The Battle for BSL

Watch our documentary about how the status of BSL has developed

Documentary. The Battle for BSL looks at how BSL was first identified and how the language's status has developed since. Among other key events, it includes the BSL marches that led to BSL recognition in 2003, and the landmark BSL (Scotland) Bill which was passed in 2015. It is presented by Clark Denmark and features prominent Deaf people such as Lilian Lawson and Gerry Hughes. This documentary was directed by Louis Neethling and was produced by AC2.com Productions.

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  • I was so ecstatic to see a programme that signifies the importance of BSL. This programme inspired me to be more vehement in our language, British Sign Language and gives us a spark of much needed zeal to pursue BSL in England. I hope to see more programmes like this that educates the community and sends out the message to be chutzpah while using British Sign Language. It was also particularly pleasant to see my father make a brief cameo in the programme!
    Posted on
    160215
  • Excellent production, hope it goes viral and reaches people in the rest of the UK and world.  Well done Scotland!  Thank you for providing Scottish voice over to match Scottish signing, lovely to hear and watch. Bring back Deaf signing teachers into all schools, Deaf and mainstream!
    Posted on
    160215
  • Congrats and still fight for BSL education in 2016. 
    Posted on
    160215
  • Congratulations on a wonderful documentary!  This is an important film that documents a piece of cultural and linguistic history.
    Posted on
    160215
  • Thank you for the video about a rich history about Scotland of deaf and BSL.
    Posted on
    160215
  • Just to further clarify the membership of the BSL National Advisory Group, because it is very important to be clear about the balance between Deaf BSL users, other BSL users and public bodies.
    Hilary Third of the Scottish Government's Equality Unit tells us there will be only 9 places for public body representatives on the NAG. But she adds: "In addition, we will have a Scottish Government co-chair and a Scottish Government official (me) acting in a secretariat role and supporting the chair. Neither myself nor the co-chair are officially members of the group but we are servicing and supporting it."
    This is an important distinction between members of the group and its Scottish Government support secretariat. So there will be more Deaf BSL users than representatives of public bodies (who might be BSL users?)
    Posted on
    160115
  • just to clarify about the membership of the National Advisory Group (mentioned in another comment here.). There are a total of 21 places.  Ten from public bodies.  Then there are another eleven places for:  
    Five Deaf adults who use BSL.
    One Deaf BSL adult who is a parent of a Deaf child who uses BSL.  
    Two Deaf young people who use BSL.  
    Two Deafblind people.  
    One hearing parent of a deaf child who uses BSL. 
    Posted on
    160112
  • Excellent video full of information and it shows how hard deaf people have worked to make sure BSL is a recognised language. Well Done!
    Posted on
    160112
  • Replies to a few of the points made...
    1. Yes, Winnie Ewing was one of many people who took part in the Battle for BSL that we just had no time to include in the documentary.
    2. Please watch our next programme about the BSL (Scotland) Bill, from 4 February onwards. It is a report on the actual Stage 3 Debate on the BSL (Scotland) Bill on 17 September 2015, and what's striking is that the main theme of most MSPs was the importance of BSL in education. 
    3. The BSL National Advisory Group is advertising for members, including 10 Deaf people and one parent pf a deaf child. They should be the teeth of the Act with regards to education.
    4. The point about BSL 'users' is an interesting one. The term is used a number of times by MSPs and others. The only time in the actual presentation of the programme when we used the word 'user' was in relation to a 15th century Scottish princess. She definitely used sign language, but it had not at that time been identified as BSL. Indeed, there was no United Kingdom at the time. I think if we said 'BSL speaker', some others might object that BSL is not a spoken language. A BSL signer? Interesting discussion point.
    Posted on
    160111
  • It great news for deaf (bsl) hopeful they undrstand what Clark Denmark say to all ,hopeful they watching your  video ,PLEASE all deaf know what is for ,, I am pround of them support for all ,  IT FIRST CLASS  ON VIDEO ,, SUPER !!!
     
    Posted on
    160111
  • A worthwhile documentary to watch especially for people who are interested in the history of sign language in Scotland. 
    The documentary was fair, and presented relevant information especially with a 30 mins time format. 
    I would have liked to know more about Winnie Ewing's early involvement with BSL, and after all she did award Mary Brennan the Medal of Honor from the BDA. 
    There are also many other useful snippets that may have missed the cut.
    I liked the scenes where they used a camera drone with a nice view of Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament and ma hame across the sea! 
    It was neat on how they highlighted significant locations around Edinburgh, I can see a scenario for the future where there is a Deaf pub crawl taking place in Edinburgh passing all locations.
    A nice line of work for a beer loving historian like me?! 
    I have a great route planned in my head already! 
    The documentary does bring up some questions personally, Gerry Hughes was spot on in saying that we need Deaf teachers, the Scottish BSL Act needs to be benefitting not just hearing people in employment but Deaf people. 
    For all the great moments happening in Edinburgh, it's sad to see that since the 70's, Scotland haven't managed to make the most of their early works because Deaf schools in Scotland are practically being endangered and when you see the campaign to save Margate School for the Deaf, you think on what Scotland missed out during that time until the Scottish BSL Act. 
    I could go on longer but I'll leave it there by saying that it's the best programme on the Scottish BSL Bill / Act to date and by the way, the sign for Edinburgh is "ED" but that's another story! 
    Posted on
    160111
  • Congratulations on the moving programme. It's excellent - however, I'm fearful that the Bill has no teeth with regards to Deaf education. I pray that everyone keeps on fighting until Deaf education is enshrined in law - full legal protection
    Posted on
    160111
  • Great news!   I'm happy for BSL speakers of Scotland!   The only quibble I'd bring up is your use of the word "user" or "use" in relation to BSL.  (i.e., BSL user, use BSL)   The word 'use' or 'user' reduces BSL to a mere tool, which is NOT what you want!  You want BSL to be seen as a language...and in order to do that, it is important to call people "BSL speakers" or to say that people speak BSL.   :-)
    Once again, congratulations!
    Posted on
    160111
  • I am very pleased to see this video of how Scotland Gov. finally recognised B.S.L, especially with strong emphasis on accessible Education for Deaf children.  It has always been my main concern. I have taught Deaf Adults Basic English and enjoyed to see their confidence building up and able to take on responsibilities in Committees, Vol. work and more important in employment.  Clearly ACCESIBLE Education ENABLE when non- accessible Education DENY.  Thank you for this video !
    Now retired and on the Board of dDeaf Links, Staffordshire (Stoke Deaf Centre)
     
    Posted on
    160111

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