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Wednesday 21st of April BBC2, 1.30pm

SH Line Producer | 17:01 UK time, Tuesday, 20 April 2010

On today's programme we take a special look at the British Deaf Association, which this year celebrates its 120th birthday!

Memnos catches up with speakers and guests at the prestigious 4-day Congress in Bournemouth and See Hear joins in the celebrations.

The theme of this year's congress is the 'Deaf time-machine', which celebrates the achievements of the BDA to date and also looks ahead to what the future might hold for the BDA


We meet Peter Jackson of the British Deaf History Society (BDHS) to find out what he personally considers to be the BDA's most significant achievements over the last 120 years:

We hear about how the BDA was campaigning for the right of deaf people to get car insurance back in 1931 to how sign language was finally recognized in 2003.


If you want to find out more about British Deaf history, please follow this link www.bdhs.org.uk


There's also another chance to see rare and extraordinary footage from the 1930s from the early days of the BDA - detailing the daily lives of association members from a bygone era. 


The film reels were accidentally found by a Polish builder when he was renovating a house. He found the reels, which were hidden for 70 years, amongst rubbish, and took them home.

Eventually they were passed on to the deaf community. This proved very important as it gave deaf historians and people who work with deaf people an amazing insight into the lives of the deaf community back then and how it has changed since...what they wore, how they signed and communicated, their attitudes and behaviour.


And we meet with Terry Riley, who is the current chair of the BDA, to see what his vision for the future is.


During its 120 year history the BDA's core aims have remained the same, predominantly focusing on the Deaf education of Deaf children.

Language has become important, as has looking at children's language development, identity and culture. Other aims are BSL recognition, advocacy, media, access to work, DLA etc.


Although the BDA's number one aim is still education, Terry feels that the BDA, like the deaf community, is going through many changes.

In the past the BDA predominantly worked through deaf clubs and deaf schools. But with deaf people having become more autonomous, new strategies on how to reach the community have to be developed.


If you want to find out more about the BDA and their latest news, please follow this link www.bda.org.uk





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