The History of Deaf Education in Manchester

Interview former students from Manchester’s School for the Deaf and present your findings at the Manchester Histories Festival.

Key Information
  • Explore the history of Deaf education – including debates about manualism and oralism
  • Open to all – but particularly suitable for students with a background in history, education or linguistics
  • Knowledge of BSL is essential – although a professional interpreter will be available
  • Commitment – between 25 May and 12 June, including two days between 4 and 8 June
  • 1 place available
Detailed Information

The 2nd International Congress of Education of the Deaf (the Milan Conference) in 1880 promoted oralism in the education of deaf children, leading to the banning of sign language in the classroom. In 2010, the 21st International Congress of Education of the Deaf (Vancouver Conference), issued a formal apology, recognising that the prohibition on teaching in sign language was a violation of human and constitutional rights.  

This Third Term activity explores oralist teaching and the effects of the embargo on sign language at the Manchester School for the Deaf in the 20th century. You will interview former students of Manchester School for the Deaf to collect testimonies about their experience of oralist teaching.

This Third Term activity will involve some archival work to build up a detailed picture of Manchester School for the Deaf between 1880-1980. You will also find and interview former students of the school, using their testimonies to write a short piece and produce an output (video, poster, information booklet) for the Manchester Histories Festival at Manchester Central Library, celebrating 50 Years of Disabled People’s rights. You can decide the form of this output, working with academics who will provide mentoring and support throughout.