hearing communities and their functioning, and should lead to greater access and service provision for deaf people. In research, the Centre will influence theory and practice in mainstream fields in Social Science and Language that deal with questions of human interaction, language and cognition.