The UvA has received funding for two HORIZON 2020 projects that aim at contributing towards a solution for the Societal Challenges that Europe is currently facing. Roland Pfau's project is one of them. Under the topic "Emergence and Transmission of European cultural Heritage and Europeanisation" a consortium of researchers from 7 different countries under the leadership of principal investigator prof. Josep Quer wrote SIGN HUB.
This project, a collaboration of ten partners from six European countries and Israel, aims to provide the first comprehensive response to the societal and scientific challenges resulting from the generalized neglect of the cultural and linguistic identity of signing Deaf communities in Europe. It will provide an innovative resource hub for the linguistic, historical, and cultural documentation of the Deaf communities' heritage and for sign language assessment. To this end, it will create an open digital platform with content in the following domains: (i) digital grammars of 6 sign languages, produced with a new online grammar writing tool; (ii) an interactive digital atlas of linguistic structures of the world's sign languages; (iii) online sign language assessment instruments for education and clinical intervention, and (iv) the first digital archive of life narratives by elderly signers, subtitled and partially annotated for linguistic properties. Taken together, these components will (a) help explore and value the identity and the cultural, historical and linguistic assets of Deaf signing communities, (b) advance linguistic knowledge on the natural languages of the Deaf and (c) impact on the diagnosis of language deficits within these minorities. SIGN-HUB will thus contribute to the dissemination and reuse of those assets in broader contexts, as part of European identity. The project is a critical attempt to rescue, showcase and boost that largely unknown part of our common heritage, as well as to ultimately enhance the full participation of Deaf citizens in all spheres of public life on an equal footing with hearing citizens.