Dr Deaf

Dr Deaf is a cross-disciplinary international deaf space that aims to grow and strengthen deaf academics. Through a series of workshops between experienced and new deaf academics, Dr Deaf develops capacity and resources to bring new deaf people into academic fields and strengthens the capacities of existing deaf academics to thrive in their careers.  

Dr Deaf evolved into a core steering group of Dr. Joseph J. Murray, Dr. Annelies Kusters and Dr. Maartje De Meulder, through many informal conversations and shared values regarding the development of future deaf academics and strengthening pathways to career success for current academics and students.

Dr Deaf welcomes all deaf academics at various stages in their careers, including those new to International Sign and international spaces. To date, the Dr Deaf workshops have had over 170 participants from 4 continents.

The Dr Deaf workshops: a network, an idea and a space

The Dr Deaf workshops first started in 2018 as a network, an idea, and a space. From the beginning, core values of the Dr Deaf events included the development of signing, deaf-centered (mentoring) spaces and deaf academic peer networks, encouraging more deaf PhDs, training deaf academics at different stages of their academic careers, and fostering International Sign spaces, while being friendly to new deaf learners of IS.

The all-deaf, signing space is a crucial aspect of the Dr Deaf workshops. The only interpreters present are those working with deafblind participants. This space allows for unmediated conversations and learning environments, and there is no need to do the constant management of deaf-hearing differences that are a regular part of deaf academic lives in hearing academic spaces.

Dr Deaf Workshops can be virtual or in person, and cover thematic topics such as research methods as well as applied academic skills such as writing. A key part of our programme are the Phd Deaf workshops, which aims to create pathways for deaf people to enter academe. The Dr Deaf workshop facilitators are all deaf academics with extensive experience with writing and publishing.

Since 2018, seven week-long workshops have been organized, mostly taking place in Ål folkehøyskole and workshop center for Deaf People in Ål, a mountain village three hours from Oslo, Norway. 

  • PhDeaf workshop, December 2018: 40 participants
  • Writing retreat, December 2019: 27 participants
  • Virtual writing retreat, December 2020: 20 participants
  • Online writing workshop with EDSU, April 2021: 31 participants
  • Summer school on Qualitative Research Methods, August 2022: 22 participants
  • PhDeaf workshop and writing retreat, December 2022: 31 participants

PhDeaf workshops

The PhDeaf workshops are open to participants from all disciplines, and to both current and aspiring PhDs. The workshops cover topics from academic writing, applying for a PhD, selecting supervisor(s), accessibility during PhD studies, doing a literature review, and figuring out PhD goals. Since the first PhDeaf workshop in 2018, we have seen many participants enter PhD programs, and some are close to completing their doctoral studies. Read some accounts from participants in 2018, and 2022 (blog 1 and blog 2).

Dr Deaf Writing Retreats

The Dr Deaf Writing Retreats are open to participants from all disciplines and at various stages in their academic careers. Participants can be Master students wanting to publish parts of their theses to full professors needing time to focus on writing. They offer an all-deaf, signing, space to write together in the same time and space. The retreats include ample writing time, writing groups with peer review of drafts, and daily presentations/peer group discussion sessions on academic writing tips and strategies, time management strategies, and academic publishing.

Dr Deaf events co-existing with other deaf academic spaces

The Dr Deaf events appeal to an ever-growing number of deaf students and researchers, and exist parallel to other deaf academic spaces, both within and outside of universities. These deaf academic spaces attest to the need for spaces to complement the Deaf Academics conferences. While these conferences are more about dissemination research outcomes, the Dr Deaf workshops tend to focus more on academic skills training and capacity building. Our aim is to both grow the number of deaf academics and to strengthen the capacities and resources of existing deaf academics. The workshops are also a necessary addition to inaccessible or partially accessible university resources.

Information about upcoming Dr Deaf workshops in 2023

Writing retreat (in collaboration with MADS Taster Week – Erasmus+ project exploring new joint international Master in Applied Deaf Studies): 11-15 December 2023 in Ål, Norway (registration will open soon)