Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search

Trinity College Dublin By using this website you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with the Trinity cookie policy. For more information on cookies see our cookie policy.

Profile Photo

Dr. John Conama

Project Manager (C.L.C.S.)


Project Manager (Centre for Deaf Studies)

John Bosco Conama is the director of the Centre for Deaf Studies (Trinity College, University of Dublin) and former chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society. He was the co-chair of the Irish Sign Language Recognition Campaign. He holds an MLitt in social policy (Trinity College Dublin) and a PhD in Equality Studies (University College Dublin). Dr Conama was involved in establishing the first certificate level course for Deaf people organised by the Equality Studies Centre, University College Dublin. He was awarded Language Ambassador of the Year 2015 by Leargas/ Erasmus + for his work on the promotion and preservation of Irish Sign Language. His recent publications have focused on Deaf people in society and social policies affecting Irish Sign Language. Dr Conama also is a member of the Disability Advisory Committee under the aegis of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
  Education and minority language   Equality law   Globalisation   Health policy   Identity politics and social change   Irish economy, problems   Irish politics, election study, electoral behaviour   Politics of the welfare state   Public Policy   Social work with minorities
 Sense of the Community - Deaf Community
 DESIGNS: Deaf Employment for Sign Language Users in the EU
 Hidden Histories (Irish coordinator)
 Signing In / Signing Out
 Poverty in the Irish Deaf Community

Page 1 of 2
Details Date
Chair the Cross-Community Group under the aegis of Irish Deaf Society to monitor the implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017
Member of Disability Advisory Committee under the aegis of Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 2019 - 2021
A collaborative project over the next 12 months between UCC, Cork Deaf Association and Kerry Deaf Resource Centre, which will focus on designing a Deaf Awareness auditing template for use by public bodies. Hopefully this project can support the work underway around the country towards supporting effective implementation of the ISL Act 2017. This project is supported by Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission's Grant Scheme 2018 2018-2021
Invited to attend the working group meeting on the Implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 within the Houses of the Oireachtas Service. 5th November
World Federation of the Deaf's Expert Group on Sign Language and Deaf Studies 2016-2019
The working group we are putting together to address the relocation of St Josephs House for vulnerable Deaf adults 2017 - present
An external consultant to Working Group on Sign Language for the Public Council of the Commission on Interaction between Citizens and the Parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria. 2018
Co-chair the Irish Sign Language Recognition Campaign which culminated in the enactment of Irish Sign Language Act 2017 and it was signed into law by President Higgins on 24th December 2017. 2011 to 2018
Committee member on Irish Sign Language Academy - a representative body of ISL teachers and researchers under the aegis of Irish Deaf Society. Responsibility in the ISL recognition. 2005 to 2012
Board member of the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS). SLIS is the interpreting agency that is supported with funds by the statutory agency: Citizens Information Board (CIB) 2007 - 2009
Acting Chairperson of the Model School for the Deaf Project 2000 - 2007
Member of the Partnership Group on Deaf Education (CIDP-IDS-DeafHear-Schools for the Deaf-CDS) 2009 - 2017
Member of advisory group to Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) with a responsibility of organising a conference and a written response to the issue of Deaf applicants for primary teaching training 2012
Invited to participate in the roundtable discussion on Irish Sign Language recognition hosted by the National Disability Authority May 3, 2012
Minute Checker for the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf 21-22 July
Member of the Working Group on the Register of Irish Sign Language Interpreters under Sign Language Interpreting Service.
Member of the Steering group under Citizen Information Bureau being set up to oversee and advise on projects relating to the Register for Interpreters and an App and platform for remote interpreting.
Sits on the advisory committee under the aegis of the National Disability Authority to prepare a review report on ISL Act (2017)for the Minister for Disabilities January to July
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
American Sign Language Medium Basic Medium
British Sign Language Medium Medium Medium
English Fluent Fluent Basic
Irish Sign Language Fluent Fluent Fluent
Details Date From Date To
Member of ISL Academy 2006 present
Irish Deaf Society Member, Board director, secretary, chairperson 1986 current
World Federation of the Deaf 2008 current
Member of the first Think Tank on Deaf Studies at the University of Utrecht. A number of universities in Europe and North America are involved. 2020 present
The Bumpy Journey towards the Irish Sign Language Act: Critical Considerations and Personal Reflections of a Deaf Activist -Scholar in, editor(s)Clare Cunningham and Chris Hall (York St John's University) , Vulnerabilities, Challenges and Risks in Applied Linguistics, De Gruyter, 2021, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
John Bosco Conama, Progress Report on the Sense of the Community research, TEANGA - Irish Association for Applied Linguistics , 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
35 Years and Counting! An Ethnographic Analysis of Sign Language Ideologies within the Irish Sign Language Recognition Campaign in, editor(s)Annelies Kusters , Sign Language Ideologies in Practice, De Gruyter, 2020, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL
John Bosco Conama and Cormac Leonard, In Search of ISL's Pre-History: The complex origins of Irish sign language(s), TEANGA - Irish Association of Applied Linguistics, 2020, p , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Jemina Napier, Audrey Cameron, Lorraine Leeson, John Bosco Conama, Christian Rathmann, Chris Peters & Haaris Sheikh, DESIGNS: Creating Employment for Deaf Signers in Europe, 5, Dublin, Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin, January, 2020, Notes: [This document makes a series of evidence based recommendations around supporting deaf sign language users in employment, and looks at the provision of statutory supports for interpreting provision in Ireland, the UK and Germany. ], Report, PUBLISHED  URL
Christian Rathmann, Chris Peters, Anna Grimm, Andreas Bittner, and Aletta Heldt (German version). Original Version in English: Haaris Sheikh, Lorraine Leeson, Caroline McGrotty and John Bosco Conama, Sie Haben Den Job! Ein Leitfaden für Arbeitgeber_innen im Umgang mit tauben Gebärdensprachnutzer_innen. Dublin: IGI Publishing. , Dublin, IGI Publishing, 2019, 1 - 54pp, Book, PUBLISHED  URL
Ah, that's not necessary, you can read English instead": An ecological analysis of state language policy concerning Irish Sign Language, Irish and English and its effects in, editor(s)Maartje de Meulder, Jospeh Murray and Rachel McKee , Recognizing Sign Languages:
An International Overview Of National Campaigns For Sign Language Legislation And Their Outcomes, Multilingual Matters, 2019, pp19 - 35, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  URL
Sign Language Communities in, Hogan-Brun & O'Rourke , Handbook on Minority Languages and Communities (, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019, [Maartje De Meulder, Verena Krausneker, Graham Turner, John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  DOI
John Bosco Conama, ISL recognition and its implementation, DFIG conference, University of Wolverhampton, 13th February, 2019, University of Wolverhampton, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Maartje De Meulder, Joseph J. Murray, Rachel L. McKee, 1. `Ah, That"s Not Necessary, You Can Read English Instead": An Analysis of State Language Policy Concerning Irish Sign Language and Its Effects, TheLegal Recognition of Sign Languages, 2019, p19--35 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED

