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Dr Robert Adam
49 Gordon Square
Dr Robert Adam profile picture
  • Honorary Lecturer
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

A Deaf native signer, I have been involved with sign language teaching and research for a many years. Before joining DCAL I was Teacher Coordinator at City Lit in London. Also, I taught at the National Institute for Deaf Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia for a number of years before joining the Australian Sign Language Lexicography Project at Renwick College, The University of Newcastle in Sydney as Research Associate.

In 2010 I won the Provost's Award for Public Engagement in the Researcher category and with colleagues, organised a DCAL Deaf Open Day in 2010 and a DCAL Deaf Roadshow in 2011 (with the support of UCL Beacons for Public Engagement and the BSL Corpus Project) which visited Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle, where Deaf people were able to attend public engagement sessions and find out about the research being done at DCAL, and have the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and make suggestions on future research projects. In 2017 I was nominated for a Students Choice Teaching Award from the UCL Students Union.

Outside of DCAL I am Vice Chair of Governors at Frank Barnes School. I am also Co-ordinator of the World Federation of the Deaf Expert Group on Sign Language and Deaf Studies and a Trustee of the British Deaf Association.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary
I am Director of Continuing Professional Development at DCAL, and coordinate both short courses (both online and face to face) and academic modules (British Sign Language, Deafhood and translation courses) that are available through DCAL. Prior to that I worked as a Research Associate at DCAL and undertook research into sign language in the everyday lives of Deaf people. Examples of my research include: Deaf people who are bilingual in two sign languages, Deaf people who work as interpreters or translators in Deaf Community and other sociolinguistic research into sign languages. I have also worked on the British Sign Language Lexical Database.

My doctoral research examined unimodal bilingualism (between dialects of British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language in Australia, Ireland and Northern Ireland) where language contact exists between different sign languages. I received funding from the Endangered Languages Documentation Project at SOAS to document Australian Irish Sign Language (AISL) in 2016, and from the John Wallis Foundation to develop a web resource for AISL signers and their families.
Teaching Summary
I coordinate and teach a MSc in Language Sciences module: PALSG309: Deafhood, give some lectures for PLIN7309/PLING151: The Linguistics of Sign Languages, and I also contribute to the teaching of PALSG201: Deafness: Cognition and Language.

I teach two modules as part of the MA in Translation Theory and Practice: TRTPG002: Interaction and Language Management of Interpreting, and TRTPG003: The Historical and Social Context of Interpreting.

I also coordinate British Sign Language modules: LCBSL6001: British Sign Language - Introduction, PALSG205: Introductory British Sign Language and the Student Selected Component in British Sign Language for the UCL Medical School.
Academic Background
2005   Master of Arts Monash University
1997   Bachelor of Arts La Trobe University
1992   Bachelor of Education La Trobe University
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