Page 1 of 4
Approved communication support for deaf patients in Ireland during COVID-1 in, editor(s)Goedele A,.M. DeClerk , European survey on state responses to the pandemic, European Union of the Deaf., European Union of the Deaf, 2021, [ii) Grehan, Elaine, John Bosco Conama & John Sherwin ], Book Chapter, APPROVED
Sir William Wilde and his book on deaf people in, Deaf Heritage Centre, 2021, [John Bosco Conama], Book Chapter, APPROVED
John Bosco Conama, Guidelines for Public Bodies under the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, Guidelines for Public Bodies under the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, UCC, 29 January, 2021, UCC, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
John Bosco Conama, A panel discussion on Zoom with the Heriot-Watt University masters course on interpreting (EUMASLI) , EUMASLI course , Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, 4th February, 2021, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
John Bosco Conama, 'Message to the Irish at home and abroad at Easter 2020', Áras an Uachtárain - President of Ireland, 2020, -, Translation, PRODUCED
John Bosco Conama, 'Message for Local, Regional and Community Radio Stations and Newspapers', Áras an Uachtárain - President of Ireland, 2020, -, Translation, PRODUCED
Dr John Bosco Conama, Possible and probable implications of UNCRPD on the research process , Disability Research Network Seminar, University of Dublin, Trinity College, 3rd December 2019, 2019, Disability Research Network TCD, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Irish Sign Language Act 2017, Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), South Dublin Council Chamber, County Hall, Tallaght,, 4th April, 2019, 2019, South Dublin County Council, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Finding our political voice! The background behind the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, "The Sound of Silence", Trinity Week 2019, Trinity College Dublin, 30th April, 2019, Trinity College Hub , Invited Talk, PRESENTED
John Bosco Conama, Rights Holders Perspectives on De-institutionalisaton and Implementing A19, De-institutionalisation and the implementation of the CRPD Article 19: Independent Living and being included in the community, Green Street, IHREC office, Dublin 1, 4th July, 2019, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Invited Talk, PRESENTED


Page 1 of 8
Award Date
European Language Label - Language Ambassador September 2015
Media Award by Hidden Hearing - Media Award - Award for a campaigner / journalist / celebrity who has highlighted topics related to those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. September 2011
Doctoral scholarship from National Disability Authority 2002-07
Supporter of the Year by Kerry Deaf Rsources Centre December 17, 2010
Dr Ciaran Barry Scholarship for Masters research 1997
Masters in Arts (jure offici) 23 June 2017
Deaf Cultural Studies, Equality Studies, Media Studies, Social Policy, Deaf Education, All relating to the Deaf communities in Ireland and beyond My overarching research objective is to deepen and extend my work on the topic of language policy and planning, examining, in particular, the impact of policy and planning tools used by governments regarding the status of Irish Sign Language and other signed languages. Within this broad objective, I have commenced work in Deaf cultural studies and equality studies, with a plan to secure funding to address the clear research gap in terms of Deaf perspectives in these areas. During my teaching, I have often been struck by students' interest in cultural issues specific to Ireland. Whilst students frequently ask for primary research on this topic, there is almost none related to Ireland. Whilst lecturers in Deaf Studies have recourse to examples from other countries or other cultures, these are not sophisticated enough for intensive study of the lived experiences of the Deaf community. Work in this area will include an examination of quality of social, cultural (including access to media) and employment services as used by Deaf people, from a critical social justice perspective. Some of these research objectives will be achieved through building on the European Commission-funded projects described above, with follow-up projects in the pipeline. Peers will evaluate my research by my participation in top international projects and initiatives of strategic and social importance, the rigour and the quality of my outputs, originality, creativity and innovation in theoretical and methodological frameworks, leadership skills, collaboration and my ability to extend my networks and share experience with research students and other colleagues. My work will also be evaluated by knowledge generation and transfer, my impact on the field and on civil society, my ability to translate ideas into concepts that can be clearly understood by local communities, my productivity and capacity to deliver outputs within agreed timeframes. Finally, making my work available and accessible through the medium of Irish Sign Language as well as English is a priority in my research plans, for the benefit of the Deaf community in Ireland.